Australian federal, state, and local governments advertise thousands of tender opportunities every year, attracting bids and applications from a wide range of interested parties. If you are looking for project opportunities or paths through which to grow your business, government tenders are an excellent avenue to pursue.
AusTender, the Commonwealth Government’s procurement database, reported that there were 78,150 contracts published on their website across the 2018-2019 financial year, worth a combined $64.5 billion. Not being aware of resources such as this means that you are already behind the curveball when it comes to being a competitive player within your industry.
There are many websites through which you can find government tenders — often the struggle is in narrowing down and curating your options rather than locating opportunities. Keep reading to discover the best pathways via which you can land your next big government project.
Federal government tenders
The Federal Government uses tenders to obtain contractors and suppliers for a wide range of projects every year. Whilst you might expect national contracts to be substantial, large-scale undertakings, 53% of the 78,150 contracts awarded in 2018-19 went to small businesses. No matter the size and experience of your company, federal government tenders should always be on your radar as they usually offer clear payment terms, defined deliverables and are often committed to providing opportunities for small-to-medium sized companies.
AusTender is a free online platform run by the Department of Finance. It provides centralized access to publicly available business opportunities and Planned Procurements that are worth more than $10,000 as advertised by the Australian Federal Government. Registered users are able to sign up for an online notification service that provides curated alerts based on your industry, location, and areas of interest.
AusTender is also a secure database through which you are able to download tender documents and upload your responses.
Beyond AusTender, there are many private tender management companies that offer similar databases and notification services. These portals are useful because they often amalgamate all grades of government and provide a centralized server through which you can efficiently comb through available opportunities at a federal, state, and local level.
State government tenders
Each state and territory in Australia has its own agency responsible for advertising and awarding tenders and contracts.
In Victoria, for instance, tenders are advertised on the Buying for Victoria website. The database contains construction, goods and services, and health sector procurement opportunities as well as information regarding the Victorian Government’s commitment to fair work policies and the provision of local jobs.
Every state and territory has its own similar e-portal which provides both tender opportunities and recommended resources you can use in order to put forth a competitive application. Taking the time to make yourself familiar with these websites and the kind of language that is used to talk about tendering is a valuable exercise, particularly if you are a newcomer to the tendering industry.
Local government tenders
Local government tenders are a little different and the process of advertising and applying for local government tenders varies not only from state to state but also from council to council.
Many states and territories do have a centralized database through which local councils can advertise their tender opportunities however there is no obligation for them to do so. They may choose instead to utilize their own website and platform.
It is best to put together a list of councils within your area that you wish to target and to check back regularly for new opportunities. Specific council databases often also offer notification services which you can sign up to in order to streamline your search.
Other strategies to consider
Beyond ensuring that you are signed up to all relevant databases, portals, and websites, there are a few other strategies that you may want to consider in order to find government tenders.
Developing a strong industry network is a crucial step in cementing your company within your profession. Tendering is a popular process of awarding contracts because it is seen to create a fair and transparent playing field in which there is little chance for nepotism — so don’t engage in networking with this goal in mind!
Rather, having secure relationships with other stakeholders in your industry can create professional development opportunities and provide a different perspective on the government tender market. It is also not uncommon for small-to-medium sized businesses to combine their personnel and resources in order to submit joint applications for larger tender opportunities, so perhaps consider this approach as well should you be looking to expand your business.
Successfully landing a government tender is no easy task but presents as a secure, proven method of growing your business. It is well worth putting in the time and effort to find government tenders should you be looking to establish yourself as a main player within your industry.