The Indigenous Opportunities Policy (IOP) was developed as part of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) commitment under the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Economic Participation to strengthen government procurement policies and to maximise Indigenous employment and business opportunities.
The IOP previously required major suppliers to the Australian Government to demonstrate their commitment to Indigenous employment including the use of Indigenous business suppliers.
For all government contracted projects involving expenditure of $5 million (or $6 million for construction) in regions with significant Indigenous populations (based on 2011 ABS data 3% or above), tenderers were required to submit and have an approved Indigenous Training, Employment and Supplier Plan (IOP Plan) for training and employing Indigenous people and for the use of Indigenous suppliers.
Suppliers tendering for projects above the monetary threshold were required to have an approved IOP Plan. It should be noted that the IOP applied to procurement undertaken by Australian Government agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
Government procurement rules
As at 19 May 2011, there has been a Commonwealth Procurement Rules exemption to the Mandatory Procurement Procedures for small and medium enterprises that are 50 per cent Indigenous owned.
The exemption complemented the IOP but operated separately and is administered by the Department of Finance.
Further information is available from the Department of Finance website.
Until 27 June 2015, organisations with IOP requirements were required to submit Indigenous Training, Employment and Supplier Plans and Reports for assessment through the online management information system called MyPlan.
A MyPlan User Guide was developed to provide information about how to use the MyPlan system.
Organisations with IOP requirements were required to nominate a primary and secondary organisational contact who was provided with a unique log on id and could change organisational contact details and submit and edit IOP Plans and Reports before they were approved.
Transitioning out of Indigenous Opportunities Policy
From 1 July 2015, Indigenous Opportunity (IOP) plans and reports are no longer required to be submitted through the MyPlan system that was previously used to manage IOP reporting requirements. The submission and notifications functions in MyPlan have been disabled and changed to ‘read only’ functionality. Businesses and Contractors who may have upcoming obligations to submit IOP plans or reports should discuss these obligations and reporting requirements with the relevant Contract Managers in the first instance.
Best practice—managing the transition from the IOP
Contract Managers are to work with Businesses and Contractors with past IOP obligations to agree on a transition approach to move from the IOP to the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP). Options include an agreement to continue to comply with existing IOP obligations or include new obligations that are similar to the IPP requirements. Some of the factors influencing the agreed approach include contract period remaining, Indigenous participation outcomes to date and nature of goods and services procured.
You should contact your Contract Manager listed in your IOP with regards to transitional arrangements. Alternatively, you may contact your Procurement team within your respective department for further advice.
Employment Systems Helpdesk assistance
Queries regarding an organisation’s unique log in ids can be directed to the Employment Systems Helpdesk on 1300 305 520 and/or emailed to at ESHelpDesk@employment.gov.au. The Employment Systems Help Desk is available between 8:30 am and 7 pm AEST Monday to Friday (Excluding ACT and national public holidays).
Australian Government Agencies
All Australian Government agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act, 1997 were required to implement the IOP in their procurement policies and processes.
See Australian Government Agency FAQs for more information.