Commonwealth Procurement Rules

An amended version of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) will commence on 1 January 2018.

CPRs January 2018 [PDF document757 KB]
Commonwealth Procurement Rules document

The CPRs are the basic rule set for all Commonwealth procurements and govern the way in which entities undertake their own processes.

The CPRs have been updated to incorporate new requirements arising from international trade obligations. A table detailing all amendments, including relevant guidance has been prepared to assist entities in understanding the changes in moving to the updated rules from 1 January 2018, and is available below.

Entities should note that the changes to the CPRs are not retrospective. The new version of the CPRs will apply to any new procurement undertaken from 1 January 2018.

Guidance on the rules introduced in the previous 1 March 2017 CPRs has been moved to the “Buying for Government – Procurement Practice” page.

Official versions of the CPRs are available from the Federal Register of Legislation External link.

Table of changes – commencing 1 January 2018

CPR Change – from 1 January 2018General CommentNew Guidance

Compliance with the CPRs (3.7)

Updates have been made to reflect that the functions of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA) are covered by Australia’s existing international obligations on government procurement and therefore, must apply the CPRs.

In addition, a minor change in the way Australian Human Rights Commission and Old Parliament House apply the CPRs has been made to make it consistent with ADHA and NPGA.


Notifications to the market (7.13)

A new clause has been included to highlight some additional notification requirements that are needed when conducting a multi-stage procurement. The clause reads:

The initial approach to market for a multi-stage procurement must include, for every stage, the criteria that will be used to select potential suppliers, and if applicable, any limitation on the number of potential suppliers that will be invited to make submissions.

 Guidance Multi-stage [pdf 165 KB] 

Open tender (9.8)

Open tender has been amended to reference multi-stage procurements.

Open tender involves publishing an open approach to market and inviting submissions. This includes multi-stage procurements, provided the first stage is an open approach to market.


Prequalified tender (9.9)

Pre-qualified tender has been amended to only include procurements from the Legal Services Multi-use List (due to expire on 30 June 2018), as required by the Legal Services Directions 2017.

The establishment of multi-use lists (MULs) have previously been allowed under the CPRs. Importantly, this was not a procurement in itself as it did not involve a value for money assessment. Rather it was an activity that qualifies suppliers who may wish to participate in future procurement processes.

Procurements from a MUL (other than the Legal Services MUL) will no longer be possible.

The changes to prequalified tendering are consistent with best practice and our international obligations.


Limited tender conditions (10.3)

Limited tender condition 10.3(i) for repeat construction services is no longer permissible under Australia’s international obligations, so has been removed.

Instead, an entity could use an options contract for repetitive construction, provided the market is notified in the initial open approach to the market.


Request documentation (10.6)

A number of amendments have been made to paragraph 10.6 to reflect the minimum standard of information to be included in request documentation.

This includes, estimated quantities (if the quantity is not known), the relative importance of evaluation criteria, and any known dates for the delivery of goods and services.

Guidance - request documentation [PDF 166 KB ]

Minimum time limits (10.19‑10.26)

Under Australia’s international obligations, the 25 day minimum time limit for open approaches to market will need to be extended by 5 days for each of the following:

  • if request documentation is not provided electronically, and
  • when submissions are not accepted electronically.

If entities are using AusTender to publish tender documentation and receive tenders, there should be no difference for procuring entities.

Planned procurements will now need to be on the Annual Procurement Plan for 40 days (previously 30 days) before the minimum time limit can be reduced to 10 days.

Entities will no longer be able to reduce the minimum time limit to 10 days in the case of second or subsequent approaches for recurring procurements. An alternative solution for recurring procurements could be for an entity to include an option for additional work in the initial request documentation and contract.


Awarding contracts (10.37)

Entities must not use options to avoid the rules of Division 2 of the CPRs. Language has been inserted to explicitly state this.


Definitions (Appendix B)

Procurements through the Legal Services Multi-use List will be the only prequalified tenders to occur from 1 January 2018. A definition of ‘legal services multi-use list’ has been included to specify this arrangement.

A definition of ‘multi-stage procurement’ has been included to clarify requirements for these types of procurements after the removal of prequalified tender.


Commonwealth Procurement Rules Contents


Division 1 - Rules for all Procurements

Division 2 - Additional rules for procurements at or above the relevant procurement threshold



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Last updated: 11 January 2018