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Business envoy November 2021

Indigenous trade and investment

National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation

The National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation (The National Roadmap) will provide a long-term commitment and organising framework to implement actions that increase economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians. It will ensure Indigenous Australians contribute to the economic recovery and longer-term nation building.

It will be organised around three domains: Skills, Jobs and Business, and identify priority actions across short (1-2 years), medium (3-5 years) and long-term (5-10 year) timeframe.

My vision for the National Roadmap is a set of agreed immediate and long-term actions delivered by the Commonwealth, and state and territory governments by working hand in glove with the private sector and unions to advance Indigenous jobs and wealth. 

The Hon Ken Wyatt,

Minister for Indigenous Australians

The National Roadmap will focus on connecting Indigenous Australians to opportunities in a range of industries including the:

  • Primary sector – agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and resources and energy.
  • Manufacturing sector - linked to our comparative advantages in the primary sector, space and defence industries, and niche high-value activities such as medical products.
  • Services sector - local services such as education and health, construction, land, water and sea management, and higher value knowledge-intensive professional services.

A range of enabling factors will be covered, including employment services, skills and training arrangements, capital access for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and the commercial activities of Indigenous rights and interests to achieve locally driven economic development. The National Roadmap will have a strong focus on ensuring mainstream consideration of Indigenous interests and perspectives.

This will be based on a partnership between governments, industry, and Indigenous Australians, and will complement the implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Industry roundtables

The National roadmap will be shaped through a series of Industry roundtables, with the first launched by the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Indigenous Australians Minister on 24 August 2021.

Held throughout August and September 2021, the roundtables brought together Indigenous representative bodies and entrepreneurs, business chambers and big business, employee groups, tertiary education and service providers and respective Commonwealth departments and agencies. The conversations at these roundtables were guided by a Discussion Paper which provides evidence and analysis to inform the development of the National Roadmap. Concurrently, a small group of Industry Champions – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – are working closely with Minister Wyatt to support the National Roadmap's development.

Industry Champions involved in the roundtable launch were:

  • Ms Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia
  • Ms Tania Constable PSM, Chief Executive of the Minerals Council of Australia
  • Dr Brendan Nelson, President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific
  • Ms Lara Watson, Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Ms Jenny Lambert, Employment and Skills Director, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Mr Adam Boyton, National Skills Commissioner
  • Mr Darren Godwell, CEO i2i Global
  • Ms Mikaela Jade, Founder and CEO Indigitel
  • Mr Shane Fields, Managing Director of Fields Group
  • Mr Neville Power, Chairman of Perth Airport
  • Mr Tom Harley, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Swans
  • Ms Carolyn McCann, Group Executive at Westpac
  • Ms Jo Boundy, Chief Marketing Officer of Qantas Group
  • Mr Jeff Maguire, Group Head of CDS Implementation at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Australia
  • Ms Kate Carnell, Former Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman


Discussion Paper: Increasing economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians

For more information, email

Unlocking the potential of Australia's Indigenous SME's

DFAT commissioned Indigenous company i2i Global to survey the Australian Indigenous business sector to develop a data driven picture of export and investment activities and identify opportunities that will further its potential.

This research has been boosted by the engagement of the Indigenous Network for Investment, Trade and Export (IGNITE), Indigenous chambers of commerce, Indigenous Trade representatives and almost 100 Indigenous companies.

The research will inform policy to support innovative Indigenous start-ups in accessing international investment and boost their participation in international markets in conjunction with the Indigenous Network for Investment, Trade and Export (IGNITE), under the department's Indigenous Diplomacy Agenda and the Services Exports Action Plan.

Indigenous women leading in Indigenous exports

When Master Chef featured Indigenous ingredients, they turned to legend of the Indigenous foods sector Mrs Rayleen Brown to guide contestants. Mrs Brown is an Alice Springs-based pioneer in the revival of Indigenous foods and, according to DFAT research into the Indigenous sector, is part of a larger set of Indigenous women business leaders looking for export opportunities to grow their companies.

According to initial data from the survey, Indigenous companies seeking export opportunities to stimulate business growth are more likely to be owned and led by Indigenous women. An encouraging finding from the research found that 54 per cent of the Indigenous companies responding to the survey identified that they were owned by an Indigenous woman.

Indigenous businesses looking to export opportunities for growth

Indigenous companies are heading offshore. Early findings reveal a cohort of Indigenous companies actively orientating themselves to new markets in search of export opportunities.

In addition to a sub-set of Indigenous companies already exporting, an additional cohort of companies have set their sights on accessing new markets and export opportunities. This outward facing set of companies will provide both leadership and an industry basis for supporting Indigenous outcomes through trade and investment.

It's an exciting new chapter that is being written by today's Indigenous companies in a revival of ancient Indigenous practices of international trade and commerce.

The full report and data will prove an evidence base for informing policies that support Indigenous inclusivity in international trade. The full report is due for publication in November 2021.

Making a difference where it matters - Indigenous exporters from remote and regional economies.

The research has found that most Indigenous exporters are in regional and remote Australia. This is encouraging in the context of Indigenous Australian development outcomes led by Indigenous companies as exporters.

The implication is that there is a direct correlation between the economic growth of these companies and the benefits for respective Indigenous communities and stakeholders, such as job creation for Indigenous Australians and investment in community infrastructure. It's a direct line from export markets to Indigenous communities.

Our company acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to Traditional Owners and their cultures, to the Elders past and present, and emerging leaders.

News from the Territory

Darwin and Denpasar: Tourism and creative economy cooperation to drive economic recovery

On 28 June, Darwin Mayor, The Hon. Kon Vatskalis signed a Letter of Intent with Denpasar Mayor, I.G.N Jaya Negara to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding to increase economic cooperation across tourism and the creative economy in 2022. The initiative falls under the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and will also focus on training and certification of Balinese workers to address labour shortages in Northern Territory's agriculture and tourism sectors. This will build on the already strong people-to-people ties between Darwin and Denpasar and assist with COVID economic recovery. Darwin and Denpasar aim to become sister cities by July 2022.

Darwin: Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards

Presented by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Telstra, the annual Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA) in Darwin is Australia's longest running Indigenous art award.

This exhibition features a wide breadth of artistic practice celebrating identity, Country, and stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from around Australia.

Responding to the challenges of COVID-19 by harnessing digital technology, the 65 artworks by this year's winners and finalists can be viewed from anywhere in the world via MAGNT's Virtual Gallery.

Vote for your favourite artist in the 2021 Telstra People's Choice Award and connect via

I'm painting Lake Baker. It's a sacred place. It's got a big story, but I can't tell all of it, milmiilpa (highly sacred), only the front part. I'm happy for this prize and that people see this work is important.

Timo Hogan

2021 Telstra Art Award Winner

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