Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Questions without Notice

Indigenous Businesses

2:58 pm

Photo of Nigel ScullionNigel Scullion (NT, Country Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for the question. When I became minister I was less than satisfied with how government policies and programs aligned with ensuring that we were supporting Indigenous business. In 2012-13 we actually purchased $6.2 million worth of goods and services from Indigenous businesses out of a $39 billion economy—hardly something you would beat your chest about—which equated to 0.02 per cent of contracts. Given that Indigenous Australians are three per cent of the population, clearly Indigenous businesses had been locked out of government contracts for some time, so we wanted to turn this around.

There is nothing new with how you do things in business. We would like to say we have a businesslike approach. We just simply tied the KPIs that we wanted to the KPIs of our CEOs, so the secretaries of every department had a KPI, a target. Whilst I think they would acknowledge that it was not too popular an approach at the time, they see that it has worked enormously well. As a bit of encouragement we indicated that we would publicly publish the outcomes of those KPIs on my website.

The results have been remarkable. Since we introduced this policy, 708 Indigenous businesses have won over $407 million worth of government contracts in the first 18 months, an extraordinary jump from just over $6 million. Each and every one of these contracts had to show value for money. To build on that success, we are leveraging the Commonwealth investment in significant infrastructure—$700 million investment in north Australia's roads. I would like to acknowledge Senator Canavan's leadership in this initiative. Townsville City Deals are at 6.6 per cent because that is the exact Indigenous population of Townsville— (Time expired)


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