Australian SMEs made up a sizeable portion of the businesses awarded government contracts in 2015-16, although large firms still outstrip them by a ratio of two to one.
Recent reports in the media have suggested that many SMEs find it difficult to tender, and be taken seriously, for government contracts, despite being capable of undertaking the required works.
However, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack defended the awarding of government contracts, staying that around a third of all federal government contracts were awarded to Australian SMEs in the 2016 financial year.
He said this equated to about $5.5 billion in work contracted to small and medium-sized businesses.
“With 22,883 government contracts won in FY15-16, small businesses account for more than 33 per cent of Australia’s government procurement program by number and more than $5.5 billion in total value,” Mr McCormack said in a statement, citing figures from data compiled by AusTender.
Mr McCormack added that SMEs made up the bulk of businesses awarded contracts up to a value of $5 million, accounting for more than two-thirds of such contracts.
“As I meet with small businesses across Australia, I see first-hand how modern and adaptable businesspeople and their employees are – a great asset on which we can rely for delivering government contracts.”
According to Mr McCormack, the awarding of more government contracts to SMEs is a key goal of his ministerial portfolio.
“I want to help as many Australian small businesses as I can get access to tender information to ensure small businesses are in the driver’s seat of delivering government goods and services,” he said.