Message from the Minister
Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
The Victorian Government is working closely with the Aboriginal community to drive self-determination, progress the Treaty process in partnership with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, and create generational change and better outcomes for all Aboriginal Victorians.
The 2019-20 year has seen a significant increase of 35% in the number of Aboriginal businesses and organisations engaged, and a 176% increase in the purchase of goods, services and construction from Aboriginal businesses.
For too long, systemic and structural barriers and inequality has meant Aboriginal people have not had equal opportunities available to other Victorians. Our social procurement policies are a powerful tool to redress this injustice.
Through the Social Procurement Framework, the Government is connecting government buyers with Victorian Aboriginal businesses, providing Aboriginal Victorians with greater economic opportunities, which is critical to enabling self-determination.
In the 12 months from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, Victorian government departments and core agencies directly spent:
- $36.9 million with 90 verified Victorian Aboriginal businesses
- $9.3 million with 37 other Aboriginal organisations
Compared to 2018/191:
- 176% increase total expenditure
- 35% increase business engaged
Nearly $1.5 million with Victorian Aboriginal businesses through state purchase contracts2.
To date5, across the major road6 and rail projects:
- a total of $124.5 million has been spent indirectly through contractors with Victorian Aboriginal businesses
- has recorded 1,150,204 total Aboriginal employment hours
All projects8 have a target of 2.5% Aboriginal employment hours as a proportion of total hours. 11 of the 20 relevant projects had met or exceeded this target as at 30 June 2020, the remaining projects are still in progress. This target is a point-in-time target, based on actual hours worked.
is the peak Aboriginal organisation supporting Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners and entrepreneurs. Since its official launch in October 2018, the number of certified businesses listed on its directory has increased from 15 in September 2018 to 195 businesses by 30 June 2020.
In 2019-20 the major road and rail projects recorded 573,315 Aboriginal employment hours, comprised of:
- Level Crossing Removal Project 99,354
- Major Road Projects Victoria 43,904
- North East Link Project 844
- Rail Projects Victoria 193,643
- West Gate Tunnel Project 235,572
1. This comparison includes only limited State Purchase Contracts data.
2. Due to system and reporting limitations, not all spend across all state purchase contracts categories may be included in this total.
5. Reporting commenced in 2016 and includes data up to 30 June 2020.
6. Please note in relation to all references throughout the document to the Major Roads Projects Victoria projects, not all data was available.
7. This figure may include spend with Aboriginal organisations that do not meet the current definition of Victorian Aboriginal Businesses in the Framework.
8. With the exception of former VicRoads projects that transferred to Major Road Projects Victoria.
'The Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business sector has grown substantially in the past 12 months on the back of the Social Procurement Framework. This is only the beginning – as business capabilities and capacities increase, so will the opportunity for larger and long-term contracts that will provide the economic benefits to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and people.'
Chief Executive Officer
Kinaway Chamber of Commerce
Supporting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response
Aboriginal businesses have risen to the challenge of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to support Victoria’s coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.
Together, they contributed to the provision of $1.1 million of PPE to our first responders. Together, they helped to provide our first responders with $1.1 million of PPE, often meeting demands with only 24-hours’ notice, all while complying with the Victorian Government Purchasing Board's critical incidents requirements under the declared State of Emergency.
The recipient agencies included Victoria Police, our fire services, Victoria State Emergency Service, Life Saving Victoria, Ambulance Victoria and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.
This important but often thankless work was undertaken during a particularly challenging time, with disruptions to normal supply chains and low levels of available stock.
The process has also given these businesses the chance to demonstrate their capability and value, and to build trusting relationships within government – unlocking greater opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians now and in the future.
Victorian Aboriginal people providing traditional knowledge to build new landscapes
Across Victoria, government buyers are collaborating with Victorian Aboriginal businesses and businesses employing Victorian Aboriginal people to benefit from a full range of services, including professional services.
VEC Civil Engineering won the contract to undertake the design and construction of , which allowed them to recruit and train Aboriginal workers and provide more than 5,370 hours on the project for Aboriginal people.
The work includes an Indigenous landscaping scheme, with a mixture of native plants, grasses, shrubs and trees, including river red gums, that reflect the site’s cultural significance.
The project has become a prominent town feature – a community space for everyone to enjoy and explore.
The ‘Yarning Circle’ incorporates Indigenous plants and native vegetation, as well as cultural artwork significant to the Dja Dja Wurrung tradition.
Orana Commercial Relocations relocates Bendigo Kangan Institute to its new offices
In July 2018, Charlie Maynard, a proud Bunurong man with descendants from the Ben Lomond mob in Tasmania, and Jason Baird started Orana Commercial Relocations, with the aim to ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and help break the cycle of unemployment.
Orana is an Aboriginal-owned business that provides sustainable employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, as well as mentoring, training and pathways to upskill Aboriginal people from entry level to professional roles.
For Charlie, co-founding Orana was a significant milestone on a journey in the industry that had begun when he was sixteen. It started when Charlie was living in a hostel and was offered the opportunity to work with his uncle Greg on a furniture removal truck. From there, he worked his way through the industry, progressing to national and international removals. Now he and Jason work together from their Dandenong South head office, managing operations across Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
Recently engaged Orana to provide office relocation services during the Bendigo City Campus Revitalisation. This project alone resulted in the employment of 36 Victorian Aboriginal people, with 30 of these staff employed from the Bendigo region, and six from Melbourne.
One of the staff to benefit from Orana’s mentoring and skills development programs is Bowden Gwin, a proud Aboriginal man from the Narrungga tribe. Bowden says:
'I’ve been working for Orana for the last two years and it has been a great opportunity, working six days a week learning and progressing in the removalist world and becoming a great leader with the leadership roles as crew leader. Charlie and Jason have done such a wonderful job trying to get us younger indigenous men into the work force and I can only see it getting better.'
Together with a significant relocation project for (which included pre-move activities, packing, storage, technology fit-out and relocation services for 450 staff to 80 Collins St, Melbourne) and staff relocation services for 35 staff and ongoing concierge services, government buyers have greatly benefited from the depth and breadth of services offered by Orana.
Moogji, an Aboriginal Health Organisation Creating a Healthy Ecosystem
While predominantly a health organisation, Moogji has also established an environmental works team, which has become a major part of their economic development.
Gerrbik Laundry Services supplying dry cleaning services to a Melbourne icon
For Gerrbik Laundry Services, Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned and operated commercial laundry, winning the contract meant it could expand its business and provide more employment opportunities.
'Our staff are our extended family. That’s where Gerrbik derives from – it means family in the Taungurung tongue, which our mob belongs to.'
Gerrbik Laundry Services.
Reviewed 10 December 2020