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Priority Start Policy

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Number:           2019/04
Date of Issue:  16/04/2019
Review Date:   30/06/2021

Download: PC Priority Start Policy




 The Western Australian State Government is committed to developing a strong training culture and maximising opportunities for apprentices and trainees within the building and construction industry.

To achieve this, the State Government, through the Priority Start Policy (formerly Government Building Training Policy), will use the awarding of government building, construction and maintenance contracts to increase the training commitment in the construction sector.

Under the policy, all head contractors awarded in-scope State Government construction and maintenance contracts will be required to meet a target training rate each year. This will be achieved through the employment of construction apprentices and trainees by the head contractor and subcontractors used for the contracts.

The Priority Start Policy applies to State Government building, construction and maintenance contracts with a total value over $5 million (including GST). This includes public-private partnerships and joint venture arrangements. It will apply to tenders issued from 1 April 2019 in scope of the policy.

All public sector agencies must comply with the Priority Start Policy. Government Trading Enterprises are also encouraged to apply the policy when procuring building, construction and maintenance contracts.

Head contractors reporting under the Government Building Training Policy will have the option to transition to the new policy on 1 July 2019, once their 2018–19 reporting obligations have been fulfilled.

Government contracting agencies must:

  • stipulate in all relevant procurement documentation that head contractors are required to comply with the policy;
  • monitor head contractor compliance; 
  • provide yearly reports from head contractors to the Department of Training and Workforce Development to validate apprentice and trainee information;  
  • determine the annual reporting date with head contractors, as outlined in the policy;
  • provide information on policy implementation to the Department of Training and Workforce Development by 30 September each year to be included in a report for the Minister for Education and Training; 
  • audit head contractor compliance in consultation with other government contracting agencies using the Priority Start Compliance and Audit Framework;
  • address non-compliance by head contractors as part of their agency's regular contract management processes; and
  • when a contract falls within coverage of the Western Australian Industry Participation Strategy (WAIPS), reporting requirements using the relevant templates must be completed. Further information can be found at

Requests for variations to the target training rate may be approved in exceptional circumstances as outlined in the Priority Start Policy. A cross-agency Compliance Panel will consider such requests. Appeals by head contractors against the decision(s) of this panel will be considered by a cross-agency Appeals Panel.


The State Government, through the Plan for Jobs initiative, made a commitment to maximise opportunities for local apprentices and trainees through expanding Priority Start, which was first introduced in 2007.

The Department of Training and Workforce Development consulted with key stakeholders, including government contracting agencies, industry, peak organisations, trade unions and contractors, to develop the new Priority Start Policy.

The policy replaces the Government Building Training Policy, which was in place from 1 October 2015.

The policy has an enhanced scope and stronger compliance monitoring measures to ensure the procurement of building, construction and maintenance contracts supports the State Government's training and job creation agenda.

The Priority Start Policy is available on the Department of Training and Workforce Development's website at    




Mark McGowan MLA




For enquiries contact:                            Ross Kelly   (08) 6551 5260
                                                               Director, Policy Planning and Research
                                                               Department of Training and Workforce Development
Other relevant Circulars:                        N/A
Circular/s replaced by this Circular:       2015/02


Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.