Ochre’s position on the Preferred Suppliers Panel for these services has occurred due to the recently implemented Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP). This Policy has been designed to stimulate the Indigenous business sector by way of contract spend targets that all Federal Agencies are now Legislated to meet.
The much needed Policy for this small but very important sector was a key recommendation that came out of the Mr Andrew Forrest report ‘Ending Disparity’. It has been well documented that Indigenous businesses employ more Indigenous people than any other sector, so it makes perfect sense to stimulate the sector that will in turn employ more Indigenous people, taking them off the welfare cycle to become valued and contributing members of modern day society. This is the reason I am excited to be in a position to make this recommendation a reality and to create the outcomes Mr Forrest hoped to see.
Five and a half years ago, I started Ochre with nothing but a desire to create job opportunities for Indigenous people. Before any such policies were even a thought, without being a funded business, without a kick-start from a Native Title Business Development Fund, without any help from anyone, I naively jumped into one of the hardest, most challenging, complicated, competitive and political Industries I have come to know. Luckily, I was born with a natural drive and a passion to create my own little bit of positive change that saw me barge through, jump over, run around or crawl under the many brick walls that were meant to be on the path. Each one of those brick walls gave me knowledge no text book could provide, a resolve any combat soldier would find handy, increased Ochre’s capacity, extended Ochre’s capability, grew Ochre’s service offerings and all of which has brought Ochre to arguably the biggest opportunity that could ever be provided to most businesses in the country.
Whilst the ATO has been instrumental in spearheading this new policy by propelling at break neck speed towards their targets, eg they have gone from a $10,000 spend 3 years ago to now between 16 and 17 million dollars this financial year provided to Indigenous businesses (that in itself deserves a standing ovation), they are also innovative in their approach to assisting their fellow Agencies embrace this new Policy.
The ATO has two other confirmed large Agencies that will ‘piggybank’ off the contracts in place to access the panel Ochre now sits on and are in discussions with all other Departments to do the same, this will eliminate the need to duplicate Contracts and Panels but will provide the same access to the Panel of Preferred Indigenous labour hire providers now in place. Think about that for a minute! One relatively small Panel of Preferred Indigenous businesses possibly providing the 17 Federal Government Departments with their services. What a truly exciting time it is to be an Indigenous businesswoman.
Thank you Mr Andrew Forrest!