The focus of the AED program is on Aboriginal businesses across multiple industries, including those listed below.
Local content and procurement
AED works to unlock job opportunities for Aboriginal people and build capacity in Aboriginal businesses through primary industries and strategic regional projects.
Three Aboriginal businesses have been engaged to replace 88km of the State Barrier Fence as part of the State Barrier Fence Aboriginal Engagement Project. Meanwhile, the development of an Aboriginal contractor panel is being finalised and, will be engaged over the next 2-3 years.
The State Government introduced the Aboriginal Procurement Policy in July 2018. Government departments are required to award contracts to registered Aboriginal businesses, consistent with an increased target of 3%. Aboriginal businesses can contact the Aboriginal Procurement Advisory Service for assistance to access procurement opportunities across the State.
To achieve this aim, AED works with Local Content Advisors from the nine Regional Development Commissions throughout the State to maximise local supplier, contractor and job opportunities in the regions, in line with DPIRDs Local Content Initiative. AED also directly employs Aboriginal businesses, such as Aboriginal consultants and facilitators, where possible, and assists other departments and programs to increase their local content.
AED provides a client-focused agricultural enterprise support service, engaged only on the invitation of Western Australia's Aboriginal landholders. The service supports Aboriginal agricultural businesses in completing work that better places them for commercial industry investment, such as the implementation of business management plans. This collaboration allows industry to invest in new areas and creates market entry point opportunities for Aboriginal agricultural businesses.
Pastoral lands divestment
The AED program continues to support the Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) under the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, to divest Aboriginal lands. AED played a critical role in supporting the ALT to complete an Australia-wide expression of interest process for Lake Gregory Pastoral Station, resulting in a sublease to Yougawalla Station. As a result this agreement, Yougawalla has committed to providing jobs and a training package for the local Mulan community. In addition, Yougawalla will make a $2 million infrastructure investment in Lake Gregory Station, including 10 catchment dams and $240 000 of new fencing. Yougawalla will make payments over 20 years, totalling $6.5 million, for the sublease. These funds will be held by ALT for use on Lake Gregory Pastoral Station and the local community until the land is divested.
Bushfoods and products
The demand for native Australian plants, for use in food, botanicals and numerous other products, is exceeding supply. In 2019, the Australian bushfoods industry was valued at $21.5 million at the farmgate, however, it is estimated that less than 15 per cent of Australian native food producers are Aboriginal enterprises.
AED supports Aboriginal landholders in the production and commercialisation of native Australian products, such as boronia flowers, sandalwood nuts, kulyu and youlk. AED clients are able to implement regenerative agricultural practices in the production of these plants, enabling them to improve the condition of their land and target niche markets. For example, the Noongar Land Enterprises Group, an Aboriginal producer group in the South West, is utilising sandalwood trees to simultaneously regenerate their properties and diversify incomes.
Aquaculture and fisheries
AED is exploring opportunities for economic development in aquaculture and fisheries across the Sstate.