Prioritising First Nations suppliers as we progress our Reconciliation Action Plan

Prioritising First Nations suppliers as we progress our Reconciliation Action Plan

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is ‘More than a word, reconciliation takes action'. As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP2) initiatives, we’re aiming to increase the number of First Nations suppliers we work with to two percent of our total spend on goods and services.

To help us reach this goal, we’ve made the procurement process easier for teams choosing First Nations suppliers.

‘Already we have a number of people interested in different types of procurement. Hopefully this interest will continue and become embedded in the organisation,’ said Kris Wozniak, Procurement and Contracts Lead.

Under the changes, teams can independently procure First Nations contractors up to $100,000 instead of the previous $50,000. By upping the limit for First Nations suppliers, our goal is to make it easier to bring on First Nations contractors and minimise the onboarding process.

Several teams throughout the organisation are looking at moving to First Nations suppliers under the new processes. ‘We spend a lot of money on stationery. Now we're looking at an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned organisation for our paper,’ said Kris.

Working towards greater flexibility

We know that government procurement processes can be onerous on small businesses and we want to ensure that we’re a flexible organisation for First Nations suppliers to work with. For example, if our contracts are too big for a small business to fulfil, we’re looking to negotiate with suppliers to either partially fill the contract, or to work with a larger supplier for delivery. ‘It's not just about what we buy, it's about what we do with the money that we use,’ said Kris. ‘When we support First Nations businesses, we’re also putting people in jobs. There’s a lot of value in embedding these processes within our organisation,’ he said.

Addressing barriers to entry for First Nations businesses within our procurement processes is one of the key actions in our RAP2.

RAP2 April 2021 six-month progress report highlights

  • We expanded our Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer Program to two new locations –Ballarat and Geelong. 
  • 113 staff chose to work on January 26 this year, 50 more than in 2020.
  • Established the new corporate partnership with Kinaway Chamber of Commerce.
  • We committed to achieving 2 per cent of our spend on good and services with First Nations businesses by June 2024.
  • 613 staff have completed our ‘Other ways of knowing’ eLearning module
  • 395 staff participated in ‘Aboriginal Cultural Awareness’ training run by the Koorie Heritage Trust.
  • At 30 April 2021, 2.7 per cent of our staff identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • 74 per cent of RAP2 deliverables with single deadlines have been completed.
  • 77 per cent of RAP2 deliverables with recurring deadlines have been completed.

More information

Read our RAP2 April 2021 six-month progress report (pdf, 3.08 MB) or the accessible Word version (184.24 KB).

Read more about the RAP2.

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