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Green light for share economy in NSW procurement

by Staff Writers •
Free resource

In a bid to make the procurement of goods and services more “agile”, the NSW Government will simplify procurement processes to increase participation of collaborative economy enterprises, a position paper on the collaborative economy has revealed.

Released 19 January 2015, the paper highlights the NSW Government’s support for the collaborative (or peer-to-peer) economy, which connects providers of goods and services directly to customers, but warns that appropriate safeguards must be in place for businesses and consumers to be treated fairly.

“Effective regulation leads to a better-performing economy, encourages competition and provide for better access to government services,” it states.

The paper’s fifth principle highlights the NSW Government’s intention to “apply collaborative economy principles to its own [procurement] activities where appropriate…,” while the second principle looks to “consider a digital first approach in designing new regulation.” However, detail about how collaborative economy principles will apply to procurement activities is not given.

A total of five principles, which the government will work with industry across, have been developed to guide agencies through regulatory challenges associated with the business model. They include:

  1. Support a culture of innovation;
  2. Ensure regulation is fit for purpose in the digital age;
  3. Maintain consumer protection and safety;
  4. Promote competition; and  
  5. Adopt an agile approach to government procurement.

“We are living in the information age and it is vital that government policies embrace new technologies and enable businesses to operate with certainty,” said Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello.

The paper’s tenor also aligns with the updated NSW WoG ICT Strategy – Digital + 2016, which commits to ongoing procurement reform between 2015 and 2018. It also gives some insight into what might be targeted in the upcoming Whole-of-Government (WoG) innovation strategy, by highlighting that digital platforms have expanded the number of market participants.

NSW has traditionally been proactive with reforming procurement to encourage innovation, such as favouring multi-use lists which allow new market entrants to access government businesses without having to wait for a panel to expire. 

Sectors to have benefited most from the collaborative economy include transport, accommodation, financial services, goods and redistribution, services and labour hire and education— with brands like Uber and Airbnb already household names.

The collaborative economy is estimated to have contributed at least $504 million to NSW’s economy in 2015.

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