Economic development

Why is this important?

Local governments have an important role to play in supporting and stimulating the local economy.

Many councils create economic development strategies for their municipality or in conjunction with bordering councils. These strategies support business and encourage the development of local expertise by promoting industrial clusters, supporting development of mixed use precincts and providing supporting infrastructure. A number of councils also work actively through local traders, markets and main street programs.

In Victoria there were 900 Aboriginal owner-managed enterprises in 2011, including self-employed people, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. These businesses operate in a diverse range of industries, ranging from construction, consulting services, agriculture and transport to manufacturing (Read the Victorian Aboriginal Economic Strategy).

Councils are in a position to support Aboriginal businesses to take advantage of the benefits of local, regional and the globalising economy. A business relationship can benefit council, the Aboriginal business and the broader community.

Closing the Gap, Success factors for Indigenous entrepreneurs and community based social enterprises


What can your council do?

Councils can actively involve Aboriginal people and businesses in the development of local or regional economic strategies.

Councils can also commission existing Aboriginal organisations and businesses to deliver required services (see ‘Aboriginal Procurement’). Councils can also support the incubation of Aboriginal businesses.

Councils can also extend support to Aboriginal organisations seeking to attract funding to grow their businesses (e.g. via Regional Management Forums).

The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that some councils were working to increase local Aboriginal economic participation through:

  • Procurement of Aboriginal goods and services
  • Formal support for Aboriginal economic development
  • Involving local Aboriginal businesses in business networks
  • Involvement in Aboriginal tourism activities.


Last Updated: August 1, 2019 at 12:11 pm