Why is this important?

Councils are major consumers in local economies, especially in rural and regional areas.

They can play a greater role in supporting Aboriginal economic development by purchasing goods and services from Aboriginal owned and run businesses. A business relationship can benefit council, the Aboriginal business and the local community.

It is also important for Councils to be aware of Commonwealth and State Government Aboriginal Procurement policies and strategies to ensure the benefits of these initiatives are extended to Aboriginal businesses across all Victorian local government areas.

Commonwealth and State Government Aboriginal Procurement policies and strategies

Tharamba Bugheen Victorian Aboriginal Business Strategy 2017-2021

Victorian Social Procurement Framework April 2018

Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Strategy


What can your council do?

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) reports many Victorian councils are looking at how their procurement processes can be applied strategically to address and stimulate Aboriginal entrepreneurship, business development and employment by providing Aboriginal businesses with more opportunities to participate in the economy.

The Victorian Aboriginal and Local Government Action Plan outlines a range of important strategies to support Aboriginal Victorians and local councils to improve outcomes for their communities through their roles as employers, service providers, planning authorities and asset managers.

Economic participation and development have been identified as a high priority by Aboriginal communities around Victoria in recognition of the role economic participation has in building self-esteem, independence, and positive role models.

The flow-on benefits of increased economic participation in terms of health and social wellbeing are also significant. Strong and genuine partnerships between councils and Aboriginal and Traditional Owner groups can deliver employment and business participation opportunities. 

The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 64% of councils have to varying levels procured some goods or services from Aboriginal  businesses. The services includes performance, heritage services, catering and land management.

Procurement chart

Good Practice Example

The City of Melbourne has developed an Aboriginal Procurement Strategy to help Aboriginal businesses supply their services to council. The City of Melbourne has set a target of 0.9 percent of its annual budget ($2.25 million) over three years. To commence and promote this strategy the City of Melbourne delivered an Aboriginal Supplier Expo in partnership with Supply Nation. The expo showcased a wide variety of service providers, from Aboriginal recruitment and catering to horticulture and construction. Open to all City of Melbourne employees, the expo was an opportunity for staff to meet Aboriginal service providers and better understand how they might procure goods and services from them. The City of Melbourne also participates in the Jawun Secondment Program, which connects council employees with the Aboriginal community across Australia through a six-week secondment program. Now in its second year, four City of Melbourne staff participate in the program each year.


Last Updated: April 9, 2021 at 3:16 pm

An Indigenous business is any business that is 50% or more Indigenous owned

Useful links

Need to find a local Aboriginal supplier?

Victorian Aboriginal Business Directory

Supply Nation – national supplier diversity membership network 

Black Pages, National Indigenous Business Portal

Procure for Good

Kinaway Chamber of Commerce



Beyond Value for Money: Social Procurement for Victorian Local Government (MAV)

Addressing the Indigenous Procurement policy in Government tenders

Indigenous Business Fact sheet 


Case study

When Nillumbik Shire Council
contracted an emerging Aboriginal
artist Judy Nicholson to create
artwork and carvings for the Panton
Hill Bushland Reserves and facilitate
cultural events, they also provided
support to assist the artist to comply
with OH&S, contractual and insurance
requirements, and sponsorship to
develop artwork and facilitation skills.
This helped the artist to expand her
artwork and profile, and also enabled
positive and valuable cross cultural
experiences for the community
attending events.

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