Aboriginal businesses in the south west have joined together to boost economic opportunities with the formation of Australia’s first culturally based Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
WA Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt officially launched the Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) last week, describing the group as a game-changer for Aboriginal-owned businesses.
NCCI was formed by a group of passionate and like-minded Noongar business leaders, focused on building the capacity and wealth of Noongar people.
Chair Gordon Cole has worked with other successful business operators to gain support from corporates, CCI and the State Government.
It is based at CCI’s East Perth headquarters and will facilitate and support contact between the broader business community and Aboriginal-owned businesses.
CCI CEO Chris Rodwell said the creation of the Noongar Chamber was of historical significance.
“CCI is deeply supportive of the Chamber and intends to work collaboratively with the organisation as it forges opportunities for its members,” he said.
“We recognise that the Noongar people see commerce as a critical platform if they are to take greater control of their future.”
Cole said the organisation’s purpose was about promoting the capacity and capabilities of Noongar people to service contracting opportunities from government and the business sector.
“We believe in the commercial economy, contracts and jobs, as the answer to addressing social disadvantage in our communities,” he said.
“Too often we see a disconnect between the good-will of industry, who want to work with Noongar businesses, and the practical implementation into real jobs and contracts for work.
“We are also focused on communicating our Noongar Business Protocols, which underpin the way we do business and reflect our long history of commerce and trade which pre-dates European settlement.”
Founding directors of NCCI include leading Aboriginal performer and consultant Dr Richard Walley and established Noongar business leaders Oral McGuire, Karen Jacobs, Danny Ford and Michael Hayden.
Noongar-owned businesses are being offered free membership until the end of June 2019.
While other Aboriginal Chambers of Commerce have been established in Queensland and New South Wales, NCCI is the first to be formed for a single Aboriginal cultural group.