Noongar business advocacy changing the economic game
Aboriginal businesses in the South West have joined together to boost economic opportunities with the formation of Australia’s first culturally based Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
WA Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt officially launched the Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) at a breakfast function this morning, describing the group as a game-changer for Aboriginal-owned businesses.
NCCI was formed by a group of passionate and like-minded Noongar business leaders, focused on building the capacity and wealth of Noongar people.
NCCI Chair Gordon Cole has worked with other successful business operators to gain support from corporates, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) and the State Government, before officially launching a membership drive with Noongar-owned businesses this year.
“Our purpose is really about promoting the capacity and capabilities of our people to service the contracting opportunities we see coming out of government and the business sector on a regular basis,” he said.
“We believe in the commercial economy, contracts and jobs, as the answer to addressing social disadvantage in our communities.
“Too often we see a disconnect between the good-will of industry, who want to work with Noongar businesses, and the practical implementation into real jobs and contracts for work.
“We are also focused on communicating our Noongar Business Protocols, which underpin the way we do business and reflect our long history of commerce and trade which pre-dates European settlement.”
The founding directors of NCCI include leading Aboriginal performer and consultant Dr Richard Walley and established Noongar business leaders Oral McGuire, Karen Jacobs, Danny Ford and Michael Hayden.
NCCI has offices at CCIWA headquarters in East Perth and aims to facilitate and support contact between the broader business community and Aboriginal-owned businesses. Noongar-owned businesses are being offered free membership until the end of June 2019. Future funding is expected to be raised through corporate partnerships until ordinary memberships and other NCCI services become financial.
While other Aboriginal Chambers of Commerce have been established in Queensland and New South Wales, NCCI is the first to be formed for a single Aboriginal cultural group.
The State Government commenced implementation of an Aboriginal Procurement Policy from 1 July this year. The Policy sets progressive targets for a proportion of Government contracts to be awarded to Aboriginal suppliers or contractors.
Media contact: Charlie Wilson-Clark, Cannings Purple, 0430 110 331