The state’s new and improved Buy Local Policy will help stimulate the regional economy and create thousands of jobs for Western Australians.
Launched by the Premier in July, the improved Western Australian Buy Local Policy 2020 will make it easier for WA businesses, particularly regional SMEs, when bidding for government contracts from the State Government’s annual $27 billion spend on goods, services and works.
The 2002 policy was overhauled after a 2017 Auditor General’s report found it wasn’t achieving the required employment and economic benefits for the state.
The new policy will ensure agencies provide advantage to local businesses that are based in the regional location in which the work or service is being delivered.
Under revised Regional Price Preferences, regional businesses will be invited to bid on local projects and given a stronger weighting than those from other parts of the state.
The revised policy complements the successful implementation of the WA Jobs Act and the Western Australian Industry Participation Strategy in creating local jobs and boosting the state’s economy.
Since the introduction of the strategy in March 2018, almost 6,000 regional jobs and 173 apprenticeships and traineeships have been created.
It’s expected that, within 12 months of operation, the new and improved Buy Local Policy will stimulate a further 3,000 regional jobs and more than 200 apprenticeships and traineeships.
Other improvements to the policy include:
- training for regional contractors in understanding the policy and how to apply for contracts;
- ‘look-ahead’ lists of forthcoming tenders to allow local contractors more time to bid;
- increase in contract thresholds for regional offices of State Government agencies, to allow greater local decision-making about contracting of works, goods and services;
- establishing new communication channels between regional stakeholders and the State Government, including regular Regional Communication Forums and deploying the existing Local Content Adviser Network;
- new Implementation Agreements, reviewed annually, for State Government agencies to commit to applying the Buy Local policy; and
- increased reporting of agency outcomes to monitor the policy’s effectiveness and identify further improvements.
Premier Mark McGowan said the beefed-up policy would support regional economies and create local jobs.
“The policy will play an important role in maximising opportunities for local businesses and creating more work for people in regional WA from the $27 billion spent annually on State Government goods, services and works.
“Our number one focus is to ensure Western Australia recovers strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the updated Buy Local Policy will support local economies in regional WA and create jobs for local workers.”
The Premier said a second round of Regional Communication Forums on the policy would ensure the intensive work done to date to canvas the views of regional stakeholders carried on into the implementation phase for further refinements.