The government has announced it will be overhauling its support for Indigenous businesses by reforming Indigenous Business Australia and consulting on a new Indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme.
Indigenous Business Australia has historically been the conduit within which the government can provide funding to advance policy for individual wealth accumulation for Indigenous Australians through financial support in owning homes, businesses and investing in commercial ventures that generate income.
Home ownership has been the most successful of the streams of responsibility for Indigenous Business Australia and the criteria has recently been expanded to include more Indigenous people in home ownership.
The new initiative is to restructure the way funding is allocated to Indigenous Business Australia and, although the numbers have not been released with any clarity or impact analysis, the plan certainly points to greater investment in businesses rather than individuals.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, who released the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy Consultation Paper at Supply Nation’s Connect Conference in Sydney on 3 May, said the Government was committed to co-designing the reforms with the Indigenous business sector.
The Coalition Government committed to an Indigenous Entrepreneurs Package that included developing a road map for growing the Indigenous business – the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy.
The paper has been released for stakeholder consultation and in statement released by Minister Scullion, he said,
“From 1 July 2017, we will be changing IBA’s funding arrangements to focus it on supporting entrepreneurs who have low intergenerational wealth and need greater support,” Minister Scullion said.
“These initiatives are on top of the $90 million Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund that the Coalition has committed to help remote and regional Indigenous businesses get a foot in the game.”
The government's focus remains on the policy of individual wealth accumulation, however, the focus now appears to be pinpointed towards enterprise which has larger impacts upon the communities of the Indigenous businesses that participate in the program.
The paper states,
“A flourishing Indigenous business sector is good for all Australians, and is an unrealised source of economic growth for the broader Australian economy.
Recognising this, the Coalition Government made an election commitment to develop an Indigenous Business Sector Strategy, as part of our Indigenous Entrepreneurs Package.
The Strategy is a practical ten-year approach, outlining the steps that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Commonwealth, and the private sector will take to support Indigenous entrepreneurs realise their ambitions, and take their rightful place in the domestic and international economy.”
Also speaking on the new governmental investment, Indigenous Adviser Warren Mundine stated that the plan is a game changer particularly when coupled with the Indigenous Procurement Policy. Minister Scullion was also full of praise for the procurement policy and said that this new plan would expand the procurement to infrastructure projects in addition to simply good and service delivery.
The government is calling for submissions by 28 May 2017 via email to IndigenousBusinessPolicy@pmc.gov.au or by post to;
Indigenous Business Policy
Community and Economic Development Division
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PO Box 6500 CANBERRA