• Priority Start Policy

    The Priority Start policy came into effect on 1 April 2019. It replaced the former Government Building Training policy (GBT policy).

    The aim of the Priority Start policy is to increase the overall numbers of apprentices and trainees in the building and construction industry. This will be achieved by requiring Government construction and maintenance head contractors to meet a target training rate through the employment of construction apprentices and trainees in their company and the subcontractors they are using for the contract.

    The target training rate is the estimated percentage of Western Australian construction trades workers who are apprentices and trainees in the occupations specified in the Priority Start policy. The target training rate is determined by the Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD).

    The Priority Start policy applies to all State Government building, construction, civil and maintenance contracts with an estimated total value over $5 million (including GST) tendered on or after 1 April 2019.

    New requirements

    • Applies to building, construction and maintenance contracts with a total value over $5 million (previously $2 million labour value)
    • A separate training rate of 5 percent applies to civil construction contracts (11.5 percent still applies to building construction and maintenance contracts)
    • Contractor reporting has been reduced from quarterly to once per year
    • The lists of in-scope qualifications and construction trade worker occupations have been expanded now including qualifications in telecommunications, landscaping, water and rail industries, site supervision and heavy duty mechanics
    • Apprentices/trainees on probation are now included in the training rate calculation
    • Introduction of stronger compliance and auditing requirements
    • Cross-agency panels are being established to determine contractors to be audited, to assess contractor requests to vary their training rate and to decide appeals pertaining to variation requests.


    Contractors whose current contract with the Department of Finance applies the GBT policy can apply to transition to the Priority Start policy on 1 July 2019, provided that their 2018–19 GBT policy reporting obligations have been met by submitting the 30 June 2019.training rate report.

    Affected contractors will shortly receive a letter from the Department of Finance on the transition process.


    On acceptance of a contract, the head contractor commits to meeting the target training rate at the end of each financial year for the duration of the contract and upon completion of the contract.

    The Department of Finance may audit the head contractor's compliance with the Priority Start policy at any time.

    At the end of each financial year the Department of Finance is required to report on the policy’s operation to DTWD, including on any variations that have been granted to the target training rate.

    Supplier Demerit Scheme

    Failure to comply with the Priority Start policy commitments stated in the contract will result in one or more demerits being applied against a head contractor, unless otherwise determined by the Department of Finance.

    For further information on the Supplier Demerit Scheme please refer to the Supplier Demerit Scheme Guideline.

    To view the Priority Start policy and for further information please refer to DTWD:

    web site: https://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/prioritystart
    email: policy.PriorityStart@dtwd.wa.gov.au

    For other information please contact the Department of Finance:

    email: PriorityStartPolicy@finance.wa.gov.au
    phone: 08 6551 2084