A new association of indigenous commercial organisations will be formed in Western Australia to champion the cause of indigenous participation in the WA economy.
At a meeting hosted by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), 13 WA indigenous organisations involved in commerce and business decided to form an association to provide mutual support and networking, foster commercial capability and provide an opportunity to engage strategically with industry and government.
The WA Government and IBA have agreed to provide $50,000 each to help establish the association.
The idea builds on work under way in the Pilbara, to form an association of indigenous contractors involved in the mining industry.
Treasurer Eric Ripper said the Government was keen to work with the association.
Mr Ripper said the State Government strongly supported securing more jobs and business opportunities for indigenous people.
“We will match the $50,000 provided by the IBA and we will work with the new association to help ensure it is a success,” he said.
Chairman of the Wunan Foundation in Kununurra, Ian Trust, said: “We want to be part of the economy; some of us have money to invest, and we all want to set up businesses to provide jobs and other opportunities for our people.
“We share common challenges as we move into the world of commerce and need to be able to engage with mainstream industry and business on equal terms.”
General manager Ron Morony said the decision would be discussed with Chambers of Commerce to ensure the new body fitted within the commercial fabric of WA.
“We will need to make sure that all indigenous commercial organisations are able to join,” Mr Morony said.
As well as the up-front funding, IBA will offer expert advice on investment and dividend strategies, corporate governance and joint venture opportunities.
A follow-up business luncheon between the indigenous organisations and industry will be hosted by Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt.
“I am sure industry will want to engage with a body that can represent the interests of indigenous business interests across the State,” Mr Wyatt said.
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