There are many opportunities for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples when it comes to employment; education; business; and service delivery. The current environment of Opportunity consists of State and Federal Government strategies and policies; Corporate Social Responsibility Commitments; Reconciliation Action Plans; and Native Title Agreements.

But, do these opportunities get spread across the population. Do we all get a piece of the Opportunity Pie? What are Governments and Corporate Businesses doing for the little guys. If I speak to people in my community, I get told that this business or service provider gets preference in this space and another business or service provider gets preference in that space. The only preference models I can support or accept are those services that (1) are performed best by Aboriginal organisations, and I mean not for profits, not businesses; OR (2) are achieving successful outcomes in their space.

Speaking Events
So, are there monopolies in Indigenous Affairs? What is the point of the Opportunities going to one or two people in a for profit business, when it can be spread across communities. I don’t like for profit businesses creeping into our communities to snap up those Government contracts that are best delivered locally by local people through employment; training; and social investments. When it comes to Aboriginal health services, why aren’t the 30 year + Aboriginal Medical Services being supported? Why do we, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, have to compete with “for profit” businesses to win Government contracts. Do these businesses have the data that we have? Do they provide the holistic care that we do? Do they achieve the successful outcomes that are expected by us – the tax payers?

To avoid monopolosation and the “for profit” sector imposing themselves; their expectations; and their world views on our communities, we need protections in place that guarantees our local not for profit Aboriginal organisations continue to operate as service providers AND that local Aboriginal businesses in each region, are not overlooked in favour of bigger businesses that seem to get all of the contracts.

Jolleen Hicks

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One of the most important National Strategies is the National Closing the Gap Strategy that seeks to address the inequalties that exist within Australia between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.