The Australian government has boasted that, since 2018, almost 600 IT government contracts have been awarded to Indigenous small to medium-sized businesses through the Digital Transformation Agency's (DTA) Digital, Hardware, and Software marketplaces.
In dollar terms, the total value of these contracts is AU$188 million, a 1,300% increase from the AU$13 million worth of contract awarded to Indigenous SMEs through the DTA's marketplaces from 2018-19. Of the total, almost AU$123 million was awarded via the Digital Marketplaces, AU$35.2 million through the Hardware Marketplace, and AU$30.4 million through the Software Marketplace.
The awarded IT contracts to Indigenous firms is off the back of work under the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), the federal government said. The IPP was introduced in 2015 to increase the federal government's rate of procurement from Indigenous businesses.
Since its inception, the IPP has generated AU$3.5 billion in contracting opportunities for Indigenous businesses, equivalent to nearly 25,500 contracts to more than 2,100 Indigenous businesses. Under the IPP as of 19 September 2020, Defence had the most contracts with 2,882 against its contract target of 714, followed by Social Services with 1,096 contracts against its target of 117. Home Affairs and the Prime Minister and Cabinet have around 900 contracts each against targets of 105 and 43, respectively.
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"The increased contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses through the DTA's marketplaces demonstrates the success the IPP has had," Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said.
"These contracts embed Indigenous businesses into our supply chains and will help them grow and prosper, leading to more jobs and increased opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."
One of these Indigenous companies that benefited from the DTA marketplaces was Canberra-based Kirra Services, which has won close to 100 contracts through the DTA's marketplaces since inception. The company was founded by Bundjalung-man Brad Nagle and delivers software, hardware, cyber, IT services.
"We have found that securing government contracts as approved sellers on the DTA's marketplaces has provided a good avenue for us to demonstrate our wares and capability," Nagle said.
"This has provided us with a solid foot in the door at agencies. But it is our demonstrated ability to deploy our diverse ICT solutions and provide value for money outcomes that sets us apart."
In addition to delivering on its IT contracts, Nagle said the company also supports the local Indigenous community through its work.
"This extends to supporting students at local TAFEs with provision of re-use laptops and health clinics in Arnhem Land, for example," he said.