Federal Government rejects IMAA’s master media contract proposal for indie consortium


The proposal would have seen a consortium of IMAA members share servicing the $163 million account.

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) have expressed disappointment with the Federal Government’s decision to reject its proposal for an independent agency consortium to service the Government’s master media account.

The proposal, which was developed in conjunction with an Australian-owned third-party management consultancy, would have seen a consortium of IMAA members share servicing the $163 million account.

Although the Government turned down the submission, the IMAA will continue campaigning for at least half of the Federal and State Governments’ procurement to come from Australian-owned businesses.

In 2022, the Federal Government attempted to improve the playing field for small businesses nationally, via new contracting rules, requiring department and agencies to source 20% of their annual procurement from small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

The rules are designed to give SMEs better access to large Commonwealth contracts and include a clause requiring Government departments to break down larger projects into smaller ones and approach multiple potential suppliers to maximise competition.

However, the Federal Government’s master media tender makes it unviable and difficult for the vast majority of independent media agencies to apply, the IMAA said.

Additional updates to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which came into effect on July 1 this year, have increased SME sourcing targets further, but seem to not apply to master media contracts.

IMAA CEO, Sam Buchanan, said: “While we’re disappointed with the outcome of our proposal, we firmly believe there is still an opportunity for the Federal Government to work with indies via a consortium master media arrangement.

This model would provide the Government with the best of indie and holdco thinking, and a fresh, modern approach that meets the updated procurement standards. We will continue to actively engage both state and Federal Governments on the importance of allowing indie agencies to have a fair go, and to keep profits in Australia,” he said.

“The Federal Government still has an opportunity to support Australian-owned businesses, however this tender appears to have been designed specifically for holdcos. A tender that the Government rinses and repeats is not suitable for today – the market has changed, and the playing field has been levelled for the best diversity of thought, and to support multiple Australian businesses. There’s more than enough business for everyone.

“The door is still open, and we are ready to assist. Our members would love to work with the Federal Government we’re waiting on their call. 

Incumbent agency UM has held the Federal Government master media account since 2022.

See also: IMAA unveils line-up for inaugural Pitch-Chella initiative

Top image: Sam Buchanan

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