Aboriginal procurement policy

From 1 July 2022, the Aboriginal procurement policy will apply to government contracts valued at $15,000 or more.

The policy is part of the Aboriginal economic participation framework. The framework aims to increase ABEs’ involvement in tendering for government work by identifying opportunities for agencies to engage them as:

  • head contractors
  • sub-contractors
  • suppliers
  • other employment options.

It is designed to complement the Buy Local Plan, procurement framework and other cross-government initiatives.

There are no changes to how government contracts are tendered, and non-Aboriginal businesses can still tender on a government contract.

The competitive Value for Territory tender assessment will also remain the same. This may include factors like Aboriginal participation.

Get the Aboriginal procurement policy PDF (1.7 MB) and guidelines PDF (423.6 KB).

To read more about the framework and what these changes mean for businesses, go to the Office of Aboriginal Affairs website.

What is an ABE

This policy is designed to provide ABEs with the maximum opportunity to do business with government.

To be an ABE, your business or community organisation must:

  • be at least 51% Aboriginal owned
  • operate as a business, including
    • companies
    • incorporated associations
    • sole traders
    • incorporated or unincorporated joint venture
    • partnerships, trusts and social enterprises
    • registered charities if they're operating as a business
  • prove Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
    • are involved in the daily operation
    • have effective control that is at least equal to the degree of ownership
  • be registered with a certifying authority.

If you're an ABE, you can register and update your details through Quotations and Tender Online (QTOL).

Your quotation and tender documents will be pre-filled with this information when you download future tender documents.

You can also check and update your status on QTOL.

What is a certifying authority

A certifying authority is an organisation that confirms the ownership and control of certified ABEs.

They are approved by the Northern Territory (NT) Government.

The NT Indigenous Business Network (NTIBN) is the primary certifying authority and the peak body for ABEs in the NT.

Other approved authorities are:

  • Supply Nation
  • Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

If you don't meet the criteria

If you’re an existing local Aboriginal entity that doesn’t meet the above criteria, there will be an 18-month transition period to help you become a certified ABE.

This applies from 1 July 2022 to 31 December 2023.

During this period, you can be provisionally recognised as an ABE for the purposes of this policy if you can:

  • show at least 50% Aboriginal ownership
  • prove you’ve been operating in the NT on or before 30 June 2022.

From 1 January 2024, only certified ABEs will be recognised.

For information about the transition period, email procurement.nt@nt.gov.au or call 08 8999 1490.

If you have a current local decision-making agreement

If you have a current agreement through local decision-making (LDM), you will not be affected by this policy.

But to be awarded this contract, you must still demonstrate your Value for Territory.

How contracts are awarded

All procurement contacts awarded with a value of $15,000 or more will be published on QTOL.

It will identify if it’s been awarded to an ABE.


For information, email procurement.nt@nt.gov.au or call 08 8999 1490.

Last updated: 15 June 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!