Ethical supplier mandate and ethical supplier threshold
Note: Minor amendments have been made to the Ethical Supplier Mandate 2021, Guidelines: Ethical Supplier Mandate 2021 and Guidelines: Ethical Supplier Threshold 2021. These amendments have been introduced to remove inconsistencies, and to clarify the policy’s fundamental intent and the application of the Ethical Supplier Threshold.
Through the Buy Queensland 2023 approach to government procurement, we are committed to using our procurement to support quality, local jobs, boost the Queensland economy and leave a lasting positive legacy for current and future generations of Queenslanders. This includes engaging with suppliers that are ethically, environmentally and socially responsible, and which deliver genuine, quality, secure and ongoing local jobs with fair pay and safe working conditions for Queenslanders.
The Ethical Supplier Threshold (the Threshold) and Ethical Supplier Mandate (the Mandate) are part of Buy Queensland 2023.
The Threshold reflects the minimum legal responsibilities expected of all suppliers who want to do business with the Queensland Government. It applies to all Queensland Government suppliers in all categories.
The Mandate outlines how the Queensland Government will manage instances where a supplier fails to comply with a policy requirement, regulatory requirement, or contractual obligation and how penalties may be applied.
The Mandate and the Threshold intend to drive positive behavioural change, not punish accidents or honest mistakes that are found and corrected.
The Ethical Supplier Threshold
The Threshold applies from 1 August 2019 to any procurement completed by a procuring agency covered by the Queensland Procurement Policy 2023.
The Threshold sets the standard for suppliers to do business with the Queensland Government. We want to work with businesses that are ethically, environmentally and socially responsible and this includes suppliers that pay their workers fairly.
For breach of the Threshold, Queensland Government will use the processes and penalties provided in the Mandate to apply equitable consideration and penalty of any breach in relation to conduct committed on contracts entered into:
- on or after 1 August 2019 for budget sector agencies for the procurement categories of Building Construction and Maintenance (BCM) and Transport Infrastructure and Services (TIS) only
- on or after 1 September 2021 for all other procurement categories and agencies as the Mandate comes into effect
For breach of the Threshold prior to the Mandate 2021 coming into effect (in relation to conduct committed on or after 1 August 2019 to 31 August 2021) within entities and categories not covered by the Mandate refer to the Guidelines: Ethical Supplier Threshold (PDF, 846.68 KB) for the compliance and enforcement process.
Find out more about the Ethical Supplier Threshold for suppliers.
The Ethical Supplier Mandate
The enhanced Ethical Supplier Mandate 2021 applies from 1 September 2021.
The Mandate complements the Threshold and benefits suppliers, as well as workers and the broader Queensland community, by:
- ensuring suppliers are treated fairly, and not exposed to undercutting and unjust competition
- making Queensland workplaces fairer and safer
- ensuring that Queensland taxpayers' money is used to build the local economy and support quality Queensland jobs.
The Mandate ensures businesses supplying to government uphold their economic, ethical, social and environmental commitments made in tenders and contracts or required by policies or laws.
Key enhancements from the 2021 update
- Aggravated non-compliance – a new category of breach where 20 demerit-points and a sanction can be issued in severe cases of non-compliance.
- Contractual options to apply contract-based measures such as liquidated damages for breaches of the Mandate or Threshold, or publication of information about sanctions.
- Compelling evidence of a breach having occurred (e.g., pay slips indicating underpayment of wages or superannuation, or Australian Taxation Office records, bank statements) without the need for a regulator decision.
- The Tripartite Procurement Advisory Panel (the Panel) superseding the existing Procurement Penalties and Sanctions Committee (PPSC). The Panel is an independent expert body comprising equal representation from employer and union organisations and chaired by an independent nominee.
Who does the Mandate apply to?
The Mandate is being implemented in phases. The following budget sector agencies' categories commenced:
- 1 August 2019 for Building, Construction and Maintenance
- 1 October 2019 for Transport, Infrastructure and Services.
The Mandate applies to the following entities within the same categories of Building Construction and Maintenance and Transport, Infrastructure and Services, commencing:
- 1 February 2022 for statutory bodies
- 31 March 2023 for government-owned corporations
- 31 March 2023 for water management boards Mt Isa Water Board and Gladstone Area Water Board
- 31 March 2023 for commercial entities Queensland Rail and Seqwater.
Suppliers in other categories of spend may start to notice references to the Ethical Supplier Mandate in tenders and contracts from 2023.
See the table below for more information.
The policy provisions outlined in the Ethical Supplier Mandate 2021 apply from the date of implementation.
Buying for Queensland Government
All officers conducting procurement on behalf of the Queensland Government will need to embed appropriate policy processes into all purchasing activities and procedures. This includes adding all necessary policy references and clauses into supplier contracts and ensuring the application of the Mandate and Threshold down the supply chain.
Government buyers need to do the following:
- Check the Procurement Compliance Portal – Before proceeding with procurement, government buyers must check that suppliers are not subject to current penalties under the Mandate or Threshold. Procuring agencies must ensure that suppliers are compliant before procuring, unless engaging a prequalified supplier or completing a low-value threshold procurement.
- Investigate non-compliance – If government buyers are advised that a supplier may not have complied with the Threshold or may have breached the Mandate, agencies are required to investigate. Guidance on this process will be available for buyers.
The Tripartite Procurement Advisory Panel
The role of the Tripartite Procurement Advisory Panel (the Panel) is to provide robust, independent, expert advice and recommendations to Directors-General or other decision makers on the application of penalties under the Mandate and the Threshold.
The Panel will also provide government agencies with advice on procurement, contract, audit and investigation processes and systems.
The Panel comprises 12 members with a diverse range of skills and experience across building and construction, including:
- industrial relations
- work health and safety
- training and apprenticeships
- construction contract assessment and interpretation
- major procurement.
Panels will be convened and composed of relevant membership, depending on the type of alleged breach. Under the tripartite model, each Panel will have 3 members: a union nominee, an employer nominee and an independent Chair.
The Queensland Government Procurement Compliance Branch audits and handles complaints about supplier compliance under the Buy Queensland 2023 procurement approach. The Strategy and Coordination Unit within this Branch administers the Ethical Supplier Mandate and Ethical Supplier Threshold. Find out more about compliance.
Read the Mandate and Threshold
- Ethical Supplier Mandate 2021 (PDF, 523.43 KB)
- Guidelines: Ethical Supplier Mandate (PDF, 845.84 KB)
- Guidelines: Ethical Supplier Threshold (PDF, 846.68 KB)
Note: These documents will be progressively reviewed as part of Buy Queensland 2023 implementation.
- Last updated:
- 6 September 2023