Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy - FAQs

General FAQs

What is the Aboriginal Participation in Construction (APIC) policy?

The APIC policy is a whole-of-government procurement policy creating opportunities for Aboriginal owned businesses and supporting Aboriginal employment and training through the NSW Government construction supply chain.

When does the APIC policy come into effect?

The APIC policy has been mandatory for relevant construction projects since 1 July 2016. An updated policy came into effect on 1 July 2018.

Why did the NSW Government introduce the APIC policy?

The APIC policy supports the aims of the NSW Government's Plan for Aboriginal Affairs, OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment). It fosters the growth of the first economy and contributes to increased prosperity for NSW’s Aboriginal community through business and employment opportunities.

What is the APIC policy’s target?

In conjunction with the NSW Government’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy for goods and services, the APIC policy aims to support 3,000 full time equivalent employment opportunities for Aboriginal people through NSW Government procurement activities by 2021.

What are the APIC policy requirements?

The APIC policy requires a minimum of 1.5 per cent of the project spend on relevant NSW Government construction contracts to be dedicated to Aboriginal participation.

What’s new about the updated 2018 APIC Policy?

The 2018 APIC policy encourages agencies to:

  • directly negotiate with suitably qualified Aboriginal owned businesses that can demonstrate value for money and delivery of quality construction goods and services for procurements valued up to $250,000
  • run a closed tender with prequalified Aboriginal owned businesses that can demonstrate value for money and delivery of quality construction goods and services for procurements valued up to $1 million.

To enhance accountability and the NSW Government’s ability to measure the policy effectiveness, the 2018 APIC policy increases the supplier reporting frequency to:

  • monthly on projects valued over $10 million
  • quarterly for projects relevant to the policy and valued under $10 million.

Reporting for new contracts under the 2018 APIC Policy will take place electronically through a new Aboriginal Participation Portal.

Who does the APIC policy apply to?

The APIC policy applies to all NSW Government departments, statutory authorities, trusts and other government entities (collectively referred to as ‘agencies’).

State owned corporations are encouraged to adopt aspects of the APIC policy that are consistent with their corporate intent.

What type of procurement does the APIC policy apply to?

The APIC policy applies to construction procurement.

What construction procurement and construction projects are subject to the APIC policy?

Construction projects for the purposes of the APIC policy include:

  • construction related building maintenance and civil engineering
  • construction related support activities, such as financial, advisory, architectural and professional services, where it is considered appropriate to achieve the APIC policy objective
  • joint public/private sector
  • those undertaken on land not owned by the government or where the built asset will be owned by a non-government entity.

The APIC policy sets requirements for three categories of construction projects:

Category 1 Projects nominated by an agency that are primarily directed to one or more Aboriginal communities. This includes projects where an Aboriginal community is the sole or predominant beneficiary, a key user group or a predominant stakeholder.

Category 2 All other construction projects where the estimated value is over $10 million.

Category 3 All other construction projects where the estimated value is over $1 million.

It should be noted that all figures exclude GST.

What is an Aboriginal owned business?

For the purposes of the APIC policy, an Aboriginal owned business is one that is considered to be an Aboriginal owned business through recognition by an appropriate organisation, such as:

• NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce 
• an organisation representing Aboriginal owned businesses in another state or territory that is a member of the First Australians Chamber of Commerce and Industry
• Supply Nation.

Where required, the NSW Government may seek additional information to validate the business is an Aboriginal owned business.

What requirements apply where construction projects are awarded to Aboriginal owned businesses?

Aboriginal owned businesses are not required to dedicate the minimum 1.5 per cent of the project spend to Aboriginal participation but are required to report on the number of Aboriginal employees within the business.

Does the APIC policy apply to Torres Strait Islander people and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses?

The objectives, targets and measures of the APIC policy include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Do the APIC policy requirements overlap with those of the Aboriginal Procurement Policy?

The APIC policy is separate to the Aboriginal Procurement Policy, however, both policies contribute to the NSW whole-of-government target to support 3,000 employment opportunities for Aboriginal people through NSW Government procurement activities by 2021.

Where else can I get information about the APIC policy?

For further information and support regarding the APIC policy please contact the NSW Procurement Service Centre.
Email: nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 1800 679 289

Agency FAQs

What are my agency’s obligations under the APIC policy?

Agencies must:

  • apply tender and contract requirements for suppliers to distribute a minimum of 1.5 per cent of project spend to Aboriginal participation for construction projects covered under the APIC policy
  • ensure all relevant suppliers are aware of and comply with their obligations under the APIC policy by including relevant contractual obligations
  • monitor supplier compliance and reporting requirements
  • comply with additional requirements as directed by the NSW Procurement Board.
What measures are optional for agencies under the APIC policy?

Agencies are encouraged to:

  • directly negotiate with suitably qualified Aboriginal owned businesses for Category 1 projects valued up to $250,000
  • run a closed tender with prequalified Aboriginal owned businesses for contracts valued up to $1 million
  • increase the minimum percentage of project spend to be directed to Aboriginal participation
  • introduce incentives for suppliers where they exceed policy requirements.
What can the percentage of project spend for Aboriginal participation be used for?

The minimum 1.5 per cent of project spend can be allocated to expenses related to the project’s design, planning, or delivery to promote economic participation of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal owned businesses.

Eligible spend may be incurred and allocated from the date of the contract award and up to project completion.

Eligible spend does not include donations or gifts to public benevolent institutions unless programs have been pre-approved by the contracting agency and identified as programs specifically designed to generate capability and employment of Aboriginal people for future construction projects.

There are four types of eligible spend for Aboriginal participation spend:

  • employment
  • engagement of Aboriginal owned businesses
  • education / training
  • engagement / consultation.
What can agencies exclude from project spend when calculating the percentage of spend to be allocated to Aboriginal participation?

Exclusions from project spend are determined by the contracting agency and may include:

  • specialised capital equipment (e.g. tunnel exhaust fans, tunnel boring machines, batch plants) where no suitable Australian supplier exists in the market
  • materials imported from overseas where no suitable Australian supplier exists in the market
  • existing and/or new non-contract/project specific assets apportioned to the contract/project, where they are used in delivery of the contract/project
  • property (i.e. acquisitions, indirect leasing costs, extra land, adjustments)
  • non-construction related services.

The application of any exclusion is at the discretion of the agency.

What are Aboriginal Participation Plans and Aboriginal Participation Reports?

The Aboriginal Participation Plan describes how suppliers will meet the minimum percentage of project spend for Aboriginal participation. They are part of the tender response and approved by the contracting agency. The requirements of the approved plan are to be entered in the Aboriginal Participation Portal and reported against as per the policy reporting requirements. Suppliers are required to regularly report on their progress towards the requirements in the Aboriginal Participation Plan in the Aboriginal Participation Portal.

Suppliers must provide the Aboriginal Participation Report via the Aboriginal Participation Portal at the completion of the construction project and identify if the Aboriginal participation requirements were met.
For further information and support regarding the APIC policy please contact the NSW Procurement Service Centre.

Email: nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 1800 679 289

Supplier FAQs

How does the APIC policy benefit Aboriginal owned businesses?

The APIC policy delivers a broad range of opportunities for Aboriginal owned businesses through the NSW Government supply chain by:

  • mandating 1.5 per cent of a project spend be allocated to Aboriginal participation which may include engagement of Aboriginal owned businesses
  • allowing agencies to directly negotiate with suitably qualified Aboriginal owned businesses that can demonstrate value for money and delivery of quality construction goods and services for procurements valued up to $250,000
  • allowing agencies to run a closed tender with prequalified Aboriginal owned businesses that can demonstrate value for money and delivery of quality construction goods and services for procurements valued up to $1 million.

Please note that all figures exclude GST.

Can an Aboriginal owned business not formally recognised by Supply Nation or the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC) benefit from the APIC policy?

Aboriginal owned businesses recognised as Aboriginal owned by appropriate organisations other than Supply Nation or the NSWICC are eligible to supply to government under the APIC policy.

Where required, the NSW Government may seek additional information to validate the business is an Aboriginal owned business.

What can Aboriginal owned businesses do to be considered for NSW Government contracts?

Aboriginal owned businesses should:

  • ensure they are recognised as an Aboriginal owned business by an appropriate organisation
  • identify and engage with NSW Government agencies that may require the types of goods or services provided by their business
  • register under relevant prequalification schemes for goods and services provided by their business
  • respond to agencies' procurement opportunities by providing proposals that meet agency needs and are offered on competitive terms
  • seek feedback from agencies if a business proposal is not accepted.
What happens if I can't distribute the full allocation of project spend to Aboriginal participation?

The full allocation for Aboriginal participation must be distributed to eligible spend types. Where suppliers are unable to achieve this, they must distribute the remainder to the APIC policy’s list of approved bodies:

  • Master Builders Association
  • Literacy for Life Foundation.

The approved bodies support programs to improve capability and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people for future construction projects.

The allocation for Aboriginal participation from suppliers to the approved bodies and the distribution of these funds by the approved bodies is monitored by the NSW Procurement Board.

How do I report on Aboriginal participation?

Suppliers must provide an Aboriginal Participation Plan specific to each project and report against this in the Aboriginal Participation Portal including:

  • monthly on progress towards the requirements in the Aboriginal Participation Plan on all projects valued over $10 million
  • quarterly on progress towards the requirements in the Aboriginal Participation Plan on all projects valued up to $10 million.

Aboriginal Participation Plans are part of the tender response and approved by the contracting agency. The requirements of the approved plan are to be entered in the APIC policy reporting portal and reported against as per the APIC policy reporting requirements.

A final Aboriginal Participation Report must be provided by suppliers through the Aboriginal Participation Portal at the completion of the construction project and identify if Aboriginal participation requirements were met.

For further information and support regarding the APIC policy please contact the NSW Procurement Service Centre.
Email: nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 1800 679 289

Read the Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy.