Aboriginal businesses looking to access government procurement opportunities attended the 2024 ‘Gather and Grow’ information and networking session in Gunnedah on Tuesday.

Held at Gunnedah Town Hall, the event brought together NSW government buyers, Aboriginal businesses, non-Aboriginal businesses, support services, and prospective job seekers, all aimed at fostering the growth of Aboriginal businesses.

It was one of seven ‘Gather and Grow’ sessions being held across the state by NSW Treasury and Regional NSW in support of the government’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy (APP).

This policy targets one per cent of government procurement spend to be with Aboriginal businesses and three per cent of goods and services contracts from government agencies to be awarded to Aboriginal businesses – valued at more than $260 million this financial year.

NSW Treasury senior policy officer Frankie Timar said about 70 people from throughout the North West region took part in the Gunnedah event.

“We’re trying to get everyone in the one room to grow the supply chain for government,” she said.

Ms Timar said established businesses can lead to greater self determination for First Nations people.

“So it’s really important we do our part to support where we can with business growth,” she said.

Questions from participants attending the Gunnedah event included inquiries about accountability for government, what the options are for Aboriginal businesses and best points of contact for assistance with aspects like capability statements and tender support.

Ms Timar said while NSW Treasury developed the policy, each government is responsible for its procurement activities.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, the APP targets of $166 million and 213 goods and services contracts were exceeded with $354.2 million spent, and 619 contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses.

In addition to Gunnedah, this year’s ‘Gather and Grow’ events are also being held in Dubbo, Queanbeyan, Nowra, Wagga Wagga, Lismore and Maitland. In previous years, events have also been held in Tamworth and Moree.

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