Changes to Commonwealth procurement rules that took effect yesterday will create more opportunities for small business to win government contracts, says the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson.

“There is no substitute for customers and it’s great to see the Commonwealth’s commitment to be a bigger customer for small businesses,” Mr Billson said.

Welcoming the announcement by Small Business Minister Julie Collins and the Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, Mr Bilson said that an important element to ensuring these changes make a real difference will be to provide capacity-building contracts that will enable smaller businesses to really benefit from the contracts to grow their business.

The changes will mean that 20 per cent of Commonwealth procurements by value must be sourced from small and medium enterprises. This doubles the existing target of 10 per cent.

“The Government spends about $70 billion a year on contracts, meaning at least $14 billion of this work will go to small and medium businesses,” Mr Billson said.

Procuring agencies will also be encouraged to approach multiple suppliers when they are sourcing from panels which will improve competition and provide more opportunities for smaller businesses to apply for government work.

Photo: Bruce Billson, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman