New initiative to support Aboriginal businesses and employment opportunities

The City of Greater Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Loddon and Central Goldfields Shires have launched a new initiative to support Aboriginal businesses and economic development across central Victoria.

The four municipalities, led by the City of Greater Bendigo, seek to strengthen local, social and economic outcomes by maximising local spend in the region and focusing on creating local jobs, including jobs for Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal Business Capability Building Initiative is funded through Regional Development Victoria to bring together awareness and education programs, capacity-building workshops and help with mentoring programs across the region.

A feasibility study into improving Aboriginal procurement in Local Government found that there were significant gaps in engaging with Aboriginal businesses.

City of Greater Bendigo Director, Corporate Performance Andrew Cooney said this was an important initiative to create new employment opportunities and make significant improvements in procuring goods and services from Aboriginal businesses.

“In the 2018 financial year, City of Greater Bendigo procurement spend with identified Aboriginal businesses was only 0.06 per cent, which falls below the target of one per cent,” Mr Cooney said.

“The City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon Shire, Central Goldfields and Mount Alexander have agreed the priority will be to address the gaps addressed.

“It will help us create an awareness of the many Aboriginal businesses that we have in our region and support opportunities to increase the employment of Aboriginal people across the region.”

The Aboriginal Business Capability Building Initiative will bring together awareness of the Aboriginal business sector, support for local businesses to engage with Aboriginal businesses when responding to social, local and Aboriginal tender clauses when bidding for Council projects and works. The initiative will also look at creating visibility of Aboriginal businesses in Victoria and the region, with the assistance of Kinaway, the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce.

A recent study from the Supply Nation’s Sleeping Giant report found that for every dollar spent on Aboriginal businesses, the social economic impact to the Indigenous community was $4.41.

“Aboriginal businesses are a hundred times more likely to employ another Aboriginal person so it’s clear that this is central to supporting the economic and social growth in the community.”

The initiative will focus on ensuring local Aboriginal businesses are included when tendering for works across the Council. This includes the incorporation of a new “Aboriginal tender schedule’ that local businesses and contractors may be asked to respond to when bidding for work.

Local businesses and Council contractors are now invited to attend a series of industry briefings to:

  • Hear about local, social and aboriginal economic development
  • Discover how your business can engage and support regional opportunities
  • Learn about the Aboriginal business sector landscape
  • Respond to local, social and Aboriginal tender clauses

The first industry session will be held on Tuesday April 27 at the Fosterville Gold Bendigo Tennis Centre, Nolan Street, Bendigo from 6pm to 8pm. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aboriginal-business-capability-building-initiative-industry-briefing-tickets-148542072337.

The second industry briefing will be held on Tuesday May 25 at the Fosterville Gold Bendigo Tennis Centre, Nolan Street, Bendigo from 6pm to 8pm. Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aboriginal-business-capability-building-initiative-industry-briefing-tickets-149638439601

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