Commonwealth Supplier Code of Conduct

The Australian Government is committed to the highest standards of ethics, probity and integrity. These are the foundations of responsible organisational behaviour and the Government seeks to work with businesses that strive for the same high standards.

The Government is taking a number of steps to strengthen integrity and ethical conduct in its operations and that of its suppliers who deliver goods and services. The development of a Commonwealth Supplier Code of Conduct (Code) is a key initiative in this body of work.

The Code outlines the Commonwealth’s minimum expectations of suppliers, their personnel and their subcontractors while under contract with the Commonwealth. The Code places a positive duty on suppliers to take proactive action to prevent and discourage breaches of the Code. The expectations outlined in the Code do not supersede or alter a supplier’s legislative, policy, regulatory or other contractual obligations.

The Code will be supported by provisions in request documentation and clauses in Commonwealth contracts. The inclusion of Code clauses and the extent of due diligence activities undertaken by a Commonwealth entity in relation to a supplier’s adherence to the Code will be informed by the scale, scope and risk of the procurement.

Where requested by the Commonwealth, tenderers and suppliers must be able to demonstrate they have appropriate policies, frameworks, or similar, in place regarding ethics, governance and accountability to comply with the expectations set out in the Code. Failure to adhere to the Code may result in remedial action and/or termination in accordance with contractual provisions. Where a contract is terminated due to a breach of the Code, Finance may hold details of the termination centrally.

Industry consultation on the Code opened on 15 December 2023 and closed on 1 March 2024. The drafts of the Code and Clause that were used for industry consultation are available in the downloads section. The Department of Finance thanks those organisations who provided submissions on the draft Code for their time and valuable feedback.

It is anticipated that the Code will come into effect in mid2024 with a soft launch to occur before then. The Code will apply only to new contracts entered into from this date however Commonwealth entities may negotiate the inclusion of Code clauses into existing arrangements where appropriate and agreed (for example, but not limited to, when refreshing an existing panel or exercising an extension option).

Guidance for Commonwealth entities and suppliers will be published to assist with the implementation and ongoing application of the Code.

For more information on the Code, please contact ethicalsourcing@finance.gov.au.


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