Purchasing practices that are excessively difficult will be formally investigated.
Authorities recently launched a probe into small-to-medium enterprise (SME) complaints that some tenders are almost impossible to win.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman confirmed SMEs only secured 10.5 per cent of a combined $80.8 billion of federal government contracts during the 2022 financial year.
“Many small businesses have told us they feel shut out of the process or they simply find it too hard to navigate,” ombudsman Bruce Billson said in a public statement.
“They have low awareness about procurement opportunities unless they are already part of the ‘in-crowd’ through existing relationships with procuring agencies, or previous experience in government procurement.”
Billson hopes scrutinising procurement teams will give SMEs a better chance of bidding for work.
“Winning a government contract can be life-changing for a small business,” he said.
He also hopes to examine government panels, tendering costs and feedback provided after shortlisting is complete.
“The provision of limited or no feedback when a tender is unsuccessful is also a source of bewilderment and vexation,” he said.
Submissions can be made until 15 September 2023. A final report will be handed to the government three months later.
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