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Social Traders welcomes $55b Infrastructure Priority List

The Victorian Government is leading the way in driving awareness of social procurement.

Social Traders has welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s latest $55 billion infrastructure priority list as one of the biggest opportunities for social change Australia has ever seen.

The Priority List includes ‘nation-building’ works to meet rapid growth in capitals Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, along with projects such as the $1 billion Brisbane Metro and the $800 million Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade in South East Queensland.

Social Traders’ Mark Daniels said that major infrastructure projects had already proven a great opportunity for social procurement – that is, the purchasing of goods or services from businesses categorised as social enterprises.

He encouraged businesses tendering for infrastructure contracts to follow the lead of builders like John Holland, Boral and Mirvac in building social enterprise into their supply chains, initiatives that had created countless job opportunities for disadvantaged Australians.

“The Infrastructure Priority List represents an unprecedented opportunity for the social enterprise sector,” Daniels said.

“At the same time, it’s a massive opportunity for the commercial sector to give back to the community, without having to make a radical change to the way they do things.

“We’ve worked with a number of developers who have spent approx. $20 million with social enterprises in the past 18 months, creating numerous employment opportunities for disadvantaged people.

“Buying from social enterprise represents the greatest untapped potential in generating positive, sustainable social impact and change,” Daniels said.

“We estimate that for every $100,000 dollars spent on social procurement, 1.5 jobs are created for those suffering or at risk of disadvantage.

“These infrastructure projects can potentially have a huge impact on unemployment. We need to help corporate Australia understand what a major impact they could be having – for both themselves as much as disadvantaged Australians.

In 2017, the Victorian Government released Australia’s first Social Enterprise Strategy, designed to drive social enterprise sector growth, which in part requires that 3% of all contracts on the State Government’s Level Crossing Removal Authority are sourced from social enterprise.

“The Victorian Government is leading the way in driving awareness of social procurement as a critical step to tackling disadvantage, and the corporate sector needs to follow its lead,” Daniels said.

“They also need to understand there is a groundswell of conscientious consumers out there looking to spend their money with businesses that participate in social trading, which is where the commercial opportunities and benefits for them lie.”

Social Traders work to connect business and government with social enterprise. They provide buyer memberships which delivers tailored expertise and guidance in accessing more than 200 Social Traders certified social enterprises.

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