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How APIC Increases Aboriginal Participation in the Construction Industry


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The construction industry is a significant employer in the NSW labour sector. Depending on the region, between 10-17% of Aboriginal men in New South Wales are employed in construction and a growing number of Aboriginal women are also finding their place in the industry. That makes construction one of the main employers of Aboriginal people in the State.

As around $7 billion is spent each year on government construction projects throughout New South Wales, NSW Government investment in the construction industry has the potential to play an important role in supporting long-term improvements to the employment and economic status of Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal Participation in Construction (APiC) policy is an initiative from the NSW Government Procurement Board to support greater participation by Aboriginal people in government construction projects across NSW.

The policy commenced on 1 May 2015, replacing the 2007 Aboriginal Participation in Construction Guidelines. All NSW Government agencies are required to comply with the APiC policy. State owned corporations are encouraged to adopt this policy when appropriate and consistent with their corporate intent. APiC applies to all government construction projects within the three categories set out below. It also applies to construction projects that are being jointly delivered with the private sector.

State owned corporations are encouraged to adopt this policy when appropriate and consistent with their corporate intent. 

Obligations under this policy are determined by the total construction costs of the project:

 •Category 1: Projects nominated by an agency that are primarily directed to one or more Aboriginal communities

•Category 2: Construction projects with an estimated value over $10 million

•Category 3: Construction projects with an estimated value between $1 million and $10 million

Projects that cost less than $1 million are generally exempt from the requirements of this policy, unless they are primarily directed to one or more Aboriginal communities. 

Once you have identified which category your project is in, you can establish what percentage of the project spend must be directed to Aboriginal-related employment and education activities, procurement of goods or services from recognised Aboriginal businesses or other programs.

Review the policy and any related Procurement Board directions to ensure you are aware of the current targets for each project category. 

The Tender and Purchase Process

Your tender documentation must clearly state what the successful contractor’s obligations will be under this policy. If potential contractors have specific questions about the policy, you can refer them to the Aboriginal participation in construction policy or contact NSW Procurement Service Centre.

Your contracting agency should specify what percentage of the project must be directed to Aboriginal related employment and education activities, procurement of goods or services from recognised Aboriginal businesses or other programs. Contractors that are able to demonstrate their capacity to deliver the objectives of this policy are likely to be at an advantage.

What is a TPS?

A Target Project Spend (TPS) is an amount a contractor must spend on Aboriginal employment and education activities directly related to the project’s planning, design or delivery or costs indirectly related to the project that contribute to the education and employment goals outlined in Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment (OCHRE). OCHRE is the NSW Government’s plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people across all sectors of the community. 

APiC in Action 

From July 1 2016, most new contracts issued by Roads and Maritime will include a Target Project Spend (TPS) for Aboriginal participation. Roads and Maritime will also trial the policy to design-related Professional Service Contracts including panels (C71 & C72) for Services valued at more than $1 million for a twelve-month period.

From July 1 2016, most new contracts issued by Roads and Maritime will include a Target Project Spend (TPS) for Aboriginal participation. 

Contractors must allocate at least 50% of the TPS to employment and education activities directly related to the project’s planning, design, or delivery. Contractors may allocate up to 50% of the TPS to expenses that are indirectly related to the project or that contribute to the education and employment goals outlined in OCHRE.

Contractors must also prepare an Aboriginal Participation Plan (APP) and regular Aboriginal Participation Reports (APR) to meet policy and Roads and Maritime requirements.

An Aboriginal Participation Plan (APP) must be developed by the contractor to outline APiC initiatives that will be carried out during the project. A draft APP may be requested by Roads and Maritime within 20 business days of contract award. The final APP must be submitted to Roads and Maritime within 60 days after contract award except in the case of C41 Term Services Contracts.

The final APP must be submitted to Roads and Maritime within 60 days after contract award except in the case of C41 Term Services Contracts. 

An Aboriginal Participation Report (APR) must be prepared by the contractor to report on the initiatives outlined in the APP. Roads and Maritime Contractors are required to submit an APR within the timeframe scheduled in the Contract.

Tenderers will be requested to provide evidence of their ability to meet the obligations of the Policy and include APiC performance outcomes on other Roads and Maritime and/or NSW Government contracts that they have completed. Roads and Maritime will consider contractors’ demonstrated capacity to meet the obligations of the Policy when assessing tenders.

Contractors are advised to contact the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce or Supply Nation for more details regarding Aboriginal businesses in their area.

A range of construction companies have already committed to employing Aboriginal people on projects in which they are involved. The NSW Government is committed to extending and creating employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, enhancing their business skills, and improving the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people and communities in New South Wales.

A copy of the APiC policy is available to view or download on the ProcurePoint website. 

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