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ATSIC and DEET sign agreement to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business



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ABORIGINAL a n d TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION A N D TRAINING

ATSIC

ATSIC and DEET sign agreement to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business

(EMBARGOED UNTIL 10AM WEDNESDAY 19 APRIL)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the ‘ ‘ ent of Employment, Education and Training today forged a new felp indigenous Australians set up their own businesses. y 11 Μί η

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« i l l ' " : i ' , - ' ν 1 , 1 ' , ‘RjeSre^ntatives of the two organisations signed a Program Service that establishes a framework for co-operative wording ,1 arrangements to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gain · access to DEETs New Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS) and the ATSIC's Business Funding Scheme (BPS) and the Community Economic Initiatives Scheme (CEIS).The NEIS helps unemployed people develop commercially viable enterprises through training in small business skills, professional management advice, training support, advice on obtaining finance and mentor support after the business is in operation. 1 :i h lender the agreement NEIS management agents will provide indigenous applicants with advice on two of ATSIC's economic assistance programs, BPS and CEIS.I ■ ·â– ' 1ATSIC's BPS and CEIS provide funding and assistance to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and for indigenous communities to establish theirown businesses.In return, ATSIC's business agents will give their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients assistance to allow them to access DEET's NEIS program.Signing on behalf of ATSIC was Ms Patricia Turner, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission. She described the agreement as important for both organisations and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.

"As many studies have shown, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have less access to education, less access to employment and, therefore, less access to financial independence than do members of the wider Australian community. They have not had the opportunity to be lucky in the Lucky

Country.

"Since ATSIC's inception in 1990 we have worked hard, and with measurable success, to redress this situation. Through this service agreement the Commission and DEBT will be going one step further down that road," she said.

Mr Derek Volker, Secretary of the Department of Employment, Education and Training, agreed, saying that the Program Service Agreement would enable more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to benefit from the program and create Jobs for themselves and their communities.

'The New Enterprises Initiative Scheme continues to be one of the most successful and creative labour market programs operated by DEET," said Mr Volker.

"This service agreement will extend the existing link to all agents in both networks ensuring a more comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to servicing the self employment and small business needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and communities," he added.

Ms Turner reinforced this message by pointing to the difficulties faced by small business. ·

"As we all know the world of small business is a cut throat affair. One only has to look at the statistics for bankruptcies in Australia to see how heavily small business is represented.

"Not only will this agreement give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs a start, the initiatives it encompasses will give them the skills and the wherewithal to go on with the Job," Ms Turner said.

For further information contact Ms Susan Hinchcliff of ATSIC on 289 3292 or MR Hal Judge on 203 3138