Australian federal and state Indigenous Procurement Policies (IPP) aim to stimulate entrepreneurship, business and economic development in the Indigenous business sector through:
The Commonwealth IPP target for the 2020-2021 financial year is that three per cent of the number of eligible procurements are awarded to Indigenous businesses. Similar procurement policies are in place at a state level in Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland.
State and federal procurement policies have been a game changer for Indigenous businesses around Australia. Supplier Diversity September, a month-long initiative by Supply Nation, recognises the incredible value of the Indigenous business supply chain, and of supplier diversity on a wider scale.
Having an Indigenous Engagement Plan or a Reconciliation Action Plan that proactively works towards closing the gap is similarly considered best practise for large enterprises and corporates. Procurement targets in these cases often reflect those set by the IPP.
If you are keen to begin your journey of developing a diverse supply chain for your business, you can download and print the handy infographic below for tips on engaging with Indigenous businesses, and an overview of the whole process.
If you would like to talk further about an Indigenous Engagement Plan for your organisation, call us (08) 9721 7057 to talk to one of our team.
Source: Indigenous Procurement Policy
Support Aboriginal businesses
There is a huge network of Aboriginal businesses producing quality goods and services across Australia. Buying from these businesses means purchasing a quality product and knowing that your money will support the economic independence and success of Aboriginal people and communities.
Unconscious bias training
Undertaking unconscious bias training for yourself or your organisation can help to address underlying attitudes and behaviours that maintain systemic racism in power structures. Unconscious bias training explores stereotypes and workplace bias in the context of recruitment and employment, as well as the forms of bias that affect our perceptions of others, such as affinity bias, confirmation bias, and the halo effect.
Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP)
Creating a RAP for your organisation is a long-lasting commitment to creating a positive relationship with the Aboriginal community. It is not a step to undertake lightly, or one that ticks boxes – but it is a formally recognised structure that will help you to articulate why this is so important, how you are going to do it, and then take action. A RAP needs to be intrinsic within your business to change attitudes, habits and perspectives, and should make tangible impacts and outcomes for Aboriginal businesses and communities.
Be open to listen and learn
It can take time to learn and understand the everyday realities of systemic racism – and some of the things you hear may be challenging to take on board. If an Aboriginal person speaks to you about their lived experiences, don’t argue with them or make excuses for why something had happened. Be open minded, listen respectfully, and learn about their world.
Be prepared to go on a journey
Advocacy is a lifelong journey. Being passionate about creating change in the world is only the start: creating change begins with questioning your own assumptions, and then being prepared to adapt to new information, to set new goals, and to respond to a changing world.
As a proud majority-owned Indigenous business, IPS Management Consultants strive to be the voice for those less fortunate, and also for equity for our first nations brothers and sisters. We acknowledge we stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before us and re-iterate the importance of engaging and working inclusively with Aboriginal businesses.
Here’s a few concrete steps you can take:
The same thing that happened in the US on May 25 happens here in Australia ALL the time. For Indigenous people, this is our lived reality, and it is followed by silence. As a non-Aboriginal Australian, it is important for you to know that outrage for what has happened to George Floyd is legitimate. This is what we live with. We want you to stand with us. The behaviour that you walk past is the behaviour you accept – so ask yourself, is this the kind of country I want to live in?
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared history, culture and achievements, but the loudest voices during Reconciliation week have been those of our Indigenous brothers and sisters speaking out. A very few corporates have demonstrated unity. Our government has been silent.
What is happening in the US is not an isolated incident to that country alone. The very last words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe”, were also some of the last words repeated by Aboriginal man Mr Dungay who died in Long Bay Prison.
While all of this has overshadowed our Reconciliation Week here in Australia, at least it has shone a light on the fact that people of colour continue to face racism, discrimination and injustice, and that we still have a long way to go to overcome the history and past.
We all can do better.
As a fair skinned Aboriginal, I have been at the forefront of racism. Anita Heiss “Am I black enough for you” speaks volumes to how I am treated by society (as a generalisation). What saddens and hurts me more is when our own people judge us and try and tear us down. The tall poppy syndrome is alive and well. As my friend and colleague Kristal Kinsella-Christie says “it’s the crabs in a bucket syndrome, when the crabs at the bottom pull back the ones trying to escape.” What causes it? I do not know? Ignorance, jealousy, greed… all of the above?
Lateral violence can also be referred to as intra racial conflict. It is the use of destructive behaviours to have power and control or manipulate another person. It is also described as ‘internalised colonialism’ R Frankland and P Lewis, Presentation to Social Justice Unit staff, Australian Human Rights Commission, 14 March 2011.
Indigenous women experience multiple layers of discrimination, just like women from other marginalised groups, including those with disabilities, who are refugees or identify as LGBTQI. We are also extremely resilient.
Resilience is the courage to not let your mistakes or battles define your journey. Someone once put it to me, it’s falling down seven times but getting up eight. To me it’s being able to face a battle, remain professional, passionate and ethical whilst working at being an agent of change.
We need to start supporting each other. Collaborating rather than competing. Owning our cultural space and eliminating jealousy. Whilst fractured we cannot have a strong voice, but united we are unstoppable.
It is important to point out that lateral violence is not holding people accountable for breaching protocols or doing the wrong thing. That is in fact having the courage to call out poor behaviour and show that it is not accepted, because the behaviour you are willing to walk past, is the behaviour you are willing to accept.
Addressing lateral violence will require significant courage, goodwill and determination. But it will have a positive impact on the mental health of individuals and the associated impacts and pressures of their families and support systems.
As a multidimensional First Nations woman, I applaud and thank those who went before me and their fight for social justice and equal rights. Thank you for allowing me to stand on your shoulders. Thank you for the confidence to lean in, take a risk, ask for help and step up to the challenge. Thank you for your sacrifices.
And to my fellow First Nations brothers and sisters, let’s work together. Let’s unite. Let us support, guide and encourage one another for our own economic empowerment, self-determination and cultural acceptance.
Imagine if people practiced lateral kindness instead of lateral violence... how powerful would a unified voice be!
The 1944 Citizenship Act of WA caused further damage to identity, loss of culture and language. My great grandmother received her citizenship papers, before my great grandfather, who was denied because “the applicant has not dissolved native association and the full rights of citizenship are not like to be conducive to the welfare of the applicant”.
A O Neville (Chief Protector of Aborigines WA) had a vision to ‘breed out the Aboriginal blood’. Assimilation was a highly intensive process necessitating constant surveillance of people's lives, judged according to white man standards. Implicit in the assimilation policy was the idea that there was nothing of value in Aboriginal culture. Whilst you notice the change in colour of my 5-generation photo, I remind you that it doesn’t matter how much milk you put in a cup of tea, it is still tea!
Five generations of Jahna's Family
What is more alarming is that these practices occurred in my mother’s lifetime. The impacts of these discriminatory laws are seen today and will be seen for many generations to come. How can people who were removed from their parents and institutionalised, know how to show love to others, when they have been oppressed, abused and disconnected from culture and identity? Before you judge someone, get to know their story!
Generational trauma is a real thing. Asking Aboriginal people to ‘just get over it.. we have said sorry, move on…’ is ignorant and appalling. As an example, do we ask those who have suffered and endured hardships during the holocaust to get over it? Saying sorry is one thing, but hand on heart has the nation (as a whole) truly embraced its first nations people, or are similar practices still at play?
Whilst today's society are not responsible for the actions of the past, we as a nation have a responsibility to acknowledge what occurred and work together in healing, acceptance and unison. This is not an Aboriginal issue. It is not just Aboriginal history. This is the history of Australia and should be owned as such. One branch alone is weak, but together many branches are strong and cannot break.
Note – I have sought permission from my Grandmother, to share these images and truth.