The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting unique circumstances for trade and commerce on a global scale. The Department of Defence is keen to maintain open and effective communication with its suppliers to assist in addressing the risks to business-as-usual that these circumstances present. Defence and its contractors should always engage constructively to address any potential or actual issues.
Defence and its contractors should ensure transparency and consistency of messaging and approach within, and between, all levels of their respective organisations.
For information on preventative measures and reporting of the virus, refer to the Defence response to COVID-19 webpage news feed.
Defence and its contractors have a shared duty under Work Health and Safety (WHS) Legislation to consult, cooperate and coordinate their activities to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of Defence and contractor personnel and all other relevant persons.
Contracts based on Defence’s standard contracting templates have provisions for site management in relation to Work Health and Safety. Defence and its contractors are advised to manage activities in accordance with the terms of their contract and work with suppliers and stakeholders on shared and joint establishments.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, contractors may experience issues in performing their contractual obligations, including difficulties in delivering Supplies or Services required under the contract due to interruption to their workforce, workplaces, supply chains, production and transport as a result of temporary closures or travel restrictions.
Contracts that are based on the more complex Defence contracting templates incorporate suitable provisions to handle such scenarios, including the contractor’s duty to mitigate the risk of delay to the extent reasonable under the circumstances. Defence and contractor personnel are advised to follow the provisions of the contract that address delay, including discussions on delivery and schedule recovery arrangements.
If no relevant contractual provisions exist (such as in less complex contracts), Defence and contractor personnel are expected to engage constructively to address any potential or actual issues. It is essential that formal discussions and any decisions relating to resolution of these matters be co-ordinated through the Commonwealth and contractor representatives nominated in the contract.
Contractors should seek advice from their Commonwealth Representative for the contract if they have any questions regarding contractual obligations in relation to the COVID-19 situation. Alternatively, please contact email@example.com.
Contractors must always act consistently with the guidelines on hygiene, self-isolation and social distancing mandated by the Australian Government and implemented by Defence.
Defence provides a range of training courses that are accessed by contractor personnel. Based on the social distancing principles, non-essential, face-to-face courses administered by Defence are being postponed.
The social distancing requirements may also impact training courses being provided under contracts such as materiel acquisition or materiel sustainment contracts. Commonwealth and contractor representatives nominated in the contract should coordinate to address any potential issues.
FAQs in respect of Defence and industry contracted arrangements, which will be updated as required from time to time, are here.