An Indigenous security services company has settled a $9.2 million contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), making it the largest security deal signed under the federal government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy.
Central Coast-based Fields Group is set to provide security guarding services to DFAT offices across NSW and ACT from early December.
Fields Group managing director Shane Fields, who hails from Tamworth and founded the company in 2012, said the three-year contract was a "game-changer" for his company and other Indigenous businesses.
"It gives us the ability to develop infrastructure we normally don't have, as well as an opportunity to get out there in the market place and compete with other larger companies," Mr Fields told NITV on Monday.
"It will also go a long way in assisting and further developing the process of engaging with Indigenous businesses not only here [in NSW] but across Australia."
"It gives us the ability to develop infrastructure we normally don't have, as well as an opportunity to get out there in the market place and compete with other larger companies"
The Indigenous Procurement Policy, which commenced in July, aims to boost the growth of Indigenous business and employment and targets to have at least 3 percent of Commonwealth contracts awarded to Indigenous suppliers by 2020.
Fields Group is seeking to expand its workforce and employ more Indigenous staff, including a Canberra-based Indigenous trainee manager.
As of October it has 70 employees and 20 percent of those are Indigenous. But Mr Fields, a Gamilaroi man, said he intended to increase that quota to 35 percent.
"Our end game is to provide an opportunity to Indigenous youth and Indigenous persons especially in regional Australia where there’s a high population of Indigenous communities."
He said he anticipated other Indigenous businesses to benefit from the deal through partnerships such as one with Outback Global Australia, which is expected to supply uniforms and safety footwear to Fields Group.
Outback Global Australia chief executive officer Jasmin Herro said the collaboration was empowering.
"What's really great is that this is the pure definition of what self-determination is," she told NITV.
"Fields contacted us and said they were going for this contract and would like to include us. We weren't forced into this contract...They trusted us to deliver and that is something that I am proud of."
She added that it provided an example to aspiring businesspeople.
"It opens opportunities and inspires those Indigenous entrepreneurs that don’t know if they should make the leap"
"It opens opportunities and inspires those Indigenous entrepreneurs that don’t know if they should make the leap from working to starting their own business," she said.
This sentiment was echoed by Muru Group chief executive officer Mitchell Ross whose company is also set to benefit from the contract through selling Fields Group office stationery.
“It means more revenue for us but also creates a blueprint for Indigenous youth to become entrepreneurs and to create successful businesses,” Mr Ross told NITV.
He added that the extra revenue flow would also ensure computer training programs will continue to run in remote Indigenous communities.
October marks the inaugural National Indigenous Business Month.