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Unsolicited proposals

An unsolicited proposal is when an individual, business, organisation or not-for-profit approaches government with a proposal that hasn’t been requested by government.

An unsolicited proposal may include:

  • delivery of services to or on behalf of government
  • provision of infrastructure
  • access to government assets
  • seeking government support including financial or regulatory support to undertake a specific activity.

The Government of South Australia welcomes unsolicited proposals to help identify new and innovative ways to drive our state’s development and provide tangible benefits to South Australians and is guided by Premier and Cabinet Circular 038 Unsolicited Proposals.

Lodging an unsolicited proposal

Depending on the nature of a proposal, it may be assessed and managed by the Department of Treasury and Finance or the Department for Environment and Water.

Please refer to the table to below to determine which agency is likely to manage your proposal:

Investment value of proposal

Proposals with infrastructure
Proposals without infrastructure
Less than $1 million DEW DEW
$1 million to $3 million DEW DTF 
More than $3 million DTF DTF 

For proposals likely to be managed by the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) visit for information on lodging an application and the DTF assessment process.  

Proposals the department may be responsible for include requests to purchase or lease of Crown land or National Park.

For proposals likely to be managed by the department, we recommend reading the Information for proponents document 

This will give you an understanding of the criteria a proposal must meet to proceed, the assessment processes and the scope of information required.

To help ensure your proposal is lodged with the correct agency, and your proposal is likely to meet the criteria, before you commit significant resources to developing a full proposal contact:

Department Unsolicited Proposals Secretariat
Phone: (08) 8463 4156

You may also want to consider other ways the department can support your proposal including:


 To lodge an unsolicited proposal to the department, unless otherwise advised by the Secretariat, download and complete an application form

The Information for proponents document   will assist in completing the application, and you can contact the DEW Unsolicited Proposals Secretariat for further information.

Email your completed application form and any supporting documentation to

Fees and charges

Proponents will not initially be charged a fee to lodge an unsolicited proposal or have it assessed by the Department. However, if the proposal results in a transaction that would ordinarily incur a regulated fee or charge, these will be applicable at the time of the relevant transaction, for example lease application and preparation regulated fees. See fees and charges for more details.

Accessing applications

The department’s unsolicited proposals process is guided by the Department of Treasury and Finance Guidelines for the Assessment of Unsolicited Proposals (the Guidelines).

This assessment is aimed towards determining:
•    if the proposal meets minimum legislative requirements; and
•    if the proposal needs to be assessed by this department, or if another agency also needs to be involved in the process.

Unsolicited proposals are assessed and managed in three stages.

Stage 1: Assessment

The department will review the submitted application form and request further detail if required.

The department will assess the proposal against the five criteria in the guidelines and undertake an initial review of the proposal.

The assessment is referred to an internal panel, the Unsolicited Proposals Governance Committee (Governance Committee). This committee will determine if the initial proposal:

  • should not be accepted as the criteria are not met or it cannot not meet minimum legislative requirements; or
  • is not suitable for exclusive negotiation and should be considered via a standard procurement process; or
  • should proceed to Stage 2 and the applicant be requested to submit a detailed proposal.

Stage 2: Detailed proposal and assessment


You will be responsible for preparing a detailed proposal, responding to further information requirements or coordinating other necessary approvals, for example negotiating an Indigenous Land Use Agreement, development approvals or aquaculture licences.

The Case Manager may seek advice from internal and external stakeholders, and conduct community consultation if required.  

Once the proposal has been assessed and has met the criteria and all relevant approvals obtained, the Case Manager will prepare a Stage 2 Assessment Report to present to Governance Committee recommending if the detailed proposal:

  • should not be accepted as the criteria are not met or it cannot not meet minimum legislative requirements; or
  • is not suitable for exclusive negotiation but may be appropriate for consideration via a standard procurement process; or
  • should proceed to Stage 3 as the detailed proposal meets the criteria and there is appropriate justification to proceed.

Stage 3: Contract negotiation

Stage 3 involves formalising the proposal. All parties negotiate the final legal and commercial terms, and once these terms are mutually agreed, formal approvals are sought from the relevant delegate, Minister or Cabinet if required.

Further detail about the processes and criteria for assessment is in the Information for Proponents document.

Exclusive negotiation

The government prefers to request a proposal via a tender process to ensure that the best value for money solution can be competitively identified. However, the government recognises that circumstances arise where it may be beneficial in dealing exclusively with one party.

The government may, in its absolute discretion, negotiate with a party that presents an unsolicited proposal where the government considers circumstances warrant.

Key features of an exclusive negotiation

  • An exclusive negotiation is granted at the government’s sole discretion, subject to specific terms and conditions with regard to the particular characteristics of the proposal.
  • The proponent will be responsible for their own costs in developing and lodging the proposal.
  • Maximising public value for money and minimising public risk are prioritised when assessing and dealing with proposals on an exclusive basis.
  • All correspondence and communication with the respondent will be kept confidential, subject to freedom of information or public accountability requirements.
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