Indigenous businesses in regional Queensland will now have more access to specialist business advice and support as part of a new joint project funded by the Australian and Queensland governments.
The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, and the Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development, Andrew Fraser, today announced the appointment of nine Indigenous Economic Development Officers to help Indigenous Queenslanders get their business ideas up and running.
The Rudd and Bligh governments are providing $2.8 million in funding and in-kind assistance towards the project over the next two years.
The officers will be located in Cairns, Townsville, Mt Isa, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Caboolture and Ipswich.
Mr O’Connor said the officers would work with existing and new Indigenous business operators to provide advice and mentoring to help establish or grow their operations.
“The start-up phase for small businesses is often the most difficult to navigate. The new Economic Development Officers will work with Indigenous Australians to ensure they have access to advice and support to help them get established,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Indigenous owned and operated businesses are an important link to improving employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians and by providing support and advice, the Australian and Queensland governments hope to increase the number of Indigenous owned and run businesses.”
Mr Fraser said the economic development officers would host a series of business workshops in their regions.
“This new business support network will help boost economic development, business skills and financial literacy skills of Indigenous Australians,” Mr Fraser said.
“The officers will be on the ground in each of the nine regions to work with Indigenous businesses over the next two years.”
Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian and state and territory governments are committed to halving the employment gap including in the area of employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.