Increasing opportunities for Aboriginal jobs, business and economic participation.

The Aboriginal Economic Participation Strategy focusses on leveraging opportunities for Aboriginal employment and business enterprise from government procurement, building the capability of the Aboriginal business sector to compete for government and private sector tenders, and creating increased opportunities for Aboriginal employment.

Aboriginal economic participation through procurement

Government spending practices provide the single greatest opportunity for the Government to leverage opportunities for Aboriginal jobs and business.

The first component of the Strategy focuses on increasing the number and diversity of Aboriginal businesses successfully winning government procurement contracts either directly or indirectly.

In 2014, the Aboriginal Business Procurement Policy was developed to cut red tape and provide a boost for South Australian Aboriginal owned businesses.

In August 2017, the Aboriginal Business Procurement Policy was merged with the Industry Participation Policy, consolidating opportunities for Aboriginal business procurement across all procurement levels under a single comprehensive framework.

Under the Industry Participation Policy:

  • Agencies can procure directly from businesses listed on South Australia’s online Aboriginal business register, Aboriginal Business Connect, up to the value of $220,000
  • For tenders greater than $220,000, the Industry Participation weighting of tenders can be lifted so Aboriginal businesses, and businesses with high Aboriginal employment or subcontracting, are more likely to win tender contracts.

The Industry Advocate Act 2017 sets out the objectives of the Industry Participation Policy and establishes the Industry Advocate as a statutory position with specific powers to further these objectives.

The Policy is also supported by a dual focus on ensuring a capable supply of Aboriginal businesses with capacity to access procurement opportunities, through delivery of a range of supports.

Aboriginal Business Supports

There is a strong correlation between Aboriginal business ownership, the employment of Aboriginal staff by those businesses, and a range of other economic outcomes when Aboriginal businesses win procurement contracts.

Through this initiative a dedicated Aboriginal Business Industry Participation Consultant in the Office of the Industry Advocate works with agencies to identify suitable procurement opportunities, and to raise the capacity and capability of Aboriginal businesses to quote and tender for procurement contracts.

To support this work, in 2016, the Government and Supply Nation launched an online search register of South Australian Aboriginal businesses called Aboriginal Business Connect.

Aboriginal Business Connect interfaces with Supply Nation’s national Indigenous Business Direct database, providing businesses with unparalleled access to the benefits of both state and national procurement opportunities.

Other supports include:

  • Meet the Buyer events and Supplying to Government workshops
  • The South Australian Aboriginal Business Expo, Indigenuity, which was delivered for the first time in 2017 and was attended by over 500 government and industry representatives.

For more information contact

Sue Panagaris
Industry Participation Consultant
Aboriginal Business
Office of the Industry Advocate 
Phone 08 8207 0903

Aboriginal economic participation through employment

Employment can provide the foundations for financial autonomy, wealth creation and broader economic participation.

The second component of the Strategy brings together a number of initiatives that create opportunities for Aboriginal jobs, and demonstrate best practice across the sectors.

  • The base 2% employment target for Aboriginal people in the public sector has been exceeded by some agencies, and some agencies have committed to higher targets through the Reconciliation Action Plan program, including the Department of State Development which has committed to a 3% target.
  • The Work Health Safety Framework for Cultural Safety has been designed to support a vibrant and diverse workforce by becoming an employer of choice.
  • The Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters Program operates over ten industry sectors and seeks to increase the employment and retention of Aboriginal employees.