Business School Topics
Indigenous academic Marcia Langton has called on Australian governments to learn from Western Australian mining companies in implementing Indigenous procurement policies.
Speaking at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School, Professor Langton, Foundation Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies at The University of Melbourne, said the Commonwealth had insufficient accountability measures to meet its Indigenous employment and procurement targets.
While the Australian Government employs two million Australians and purchases $39 billion in goods and services annually, just 0.001 per cent of these purchases are sourced from Indigenous suppliers, according to an Indigenous Business Australia report.
This figure, says Professor Langton, stands in stark contrast to WA mining companies such as Fortescue Metals Group, which has spent $1.53 billion on procurement from Indigenous suppliers since the end of 2011.
Langton, who worked on Andrew Forrest's report on Indigenous Jobs and Training, said government department and agency heads should be held responsible for meeting Indigenous targets in tenders and procurement targets.
Tax incentives would also be an effective means of creating Indigenous business growth, argued Professor Langton, suggesting tax-free status should be granted to new and innovative Indigenous commercial enterprises that create real jobs and provide one-on-one volunteer mentoring.
Citing the recent 50 per cent drop in iron ore prices, Professor Langton also called for Indigenous businesses focused on mining to diversify into other areas including gas and energy, construction and infrastructure.
The Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference is being held at the UWA Business School on 1-2 December.