Opening of Indigenous Business Trade Show

More than 80 Indigenous businesses supplying goods and services in a broad range of sectors were represented at this year's Indigenous Business Trade Show, attracting around 450 buyers from corporate and government sectors. It's one of the biggest Indigenous business gatherings in the country. 

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Kira Kudinoff (SA Regional Manager, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet)

Ian Nightingale (South Australian Government Industry Advocate)

Representatives of other Commonwealth and State Government Department agencies and Local Government

Representatives of Indigenous Businesses participating in today’s Trade Show

Ladies and Gentlemen

I begin by acknowledging the Kaurna People on whose land we meet today.

I acknowledge their elders, both past and present.

I thank Jack Buckskin for yet another magnificent welcome to country.

I also acknowledge the extraordinary group of Indigenous businessmen and women who are here today.

A strong and thriving Indigenous businesses sector is key to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

It will create jobs, provide greater financial security for communities and families, and contribute to the growth of local economies and broader regional, State and national economies.

I have been told more than 80 Indigenous businesses supplying goods and services in a broad range of sectors are represented at this Trade Show this morning.

That’s a marvellous reflection of the growth of Aboriginal owned and operated businesses in recent years.

I commend the Commonwealth Government through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Supply Nation, for organising this event.

As Premier, I have taken responsibility for aboriginal affairs and reconciliation.

I have done that because I believe that right across government, we have to find more practical and timely ways to support our Aboriginal communities.

This must include a renewed emphasis on economic participation.

Aboriginal employment.

And the creation of even more Aboriginal owned and operated businesses.

Today’s event has attracted some 450 buyers from the corporate sector and State and Commonwealth Government agencies.

This makes it one of the biggest Indigenous business gatherings in the country.

After this opening, I am looking forward to joining you and seeing first-hand the capability of Indigenous businesses.

The Federal Government has a very proud track-record in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to realise their economic goals.

The Turnbull Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy has resulted in over 1000 Indigenous businesses winning contracts for goods and services worth over $1.084 billion since the Policy was introduced in mid 2015.

As a measure of just how much progress has been made in such a relatively short time, in the 2012-13 year, just $6.2 million in contracts was awarded by Commonwealth agencies to just 30 businesses.

I have spoken recently with Nigel Scullion about this Policy and I know he is passionate about ensuring its continuing success.

It’s important that the State Governments also contribute to this effort.

The South Australian Government’s Industry Advocate, Ian Nightingale, is here today and I hope you can meet him.

In 2016, Ian’s office assumed responsibility for the Aboriginal Economic Participation Initiative in South Australia.

The following year, our Industry Participation Policy was revised to incorporate the objectives of this Initiative into a single comprehensive framework.

This framework aims to increase the number and diversity of Aboriginal businesses successfully winning South Australian Government procurement contracts, either directly or indirectly.

Under this policy and operating framework, our government agencies are encouraged to actively engage with Aboriginal enterprises.

Since becoming Premier, I have had discussions with Ian about how we can extend the important work his Office is doing.

Ian and his Office, particularly through Sue Panagaris, have gone above and beyond in their efforts to ensure as many people as possible were aware of today’s great opportunity to connect with Indigenous businesses and employment service providers. 

While a one-size fits all approach doesn’t necessarily work in this area, I also acknowledge initiatives in other states.

The Berejiklian Government has recently introduced an Aboriginal Procurement Policy while Western Australia and Queensland have also implemented procurement programs.

As well as an opportunity to meet with Indigenous businesses, this trade show can also connect you with Commonwealth and South Australian Government-funded employment programs that support employers to engage with Indigenous job seekers.

South Australian-based employment service providers are in attendance at the Employment Lounge to discuss the wide range of programs and support they deliver.

Another new feature of this national trade show series is the Australian Government Link.

This is a space for Indigenous businesses to discuss government procurement policies and understand how different government departments purchase goods and services, and what opportunities are available through the agencies attending this morning.

South Australia is part of the Australian Government Link through our Office of the Industry Advocate.

Five Commonwealth Government agencies are participating today, staffing the Government Link and ready to answer questions about marketing the services of Aboriginal businesses to government, overseas customers and the Defence industry.

The Digital Transformation Agency is here to demonstrate its Digital Marketplace for businesses wanting to win work across all levels of government in the ICT sector.

Austrade will be walking the floor to talk about potential export opportunities.

While advisers from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability can discuss readiness for the Defence market.

The Australian Taxation Office is a strong supporter of Indigenous procurement and officers from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will also be available to talk about the Industry Procurement Policy.

Please also stop by and talk to Denise and Sue from the South Australian Government Office of the Industry Advocate about our Aboriginal Business Procurement Policy.

For the Indigenous-owned businesses here today, you will have access to a free workshop on Tendering to Government after the trade show closes at noon.

Steve Vermey will be sharing his knowledge from experience in government tendering on both sides of the fence.

I encourage all businesses to attend this workshop to get a better understanding of the world of competitive tendering and practical advice on how you can increase your success in writing proposals to government.

You can also participate in a briefing by John Callea, the Manager of Professional and Advisory Services at the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

John will be talking this afternoon about the $700 million Better Schools Build being rolled out across South Australia.

Events like today’s are an important part of making connections and shining a light on the extraordinary capabilities, diversity and growth of the Indigenous business sector here in South Australia.

Thank you for coming.

I look forward to hearing of the many connections you make during the day and in the longer term, to the growth in Aboriginal businesses and employment that will follow.

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