The minister for finance and deregulation Penny Wong and minister for indigenous employment and economic development Mark Arbib have welcomed approval of the Indigenous Training, Employment and Supplier Plan under the Gillard Government’s enhanced Indigenous Opportunities Policy (IOP).
IOP is part of the Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage, and halving the gap in Indigenous unemployment within a decade.
Senator Wong said the plan also changed the way the Australian Government does its business.
“Companies in regions with a significant Indigenous population that bid for Government contracts will need to train and employ Indigenous Australians and use Indigenous suppliers,” she said.
Senator Arbib said Government procurement was a powerful driver for change, particularly in regional and remote communities.
“The IOP will ensure that Indigenous employment and training and supplier use becomes standard business practice for companies that tender for Government work,” he said.
“It will help us better harness it to create employment opportunities and support the growth of Indigenous business.”
From the beginning of July, regions with a significant Indigenous population, tenderers for Government contracts over five million dollars (six million dollars for construction projects), will need approved plans for employing and training local Indigenous people and for using Indigenous suppliers.
The Government has also re-issued the Indigenous Opportunities Policy guidelines which now specify the transition date for the shift from 50 per cent ownership to 51 per cent ownership in relation to the definition of an Indigenous business.
This change follows further discussions with representatives from the Indigenous business sector which is excited about the policy’s potential to grow business for Indigenous enterprises.