Experts Meet to Consider Aboriginal Jobs & Business Opportunities
19 July 2012 at 10:40 am
The social enterprise model is a vehicle that could help address issues around Aboriginal employment and business opportunities, a Melbourne seminar has been told.
Members of Victoria’s Aboriginal community, private and philanthropic sectors and three levels of government met in Melbourne to discuss priorities and actions for improving economic outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians this week.
The Aboriginal Victorians in the Economy – Economic Development Summit was jointly hosted by the Commonwealth and Victorian Coalition Governments and heard presentations from key Not for Profit organisations including Social Trades and the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC) and Indigenous Business Australia.
The Manager of Policy and Development at Social Traders Mark Daniels told the seminar that there is an opportunity for purpose-built social enterprises to address issues of employment for indigenous people that corporates and other business don’t address.
Daniels told the seminar that a social enterprise is an alternative model that offers a complimentary role to address a number of issues around employment and business opportunities for indigenous people.
Social Traders is a Not for Profit organisation established in 2008 to support the establishment of commercially viable social enterprises throughout Australia.
At the opening of the seminar Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu urged participants to be passionate about making a difference for the lives of Aboriginal Victorians.
“Having a job or owning a business builds self-esteem, showcases positive role models and provides Aboriginal Victorians with the ability to shape their own destiny while contributing to growing the Victorian economy,”
“The Summit is an important opportunity to develop understanding and partnerships between Aboriginal individuals, families and communities and the private, philanthropic and government sectors,” Baillieu said.
The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell described the Summit’s theme, New Conversations, appropriate for the challenges and opportunities associated with improving the living standards and quality of life of Aboriginal Victorians.
“Aboriginal Victorians are already making a positive contribution to the Victorian economy as workers, business owners, investors and consumers.
“One of the key challenges for Summit participants is how we acknowledge and build on this contribution to emphasise high achievement and improve both the level and quality of participation in employment and in business.” Powell said.
The four major themes discussed at the Summit included:
- Unlocking the Potential of Young Aboriginal Victorians
- Growing Victoria’s Aboriginal Workforce
- More Productive and Competitive Businesses
- Financial Security and Wealth Creation
Powell said there were some encouraging trends, such as a growing number of Aboriginal Victorians in business; an increase in the number of children staying in school to year 12; and a high proportion of Aboriginal employees working in the high growth sector of health care and social assistance.
However, Powell said that more work needed to be done, including increasing the representation of Indigenous people in other high growth areas such as professional, scientific and technical services.
The outcomes from the Summit will help to inform the development of the Aboriginal Victorian Economic Development Strategy, which will be released later in 2012. A draft report is expected in September.