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  • (2022) Denny-Smith, George
    Indigenous procurement policies have gained popularity as a form of social procurement in Australia and other countries with colonised populations as governments seek to create social value for and address the socioeconomic inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples. In Australia, Indigenous procurement policies require governments to meet purchasing and employment targets of Indigenous suppliers and workers. The construction industry is a major contributor to the success of these policies because of its size as an employer and the significant infrastructure investment commitments made by Australian governments before, and in response to, COVID-19. However, this thesis argues that the methods used to evaluate these policies are potentially misleading and misrepresent the potentially negative social value they could create. Operationalising an Indigenous evaluation framework and designed around principles of decolonised and community-based research, this thesis investigates the social value created by Indigenous procurement policies in the Australian construction industry. Findings indicate that creating social value for Indigenous construction workers may require a broader focus on culturally supportive workplaces. Findings also indicate that in general, Indigenous procurement policies can create social value when their aims are supported by all stakeholders. However, the policies can also create negative social value through compliance-driven behaviour and tokenistic employment which prevents Indigenous business and workforce development. Recommendations are made to address this and maximise the social value the policies create. Methodologically, this thesis shows how Indigenous programs and policies can be evaluated in partnership with Indigenous stakeholders. Theoretically, the findings help illuminate the underexplored area of social value in construction. Practically, this thesis will help construction managers aiming to develop, implement and evaluate Indigenous procurement strategies to create social value in partnership with the communities in which they operate.