Indigenous Business

Call for Indigenous business development through native title land


ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander leaders have called on the Federal Government to work with them on pursuing economic development on native title land and commit resources to this process.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda and Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson convened a meeting of Indigenous leaders in Broome in May to explore the challenges and opportunities of property rights after native title. 

Participants of the Indigenous Leaders Roundtable determined that the Australian Human Rights Commission should lead and facilitate ongoing dialogue on these issues.

“Many participants of the roundtable voiced their disappointment in what the native title system has delivered in the past 20 years,” Mr Gooda said.

“They expressed concern about the limited outcomes from current processes for recognising and protecting our peoples' rights to land and resources, citing the closure of WA communities as an example.”
Commissioner Wilson said the Australian Human Rights Commission would continue to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to progress reform.

“We will represent the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Canberra and to the nation to advance respect for your property rights and economic development outcomes,” Mr Wilson said.

“We will represent what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples achieve and to remove the obstacles that stop self determination being realised.

“We call on government to also work with us and to recognise the importance of property rights in achieving economic development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Commissioner Gooda said any proposals from the Indigenous Leaders Roundtable would require the consent of native title holders before being implemented.

“We are committed towards achieving constructive reform that is respectful of native title and protects the inherent rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” he said.

Attorney-General George Brandis also attended the roundtable to hear from participants their concerns about native title and property rights.

“We appreciate the Attorney-General attending and genuinely listening to the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mr Gooda said.

“We hope the participation of the Attorney-General in this meeting is a sign of constructive engagement in the future on these issues. The meeting expressed a clear intention to continue their dialogue with government and we welcome the Attorney-General's agreement to do so,” Mr Wilson said.

The Indigenous Leaders Roundtable called on Government to engage with them on the following issues:

  • Enabling communities to build on their underlying communal title to create opportunities for economic development.
  • Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the governance and risk management skills and capacity to successfully engage in business and manage their estates.
  • Financing economic development within the Indigenous estate, including developing financial products to underwrite economic development.
  • Rectifying the existing unfair processes for compensation for extinguishment of native title and considering how addressing unfinished business could leverage economic development opportunities.
  • Promoting opportunities for development on Indigenous land including identifying options to provide greater access to resources on the Indigenous estate.

For more information or to read the roundtable communique visit



QUT Creative Enterprise Australia designers showcase Indigenous

INDIGENOUS artists combined with current and alumni fashion designers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) Fashion Incubator Program to steal much of the limelight at both the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Australian Indigenous Fashion Week shows earlier this year.

The AKIN Collection was developed in conjunction with CEA’s Fashion Incubator designers and indigenous artists. The full collection was on show at Indigenous Fashion Week along with new work by Tatum Stanbury, recipient of CEA Indigenous Fashion Design Scholarship.

Hayley Elsaesser is currently working in the CEA Fashion Incubator and her vibrant Redneck Nostalgia collection was also shown. 

The AKIN Collection was produced under the fashion label, Multistory, created by the CEA Fashion Incubator to launch and sell in-house collaborative fashion and design projects.

Multistory’s AKIN Collection was produced as part of the Contemporary Indigenous Fashion Project, funded by Arts Queensland through the Backing Indigenous Arts program to bring the work of Indigenous artists to the attention of the fashion industry.

CEA Fashion Incubator Stitch Lab client, Gail Sorronda, collaborated with Disney and Queensland Ballet to create a new collection inspired by The Little Mermaid for the coming season. 

Both Ms Elsaesser and Ms Sorronda are QUT Fashion alumni.

Australian Indigenous Fashion Week is a new event on the fashion calendar that aims to showcase the creative talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from all over Australia.

See Hayley Elsaesser’s collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

See Gail’s Sorronda’s collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.


Pictured are Australian Indigenous Fashion Week ambassadors all wearing AKIN dresses, from left Lilla Conradson wearing the Comb-print dress created by Hayley Elasesser and Sharon Phineasa; Indigenous Model Search finalist Sinead Grehan (centre) in a Bushfire-print created by Margaret Mara and Samantha Delgos; and  Samantha Harris wearing the Cassowary-print dress created by Napolean Oui and Georgia Grainger. Image from QUT: Dan Himbrechts, AAP.


Indigenous Men Conference highlights success stories

A SPECIAL conference devoted to Indigenous men is being staged in Cairns on October 13-15.

Indigenous Conference Services has developed the 2014 National Indigenous Men Conference in cooperation with MEES (Australia), with inspiring guest speakers from different states and territories of Australia.

An Indigenous Conference Services spokesperson said the overwhelming response of the Call for Papers clearly indicated the devoted  interests of organisations and individuals working to improve Indigenous men’s services. 

More than 70 percent of the submitted papers were from community based organisations.

Among the featured speakers is Steve Widders, the current Aboriginal community liaison officer of Armidale Dumaresq Council in New South Wales.

Although declared medically and legally blind by the late professor Fred Hollows at age 35, Mr Widders sees himself as a “man of vision” and he prefers to talk of his ‘ability’ rather than his disability. He is a descendant of the Anaiwan/Kamiloaroi people of Northern NSW.

John Riley, the community counsellor and development officer of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, will be at the conference sharing the story of how the Wik Warrior’s Men’s Group breaks the cycle of Aurukun’s males passing away without the opportunity to pass on their tribal knowledge to younger generations.

A wealth of experience has come forward to present papers and many of these people will present at the conference.

Jack Bulman is the CEO of Mibbinbah who will be co-presenting with Dr Rick Hayes on The Mibbinbah Mad Bastard’s Guide: Be The Best You Can Be, an award winning outreach program that builds on the success of the movie,Mad Bastards.

Andrew Thorp, the men’s project manager of Beyondblue, will be presenting on The Proppa Deadly Project which aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take action against depression and anxiety through the telling of their own stories across Australia’s Indigenous community radio sector.

Terry Thommeny, the program officer of Royal Flying Doctors Service Queensland will be presenting an outline of a Baliner’s perspective to aged and senior males in Indigenous community. Mr Thommeny has a degree in nursing communication and is finishing his master’s degree in public health.

Jimmy Perry is the project officer of Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) Inc. and he will be presenting  on the Making Track Project. This is a mobile substance misuse program assisting Aboriginal communities in rural and remote parts of South Australia.

Madhu Panthee, the family violence mediation program coordinator of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee, in the Central Desert Regional Council NT, will be highlighting the impact of the Yuendumu Family Violence Mediation Program model in reducing violent confrontations among family feuds in Yuendumu and across Warlpiri region.

Kit Karunaratne, the ICT manager of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) based in ACT, will be showcasing a vision which looks at the emergence of a new information technology as a support service to break down cultural communication barriers in remote communities.

Government and non-government organisations are participating in choosing the agenda and as delegates as well.

The conference is a major forum for sharing of information on successful Indigenous men programs existing and being implemented all over Australia and interagency networking at a local, state and national level.



IBA showcased at international economic development forum

INDIGENOUS Business Australia (IBA) CEO Chris Fry joined representatives from Rio Tinto and Barrick Gold as invitees to attend Canada’s Public Policy Forum to broaden international understanding of how to enhance Indigenous economic outcomes through resource development.

IBA was one of 11 global case studies that were considered for their success in promoting indigenous economic development, earlier this year.

Representatives from companies and organisations from Canada, USA, Chile and Sweden were in attendance to provide case studies and participate in the discussion. 

IBA chair Dawn Casey welcomed Canadian interest in IBA’s business model as part of their review of global perspectives on Indigenous economic development.

This is recognition of the strong outcomes IBA has been achieving in enabling Indigenous participation in the broader economy.

“Although there were differences in the specifics, several good practices consistently emerged around governance, broader economic impacts and community engagement across these case studies,” Dr Casey said.

“It is pleasing to note that the Canadian forum identified a range of good practices IBA has in place including the level of accessibility to finance for Indigenous communities and the level of tailored support that is provided to our customers and partners,” Dr Casey said.

In addition to examining distinct good practices which may be applicable to other Indigenous economic development opportunities, the forum also sought to identify key principles that underlie successful development.

These principles are:

1. Establish and maintain productive and mutually respectful relationships.

2. Be proactive in driving Indigenous economic development as a priority.

3. Understand culture, land rights and historical treaties before considering business opportunities.

4. Strive to achieve standards which surpass laws and regulations.

5. Understand the potential social and environmental impact of projects.

6. Ensure that business opportunities make sense from a commercial perspective and benefit everyone.

7. Build long-term sustainability into agreements: focus on the capacity to benefit future generations.

Given IBA’s success in encouraging economic development for a range of clients, the Canadian Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has shown interest in learning more about IBA’s business model, with the idea of developing a similar organisation to benefit Canada’s First peoples.


Adam Goodes joins Supply Nation board

AFL CHAMPION and Indigenous icon Adam Goodes has joined the Supply Nation board of director.

The addition of Mr Goodes to the Supply Nation Board brings its total number of directors to nine.

Supply Nation chairman and CEO at Citibank, Stephen Roberts paid tribute to the sportsman, commending him for the contributions he has made to Australian society both on and off the pitch. 

“It gives me great pleasure to confirm the appointment of Adam Goodes to the Supply Nation board of directors," Mr Roberts said. “Adam is a vocal advocate of Indigenous advancement and equality, both on and off the sporting field. His goals align clearly with those of the Supply Nation Board.

“I am confident his passion, knowledge and belief in supplier diversity will result in a fruitful partnership.”

Mr Goodes joins existing directors Freehills CEO Gavin Bell; Australian Human Rights Commission sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick; Human Resources Pacific, Compass Group executive director George Mifsud; Qantas Airways head of community Laura Berry; Roger Allen, AM; Message Stick CEO Michael McLeod; and Pacific Services Group Holdings director, Shane Jacobs.

Mr Goodes said the work that Supply Nation does in the Australian supplier diversity space is “invaluable”.

“I think the work Supply Nation does is invaluable in helping to break down stereotypes and prevent racial discrimination in Australia by giving Indigenous businesses a fair go,” he said.

“I am honoured to join the Supply Nation Board and work towards our mutual goal of achieving ‘an equal opportunities Australia’. I look forward to working with fellow board members to create an Australia we can proud of, where our citizens see each other as equals and treat each other as equals, regardless of the colour of skin.”

Mr Goodes is a vocal ‘anti-racism’ campaigner and has worked hard to promote a culture where all individuals are treated equally in Australia. In January 2014, he was awarded the title of Australian of the Year.

Supply Nation CEO Charles Prouse echoed this sentiment, explaining that Supply Nation’s 136 corporate and government Members and 265 Certified Indigenous businesses stand to benefit from his input.

“I believe Adam will prove a fantastic addition to the Supply Nation Board,” Mr Prouse said.

“I have no doubt that Supply Nation, as well as our Members and Certified Suppliers, will benefit enormously from his input into the future strategic direction of the organisation.”

Mr Goodes made  his first public appearance as a Supply Nation board director at the Connect 2014 event in Sydney in May and he attended the Gala Dinner Awards Night at Sydney Town Hall on May 27.

Mr Goodes is a prominent Indigenous Australian of Adnyamathanha and Narungga descent on his mother’s side, as well as English, Irish and Scottish ancestry through his father


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