Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk today welcomed the endorsement of the Small Business Ministerial Council meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, to further develop opportunities for indigenous small business.
The council meets annually and comprises Federal, State and Territory representatives, along with New Zealand Ministers for Small Business.
The Minister introduced a paper to the council detailing impediments and issues affecting indigenous small business in Australia. This issue was introduced in Western Australia by Ms Quirk in 2007 and has now risen to national prominence.
The council strongly endorsed an issues paper relating to indigenous business enterprises and agreed to establish a working group, led by WA. The working group will investigate ways to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture among indigenous people and support the formation and development of indigenous small business enterprises in Australia and New Zealand.
The paper specifically identified a number of issues impeding the development of indigenous small business, including:
· competing family obligations;
· isolation of many communities;
· cultural variation in business practices;
· financial literacy; and
· access to finance.
The council agreed to hold a one-day international seminar on this important issue prior to its next meeting in Darwin in 2009.
“WA has led the way with placing this matter on the national agenda and the work undertaken will feed directly into the national response to indigenous issues,” Ms Quirk said.
“This is a unique opportunity where we can gather the collective experience of all Federal, States and Territory representatives, along with our New Zealand colleagues, who have made significant investment and achievements in fostering indigenous businesses.”
Ms Quirk said healthy small businesses led to healthy communities and as such, this was important for all Australians.
Minister's office: 9213 7000