How government buys

Government agencies buy in different ways, depending on what they’re buying and the size of the contract.
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What you need to know
  1. We have 5 procurement objectives that we must consider every time we buy.
  2. These are delivering value for money, promoting competition, making it easy to do business, encouraging and innovation and buying sustainably.
  3. We buy using different methods. Most commonly we use whole-of-government contracts and prequalification schemes. However, agencies often buy using their own arrangements too.
  4. We’ve made it easier to buy from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), regional and Aboriginal-owned businesses, and Australian Disability Enterprises.
  5. If you fall into one of these categories, we can often buy directly from you.
  6. We can also buy from any supplier when the contract is under $10,000, so long as they meet certain standards.

Procurement objectives

When a NSW Government agency or eligible buyer procures goods or services, we always keep the following 5 procurement objectives in mind. These aim to make sure we deliver better services to the people of NSW.

Value for money

Our overarching consideration is always to deliver value for money. This isn’t the same thing as simply buying at the cheapest price. It’s about weighing up the lifetime benefit a contract will deliver compared to its overall cost.

Promoting competition

We want all businesses to compete on a level playing field regardless of their size or where they’re based. Fair and open competition means more opportunity for you and better outcomes for the people of NSW.

Easy to do business

We want to make it easy for every organisation to do business with government. To help make this happen, we’ve reduced red tape and increased our digital buying capabilities.


Innovation has the capacity to deliver more efficient outcomes and better value. We encourage innovation during our procurements and as an outcome of every contract we award. We also encourage you to come to us with innovative solutions.

Economic development, social outcomes and sustainability

We know that the way we buy can help make the NSW economy more vibrant and diverse and help both businesses and communities flourish.

Our buying methods

There are different ways we buy from suppliers depending on the nature of the goods or services we need and the size of the contract.

Whole-of-government procurement arrangements

Whole-of-government procurement arrangements cover goods and services that many government agencies may want to access. We use them to maximise efficiency for both our suppliers and ourselves and to drive economies of scale.

Our whole-of-government arrangements include panel contracts and prequalification schemes.

The easiest way to learn about opportunities and be ready to supply to NSW Government is to register on eTendering.

Agency-specific contract arrangements

Sometimes a government agency will buy through its own procurement contracts and schemes, especially if they have a specific need.

Other agencies can usually also use these contracts if they need to.

You can register to hear about and respond to agency-specific contracts arrangements on eTendering. It often pays to monitor opportunities and respond when they arise.

Prequalification schemes

Prequalification schemes help us quickly find suppliers who have registered to supply to government. Depending on what we’re looking to procure, we can negotiate directly with them, ask them to submit a quote or participate in a selective tender, or invite them to supply to us some other way.

If you’d like to apply to join a prequalification scheme, you need to first register on eTendering.

ICT suppliers should register at

Buying outside of contracts and schemes

Sometimes we can buy outside of these contracts and schemes and negotiate directly with a supplier. This is especially true for low-value and low risk contracts.

If you’d like to deal directly with an agency for small contracts, you can market your goods and services directly to them.

Specifically, we can buy goods and services valued up to $10,000 from any supplier. However, they must meet our safety and other standards. We also need to be able to prove they’re providing value for money.

Specific government buying policies

We've made it easier for agencies to buy from certain businesses, including SMEs regional and Aboriginal businesses, and Australian Disability Enterprises.

SME and regional businesses

For contracts under $50,000 (excluding GST), we can buy directly from a small business (fewer than 20 employees) even where the goods or services are available on a whole-of-government contract.

Read more about SMEs and regional businesses

Aboriginal participation

We’re actively encouraging government agencies to buy from Aboriginal businesses.

Read more about Aboriginal businesses

Australian Disability Enterprises

We can buy from Australian Disability Enterprises based on a single quote, no matter how big the contract is. We still need to be able to prove we’re achieving value for money.

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