Economic development supports the growth of strong sustainable communities – it can result in better incomes for families and communities, address entrenched disadvantage and improve health and wellbeing. Financial security and prosperity also enhances self-esteem, which can be positive for families, improving family interaction and reducing social alienation.
Local councils can play an important role in building Aboriginal economic development in their communities. Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities, all levels of government, industry and NGOs, local councils can create opportunities for Aboriginal communities to thrive.
Aboriginal people can be major contributors to their local economies but often do not have the support and opportunity to make this a reality. Councils are in a unique position to support Aboriginal economic growth.
Business support and procurement
Aboriginal businesses not only build economic independence for Aboriginal people, they contribute economically and socially to the whole community. As major procurers of goods and services in their local areas, councils are well placed to support local Aboriginal businesses. Many councils continue to build the economic strength of their communities, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, through an Aboriginal procurement policy or procurement targets in their Reconciliation Action Plan. Aboriginal businesses are easily located via Supply Nation’s Indigenous Business Direct portal
Economic development and planning approvals
Local councils should take into account the potential for enhancing local Aboriginal economic development outcomes when zoning land and in the development approvals process
Aboriginal resource development
Councils are well placed to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and organisations to support the utilisation of Aboriginal resources. Examples include:
- Inclusion of days of significance for Aboriginal communities in the council events calendar, along with the identification of opportunities to celebrate Aboriginal community achievements and enhance the reconciliation process.
- Promotion of Aboriginal arts and cultural expression through council publications, art galleries and council facilities
- Development of Aboriginal sites of significance, and inclusion of local Aboriginal history in museums and other places of interest. Such strategies have huge potential to educate the community about important Aboriginal historical events and culture and offer great potential as tourist drawcards
- Support of Aboriginal business ventures through the provision of leadership and specialist advice
- Maximising the opportunity to secure funding to promote Aboriginal specific programs, either directly through council operations or through leadership and sponsorship.