We all know the long-running concern about ‘black cladding’ is increasing because of policies like the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) which is providing opportunistic companies/individuals an opportunity and an unfair advantage to win large government since the Government has committed 3% of government contracts for ‘Indigenous businesses’, but despiting hitting $2 billion worth of Commonwealth Government contracts since its introduction in July 2015 people are still asking questions like – is it really an Indigenous business? What are the outcomes? Who is winning the contracts?

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably thinking it should be a pretty easy fix for the Government – just get the prospective companies to provide further information to work out who really owns it or if it’s just a shell company, the social impact/outcomes and history of the ‘Indigenous business’. For example, the history of the company would provide invaluable insights into what the ‘Indigenous business’ has done in their community and Indigenous communities they have worked in….if they haven’t got a history of giving back and helping their own community then why would anyone believe they’ll genuinely help Indigenous mob once they win a massive government contract!?

However, Governments/politicians (like the current PM and climate change) have truely mastered deflecting the concerns of the community, and continue to hail the policy as a massive success that has given $2 billion worth of Commonwealth Government contracts to Indigenous businesses since its introduction… instead of answering the questions like – did the $2 billion go to real Indigenous businesses?

Don’t get me wrong, joint ventures can be a positive strategy in business but with some organisations/entrepreneurs taking advantage of the IPP (a social procurement policy, not a get rich scheme) can the Government do more to help close the disparity gap through this policy e.g. invest in Indigenous businesses to build their capability so they don’t need to partner with a non-Indigenous business to win Government contracts?

About the author:

Dean Foley

Founder & CEO, Barayamal
Dean served five years in the Royal Australian Air Force before founding Australia’s first Indigenous Accelerator, Barayamal – now known as a world leader in First Nations Entrepreneurship.

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