Growing the Indigenous Business Sector

  • Written by Malcolm Turnbull

Imagination and creativity are key drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship and are critical to our national economic plan for jobs and growth.

The Coalition understands there is no shortage of imagination in Indigenous Australia.

In the ongoing task of Closing the Gap, the Coalition is committed to encouraging Indigenous innovation to create more opportunities for indigenous businesses and, in turn, employment.

Making sure Indigenous people have the same opportunity for employment as all other Australians is one of our three key priorities in Indigenous Affairs, along with ensuring children go to school and communities are safe.

That is why a re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will work with Indigenous business leaders to further develop a strong, vibrant Indigenous business sector to ensure that Indigenous Australians share in our agenda for jobs and growth.

The Coalition has a strong record of achievement in driving the creation of jobs and economic development for Indigenous people. 

Our Indigenous Procurement Policy is opening up new opportunities for Indigenous businesses to supply the Government with goods and services.

Our employment programmes have delivered more than 39,000 jobs for Indigenous men and women in our first term.

But there is more to do.

The Coalition’s plan to build the Indigenous business sector will create new employment opportunities and help open-up our Indigenous businesses to domestic and global markets.

The Coalition will develop Indigenous business opportunities through three key initiatives:

  • $115 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs package, comprising

o   $90 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund to provide grants to new and growing businesses for infrastructure

o   Refocus $23.1 million Indigenous Business Development and Assistance Programme delivered by Indigenous Business Australia, to support businesses to become sustainable and link them to Indigenous Business Australia and commercial finance

o   $1.9 million for an Indigenous business sector strategy developed in partnership with the Indigenous business sector, to assist Indigenous businesses access programs and emerging opportunities and markets

  • Building on our partnership with major employers through the Employment Parity Initiative to require companies to purchase more of their own goods and services from Indigenous businesses, and
  • Building on the outstanding success of our Commonwealth Indigenous procurement Policy to ensure 3% of all government contracts are with Indigenous businesses by 2020

The Coalition’s approach to government procurement has been a game changer for Indigenous businesses.  Since it commenced in July 2015, the Coalition Government has awarded 911 contracts worth $154.1 million to 274 Indigenous businesses.  This compares to only $6.2 million in Commonwealth procurement from Indigenous businesses in 2012-13.

We have shown what can be achieved when practical solutions are put in place.

We are driving the demand for Indigenous business through our procurement policies, and this package of measures will ensure we also build the supply of businesses so the Indigenous business sector can thrive.

Now, through our plan for the next term, we will ensure that those entrepreneurial and innovative Indigenous Australians who have ideas to start or grow businesses, have clear pathways to turn those ideas into viable, sustainable businesses generating employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous economic development is at the heart of our national agenda and plays a critical role in achieving improvements in social outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Building the capacity of our Indigenous business sector makes not only good economic sense for our nation and Indigenous Australians, it puts us on a path to meet a key Closing the Gap target.

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