External service providers

​​The department continues to contract consultants and other non-government service providers to supply goods or services. This section provides an overview of our use of consultants. It also gives information required by law about exempt and other contracts.


Our procurement practices reflect the policies and principles outlined in the Commonwealth procurement guidelines. We focus on:

  • value for money
  • encouraging competition
  • efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of government resources
  • accountability and transparency
  • compliance with other Australian Government policies.

In 2011–12, our Procurement Advisory Unit (PAU) was available to provide advice to all areas of the department engaged in procurement activity. Services included contract template maintenance, guidance on all aspects of the procurement cycle and contract management advice. The PAU is also responsible for departmental procurement policy and reporting in accordance with government guidelines.

Our divisions are responsible for their own purchasing, subject to the Chief Executive Instruction on procurement and supporting departmental procurement guidelines that complement the Commonwealth procurement guidelines.

We met our procurement related reporting obligations, including listing contracts of more than $100 000 on our website, in accordance with the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Contracts.

DAFF's annual procurement plan is published on the AusTender website by 1 July each year.


During 2011–12, 88 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $5 356 230. In addition, 34 ongoing consultancy contracts were active, involving total actual expenditure of $2 626 509.

Table 28 shows the number and value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 and total expenditure on consultancies for 2011–12 and the two previous years.

Table 28 Consultancies—number, value and total expenditure
Consultancy details 2011–12 2010–11 2009–10

Number of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year




Total value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year

$7 869 845

$12 040 356

$9 609 907

Actual expenditure on new and ongoing consultancies during the year

$7 982 739

$15 977 507

$9 128 466

The department engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the department's decision making.

Prior to engaging consultants, the department takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and relevant internal policies such as DAFF's Chief Executive Instructions and departmental procurement guidelines.

Other contract information

This section contains information that we are required to publish in our annual report.

Exempt contracts

No contracts let during 2011–12 were exempted by the secretary from being published on AusTender on the basis that publication would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act.

Access by the Auditor-General

All contracts valued at $100 000 or more (GST inclusive) let during 2011–12 provided for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises.

Further information on contracts and consultancies

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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