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Speech to the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council, Sydney

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Ministers' Media Centre Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council - Release of Post-Implementation Review Report

Monday 23 April 2012 Speech

The Hon Julie Collins MP [link:/juliecollins]

Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development • Minister for the Status of Women •

Good afternoon.

I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet today—the Cammeraigal people.

I pay my respects to their elders, past and present and to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons here today.

I’d also like to acknowledge the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council Board Members and executive and representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It’s wonderful to join you at Kirribilli House.

It’s an appropriate setting in which to celebrate AIMSC’s contributions to Indigenous enterprise and employment and to look forward to greater rewards in years to come.

Until now, AIMSC has been a three-year pilot project supported by $3.67 million in funding from the Australian Government, with the contract due to expire on June 30 this year.

The Government commissioned PwC last year to conduct an independent review of AIMSC.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge PwC for its recent pro bono work for Reconciliation Queensland, Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Council and MiiMi House.

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In conducting the review, PwC consulted key stakeholders, including AIMSC members, Indigenous suppliers, peak Indigenous business organisations and representatives from the National Minority Supplier Development Council in the United States.

The review found AIMSC is a well-governed organisation with strong leadership and dedicated staff.

I’d like to congratulate the AIMSC Board and Natalie Walker, the Chief Executive Officer and the staff for your commitment and leadership in supporting Indigenous business.

The report also found AIMSC had already exceeded many of the performance indicators before the end of its second year.

Interest in and demand for AIMSC services, the report says, has increased.

AIMSC now has more than 130 corporate and government members—including 12 Australian Government departments.

It has generated over $22.9 million in contracts and over $13 million in transactions between AIMSC members and AIMSC certified Indigenous suppliers.

Council-certified Indigenous suppliers currently employ more than 450 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The report indicates there is considerable momentum behind the AIMSC initiative.

I saw this momentum on display at the AIMSC Connect Tradeshow earlier this month.

I was impressed by the energy and activity at the tradeshow and the quality of the more than 70 Indigenous suppliers on display.

Indigenous businesses now provide a broad range of products and services and I hope companies and governments around Australia connect with them and help create real economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

I also understand that several new business connections were forged at AIMSC Connect and I look forward to hearing more about these new opportunities as they develop.

At AIMSC Connect, I announced the Australian Government will continue to support AIMSC with funding of up to $7.5 million over the next three years under the Indigenous Employment Program.

It is recognition of the value of AIMSC’s work.

The Government is committed to the economic development of Indigenous Australians and we are prepared to support proven initiatives that help create a sustainable and prosperous Indigenous enterprise sector.

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The doubling of our funding commitment to $7.5 million is part of the Australian Government’s $650 million Indigenous Employment Program.

The IEP aims to increase Indigenous participation in economic activities, assisting employers to train and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers and employees.

The Government is investing $650 million in the IEP over four years and it continues to achieve excellent results.

Since 1 July 2009, it has achieved 75,500 employment and training related placements. Of these, 35,500 were employment and 40,000 training related.

Support from the IEP will assist AIMSC to expand nationally - including establishing offices in Brisbane and Perth - build its member and supplier base and develop into an independent and sustainable organisation well into the future.

I’m proud to be part of a Government that has supported the establishment of such a worthwhile council.

I was also pleased to hear that my department, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, was recognised by the AIMSC Supplier Diversity Awards as Government Member of the Year.

My congratulations to other Supplier Diversity Award recipients.

AIMSC’s vision is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable, vibrant and prosperous Indigenous enterprise sector in Australia.

This creates job opportunities for people in their own communities, contributes to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and provides opportunities for people to establish their own businesses.

Supporting the Indigenous business sector is one of the five priorities outlined in the Government’s Indigenous Economic Development Strategy.

With AIMSC’s enthusiasm and encouragement, government and corporate Australia will continue to build their capacity to integrate Indigenous businesses into their supply chains.

The findings of this review have been overwhelmingly positive.

I have high hopes for AISMC and its future achievements. I’m sure they too will exceed expectations.

Thank you.


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