How government buys

NSW Government agencies buy in different ways, depending on the purpose and cost.
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What you need to know
  1. We must consider 5 procurement objectives every time we buy.
  2. We use different methods to buy, based on the type and value of the procurement.
  3. Most commonly, we use whole-of-government contracts and prequalification schemes. However, agencies can 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 (ADEs).
  5. We can also buy from any supplier when the contract is under $10,000, so long as we - and the supplier - meet certain standards.

Our procurement objectives

Our objectives aim to make sure we deliver better services to the people of NSW.

When a NSW Government agency or eligible buyer procures goods or services (including construction servides), we keep the following 5 procurement objectives in mind.

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 location. 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.

How we buy

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 (i.e. the maximum contract value).

Whole-of-government procurement arrangements

Whole-of-government procurement arrangements cover goods and services that many government agencies may want to access. We use these arrangements 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 make sure you're ready to supply is to register on eTendering.

Agency-specific contract arrangements

Sometimes, a government agency will buy through its own procurement contracts and schemes. This is especially true if an agency has a specific need.

Other agencies can usually access these contracts if they need to.

You can register to hear about agency-specific contracts arrangements on eTendering. Registering means you'll be ready to respond to opportunities 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 suppliers, 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, register on eTendering.

ICT suppliers should register at

Buying outside of contracts and schemes

Sometimes we can 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, suppliers must meet our safety and other standards. We also need to be able to prove the supplier is providing value for money.

Specific government buying policies

We've made it easier for agencies to buy from certain businesses, including small to medium enterprises (SMEs), regional businesses, 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 when 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 (ADEs) 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.

BuyAbility Procurement, an initiative of the National Disability Service, can guide you through the buying process.

Read more at BuyAbility Procurement.

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