Big businesses pledge $3b to support Indigenous companies

Business Council of Australia pledges to buy $3 billion in supplies from Indigenous companies.

Some of Australia’s biggest businesses will collectively spend more than $3 billion with Indigenous suppliers over five years under the Business Council of Australia’s Raising the Bar initiative.

This collaboration between Business Council members and Indigenous supplier diversity organisation Supply Nation, was launched this week by Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt in Perth.

The Raising the Bar framework has four key components including an Indigenous procurement target of 3 per cent of annual influenceable spend with Indigenous businesses over a five-year period.

Each year over the next five years Raising the Bar signatories will increase their spending with Indigenous suppliers, starting with a 0.5 per cent target this year and a 3 per cent target by the fifth year.

Businesses such as Dreamtime Tuka who supply Qantas and Jilpanti Enterprises who supply Fortescue Metals Group are already creating local jobs and boosting their communities thanks to Indigenous supply agreements, Business Council CEO Jennifer Westacott said.

“This is game changing, businesses aren’t just creating economic value they’re helping build economic capacity in Indigenous businesses.

“We’re already working to foster entrepreneurship, economic partnership and building lasting links with Indigenous suppliers and this is a chance to do even more.

“Procurement agreements have already helped boost Indigenous owned businesses like Dreamtime Tuka who started supplying Qantas in 2015 and grew to supply 500 per cent more in just four years.”

Westacott said the Business Council, whose member companies are already some of the biggest employers of Indigenous people, employing more than 20,000 Indigenous Australians, wants to held build diverse Indigenous businesses with the capacity to invest in creating the jobs and opportunities their local communities want.

“Business has a pivotal role in ending the economic exclusion that deprives some communities of the opportunities that only economic growth can provide. Every Australian should be able to realise their full potential.”

Supply Nation CEO Laura Berry said the initiative would provide a strong framework and accountability to further build and grow indigenous businesses.

“Indigenous businesses face many of the same challenges as other businesses but many are on a much steeper growth curve,” Berry said.

“Time invested working with indigenous suppliers will help the sector scale effectively and multiply the overall capability and capacity gain.”

Business Council members signed up to Raising the Bar include:

  • Australian Unity
  • BAE Systems
  • BHP
  • BP Australia
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • EY
  • Fortescue Metals Group
  • KPMG
  • Lendlease
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Microsoft
  • Programmed
  • Qantas
  • Rio Tinto
  • Westpac
  • WSP

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