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.
It is anticipated the Code will become effective in April 2024 following endorsement by the Finance Minister. 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 industry will be published to assist with the implementation and ongoing application of the Code.
The Department of Finance invites the business community to comment on the draft Code and draft Code contract clauses.
Comments should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 March 2024. To ensure submissions are accessible, please submit responses in Word or PDF format.