Written by: Phil Sealy – The Pro Forum Community of Practice

Public procurement holds significant global importance, particularly in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations in 2015. Adopted by all UN Member States, including Australia, the SDGs serve as a collective ambition to eradicate poverty, preserve the environment, and foster universal peace and prosperity by 2030. Notably, former New Zealand Prime Minister and ex-Head of the United Nations Development Fund, Ms. Helen Clark, played a pivotal role in shaping these goals.

Addressing the Australian Institute of Project Management & Pro Leader Academy in Brisbane in 2018, Ms. Clark emphasised the crucial role of government expenditure in achieving the SDGs. She stressed the necessity for governments to be acutely aware of the interconnections between economic, social, and environmental policies, directing taxpayer funds towards enhancing the well-being of the populace.

Australia, as indicated by the 2019 Federal budget, anticipates public spending to reach 25% of GDP, with potential increases stemming from recent national emergencies such as wildfires. Effective public spending and procurement practices across all governmental levels are deemed essential for SDG attainment, emphasising the importance of efficiency in value creation.

Despite Australia’s comparatively advanced economic status, inefficiencies must be mitigated to support community reconstruction and economic growth, both domestically and internationally. Outdated systems and risk-averse organisational cultures within large institutions, including government, pose obstacles to implementing transparent, cost-effective, and sustainable spending practices.

Addressing these challenges necessitates legislative frameworks that strike a balance between taxpayer expectations of fiscal responsibility and the broader goals of sustainability and social equity. Ultimately, the successful implementation and delivery of services will determine Australia’s progress towards the SDGs.


For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals, please visit: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html


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