Advice

Procure goods and services in Australia

Free Trade Agreement export guide

Overview

UK companies already have an excellent track record in winning contracts for major Australian infrastructure projects. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will boost opportunities for both goods and services exporters and improve access in a wide variety of fields including architectural consultancy, rail, digital service providers, clean tech, legal consultancy, specialist equipment manufacturers and more.

British companies will now be able to bid for major Australian government infrastructure and services contracts worth around £10 billion per year (Source: DBT (2021), UK-Australia FTA Impact Assessment) on an equal footing with Australian companies, when procured by government bodies included in the FTA. Along with more certainty for business travel and the removal of tariffs on infrastructure-related goods, the FTA will help UK businesses reap the benefits from the AUD $15 billion of extra planned infrastructure funding over the next decade announced in Australia’s 2021-22 budget (Source: Budget 2021-22, Securing Australia's recovery, budget.gov.au). It is the most substantial level of procurement access Australia has ever granted in a free trade agreement.

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The FTA will help UK businesses reap the benefits from the AUD $15 billion of planned infrastructure funding over the next decade announced in Australia’s 2021-22 budget

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British companies will now be able to bid for major Australian government infrastructure and services contracts worth around £10 billion per year on an equal footing with Australian companies, when procured by government bodies included in the FTA

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Australia’s 2021-22 budget announced AUD $3 billion in funding for rail related projects


Australia is a priority market for the rail industry and the FTA provides significant opportunities for UK rail companies, with AUD $3 billion in funding for rail related projects announced in Australia’s 2021-22 budget. The FTA will also benefit other transport sectors such as clean rail, by including specific priorities to collaborate on the commercialisation of low-emissions technology.

UK infrastructure, transportation and services companies will be able to bring their expertise to the Australian market more easily. Professionals including architects, engineers, project managers and transport consultants will now have guaranteed access to apply for visas, allowing for the transfer of skills and knowledge.

The FTA will also establish a working group to monitor and drive results on the recognition of professional qualifications by facilitating engagement between UK and Australian governments and relevant regulatory bodies.

Bidding for government tenders in Australia

The FTA allows British businesses greater access to Australian government contracts when they are procured by participating entitles. Please see the FTA for the list of participating entities in Australia.

AusTender provides a centralised publication of Australian Government business opportunities, annual procurement plans and contracts awarded at the Federal level. For those who are new to the process, useful information can be found on the Department for Finance website.

For procurement opportunities beyond the Federal level, please visit the relevant State or Local Government tender portals.

Conditions for participating in government procurement

While businesses are not required to have been previously awarded a contract by the procuring party, there are some limited conditions for participation in government procurement, which include:

  • relevant prior experience to meet advertised requirements
  • financial capacity, commercial and technical abilities, as well as business activity of the supplier both inside and outside the territory of procuring Party

A supplier may be excluded by the procuring entity if there is supporting evidence for:

  • bankruptcy
  • false declarations
  • performance deficiencies
  • serious criminal activity
  • professional misconduct
  • failure to pay taxes

Additional details can be found in the FTA.

Please note that there are specificities to certain sectors. For example, in rail, most State Government transport agencies require Type Approval for equipment to be accepted for use on their system, not dissimilar to Network Rail’s product acceptance in the UK.

Support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

Both the UK and Australia recognise the important contribution of SMEs to economic growth. Both sides will ensure transparency on any preferential treatment for SMEs and the criteria for this. Where possible, Australia will make all tender documentation free of charge and will look to simplify processes for SMEs.

Additional information for selling services in Australia

Providing services in Australia will have other consequences including for tax, intellectual property and local labour regulations. Please refer to the following for more advice:

Additional information for selling goods in Australia

Selling goods in Australia will require following certain rules and regulations according to the agreements you have in place with your buyer. Additional guidance on incoterms and import conditions into Australia can be found online.

The Australian Border Force regulates all goods imported into Australia. You’ll need to provide import declarations and documents and pay all relevant duties and taxes.

In order to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the FTA, businesses must make certain declarations that satisfy data requirements.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in Australia. The current GST rate is 10%. Learn more about GST on the ATO’s website. Our e-commerce explainer provides an overview of the different applications of GST for B2B and B2C sales.

Certain goods must be correctly labelled with a trade description before they can be imported into Australia. Please note that not all imported goods need labelling.

Doing business in Australia

Australia shares a common language and culture with the UK, as well as business and legal practices such as intellectual property protection and the rule of law. This makes it easier for UK companies to do business there. With a population of over 25 million, including more than 1 million Britons, Australia is an ideal place to test and develop new products and services. Around three-fifths of the total population live in Australia’s 4 largest cities, making it easy to prioritise where to launch your product or service.

Legal disclaimer

The information provided on this webpage is for guidance only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research or independent advice. No investment and/or business decision should be made solely on the basis of information presented in this document. It is recommended that an independent due diligence investigation is conducted before entering into engagement with any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. DBT accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person as result of any error, omission, inaccurate or misleading statement in this document. The accuracy, completeness or up-to-dateness of the content of any website mentioned in this document is not guaranteed in any way, implied or explicit.

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