Aboriginal Economic Development - our program of work

Page last updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2023 - 3:40pm

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPRID) Aboriginal Economic Development (AED) Program is designed to facilitate sustainable and lasting increases to Aboriginal economic participation.

The AED program of work is focused on opportunity areas within WA’s land and sea-based primary industries, regions and Whole-of-Government initiatives that can grow Aboriginal business, workforce, wealth and economic empowerment. 

AED projects offer a broad suite of tailored supports that are designed to unlock and activate these opportunities.

DPIRD's Aboriginal Economic Development (AED) program of work has been designed around the objectives of growing Aboriginal business, increasing Aboriginal employment, and facilitating opportunities for wealth creation and economic empowerment. Each area of work is aimed at unlocking and activating opportunities within WA's primary industries and regions that will lead to lasting improvements to Aboriginal outcomes. 

The program is delivered through projects and a range of pre-designed tailored initiatives that are built on relationships and delivered in partnership. Each is a unique combination of supports, focused on capacity building. Supports are tailored to Aboriginal aspirations, their traditions and culture, and the support needed to grow Aboriginal businesses, careers and wealth that is sustainable.

Growing Aboriginal business

Group of Aboriginal people working on the State Barrier Fence

AED projects can help Aboriginal people establish new businesses, and enable existing Aboriginal entities to expand, diversify, win procurement contracts, increase profitability, and attract commercial investment.

WA currently has the second lowest level of Aboriginal business ownership in Australia (2021 Census). The AED program recognises that a flourishing Aboriginal business sector is an unrealised source of economic growth for WA's broader economy. Analysis shows that for every additional percentage of increased Aboriginal participation, $300 million is added to the State economy.

At the core of every project is capacity building supports that are focused on the strong governance, leadership, planning and financial management skills needed to create stable and sustainable entities. The program supports a range of business related entities, including both small and large scale regional businesses, large-scale primary industry enterprises, Aboriginal corporations, and Aboriginal owned and operated service providers.

What we do

  • Work directly with Aboriginal pastoral, farming and fisheries enterprises to improve management and profitability, which may require engagement of professional services and the negotiation of partnerships.  
  • Facilitate and coordinate delivery of business development support services, such as mentoring, coaching, training and grants.
  • Engage service providers to build the capacity of Aboriginal people and businesses to win Government tenders, and access the Local Content Initiative (buy close to home).  
  • Unlock and activate opportunites in emerging land and sea-based primary industries that are suited to Aboriginal knowledge and expertise and their desire to work on-Country. 
  • Provide 'Setting up for Success' guides and fact sheets to support Aboriginal involvement in emerging primary industries through new businesses, and the expansion and diversification of existing businesses. The focus is on industries such as carbon, sandalwood, bushfoods, regenerative agriculture, commercial fishing, and native seeds.