Another win for Indigenous Australian businesses

20 May 2011

AIMSC welcomes yesterday’s announced exemption to Australian Government purchasing policy which aims to increase Indigenous businesses access to government contracts.

The exemption was announced by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development at a AIMSC-Woodside forum in Perth to promote the benefits of doing business with Indigenous enterprise in the resources sector.

According to Natalie Walker, CEO of AIMSC, this exemption unlocks purchasing policy which often inhibited government purchasers and Indigenous business from doing more business with each other. AIMSC also welcomes the government’s commitment to define Indigenous businesses as those that are at least 51 per cent owned by Indigenous Australians within 18 months.

This exemption pre-empts the introduction of the Indigenous Opportunities Policy which is due to commence on 1 July 2011. Both policies provide the mandate for government to purchase directly from Indigenous business as well as encourage their suppliers to do business with Indigenous business. The exemption and the Indigenous Opportunities Policy are both outcomes of extensive negotiations between government, AIMSC and the Indigenous Business Council of Australia which have occurred over the last 18 months.

“This exemption provides purchasers in all Australian Government agencies with the freedom to do business directly with Indigenous business without having to go through a public tender process. Removing this bureaucratic hurdle is a major win for Indigenous business”, Walker says. Although this is an excellent opportunity and makes this easier for Indigenous businesses to tender for Government, to be successful Indigenous businesses have to provide goods and services on a value for money basis.

The challenge will now be the implementation of both the IOP and the exemption. AIMSC will be running information sessions around the country over the coming months to assist both Indigenous business and suppliers to government better understand these policy changes and the impacts on them.

Useful Links

The Australian – 19 May 2012: ‘Indigenous tender rules eased’: www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous-tender-rules-eased/story-fn59niix-1226058541088

The Indigenous Opportunity Policy (IOP): www.deewr.gov.au/Indigenous/Employment/Pages/IndigOpportunitiesPolicy.aspx