The history of managing government procurement can be traced to the establishment of the colony of South Australia when Thomas Gilbert was appointed Colonial Storekeeper in 1839. The function was first granted to a statutory authority in 1887 when the Supply and Tender Board was established. Subsequent Supply and Tender Boards were instituted following the passage of legislation in 1894 and 1914.

As a result of the Richardson and Guerin reports (1980), the Government approved the establishment of a Steering Committee to prepare detailed proposals for the revision of the Public Supply and Tender Act to meet the needs of modern purchasing and supply management. In 1983, the Government approved the preparation of new state supply legislation, which was presented to the House of Assembly on 3 April 1985. In 1985 the State Supply Board was created.

In May 1997, Government endorsed in principle, the State Supply Board’s proposal to develop a whole-of-government procurement reform strategy. Purchasing Strategically, the Government’s policy framework for procurement reform, was launched in June 1998, focusing the State Supply Board’s increased attention on ensuring chief executives and agencies were well positioned to take on changed purchasing responsibilities integral to the reform program.

In July 2004, the State Procurement Act 2004 (the Act) was assented to and proclaimed in September 2005. The Act replaced the State Supply Act 1985. The State Procurement Board held its first meeting in October 2005. Cabinet approved an implementation strategy for the Act, which was aimed at achieving the following:

  • Greater devolution of procurement authority to public authorities;
  • Greater emphasis on the Board’s role to develop strategic policy and direction;
  • Collaborative use of procurement across public authorities to achieve better buying options; and
  • Ensuring that government procurement operates within an appropriate legislative and policy framework.