October 19, 2018
Social Traders acknowledge and support Anglicare Australia’s call for a review of Australia’s employment services system.
Anglicare Australia’s Jobs Availability Snapshot is an important piece of work that highlights the confronting reality of our unemployment problem – that there are 26,000 low-skilled, entry-level jobs available for more than 110,000 job seekers in that category.
An overhaul of the employment services system, and a review of the Newstart allowance program is clearly necessary, however Social Traders urges Governments to include the development of social procurement policy in any major reforms of the employment system.
Social procurement is the practice of purchasing goods and or services to generate positive social impact including jobs for people experiencing significant barriers to employment. Social procurement includes buying goods and services from social enterprises, indigenous businesses and disability enterprises.
Social procurement is proven to be highly effective, and the potential for growth across low-skilled employment opportunities is vast.
Since 2016, Social Traders has facilitated $28 million in deals between certified social enterprises and business and government buyers, supporting the creation of 350 jobs for Australians experiencing disadvantage.
Australia’s annual procurement spend is approximately $600 billion. If 3% of this spend went to social procurement, it could potentially create around 180,000 jobs for those most in need.
At a Federal level, the Indigenous Procurement Policy launched in July 2015 (which commits 3% of the Commonwealth’s procurement spend to indigenous business) has driven a marked positive impact. At a State level, the Victorian Government has so far led the way on recognising the value of social procurement with other States following closely behind. The Andrews Government recently launched the Social Procurement Framework which encourages all of its 270 departments and agencies to have strategies and plans in place to purchase goods and services from social enterprises, indigenous businesses and others.
From a business perspective, the infrastructure and construction sector – enabled by Australia’s infrastructure boom – is leading the way in social procurement investment, comprising 62% of Social Traders current 36 buyer members that include Boral, John Holland Group, Acciona Australia, CPB Contractors, McConell Dowell, Cross Yarra Partnerships, Mirvac, Charter Hall, Laing O’Rourke and Lendlease.
Recently, a contract between the John Holland Group and Melbourne based social enterprise, TRY Australia, generated 80 new jobs for people who have previously struggled to find work.
Social Traders calls for Federal, State and local governments to follow the example set by the Victorian Government and invest in a social procurement policy. Social procurement can play a major role in alleviating pressure on the structural employment system.
The solutions offered by social procurement are already here. We simply need more Australian businesses and governments to take initiative and leverage the power of procurement to deliver tangible and positive social impact.
David Brookes, Managing Director Social Traders
Social Traders is Australia’s leading social enterprise development organisation that connects certified enterprises to business and government buyers.
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