Indigenous engagement 

Ky-Ya Nicholson Artwork

Empowering Indigenous Communities

The Business Council of Australia is deeply committed to the social, cultural and economic empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The BCA recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of Australia. Theirs is a history, a peoples, cultures, and legacy 60,000 years in the making, that today remains vibrant and strong.

Constitutional Recognition an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament

The BCA reaffirms a long-held position of support to recognise Indigenous Australians in Australia’s Constitution and a Voice to Parliament.

The BCA believes the Voice is the right mechanism to give Indigenous Australians a stronger say on legislation, policy and programs that directly impact their communities and their lives.

The business community is an integral and critical part of the community, and we believe the Voice will help amplify the views of Indigenous communities, ensuring they are heard.

Advancing Indigenous Opportunity

BCA members are proactively helping to drive economic and cultural empowerment by supporting Indigenous businesses to expand, innovate, hire more workers and create vibrant ecosystems in their communities.

Read more about the BCA’s Advancing Indigenous Opportunity Framework here.

Best Practice Guide

The BCA has conducted an Indigenous Engagement Survey of its members on a biennial basis since 2009. The survey has enabled the collection of robust and quantifiable evidence over time which demonstrates the progress in achieving a range of objectives regarding Indigenous engagement activities, Indigenous employment and Indigenous procurement strategies. The survey reveals a common recipe for success and a suite of practices that can be adapted and customised.

The most recent survey was conducted in August-November 2021. Findings from the survey are featured in the Indigenous Good Practice Guide. 

Alongside the Guide we also produced a database of Indigenous organisations that our members regularly engage with.

Raising the Bar program

We have developed a strategy across business that focuses on Indigenous employment, and economic and cultural empowerment.

This includes our landmark Raising the Bar initiative which aims to see BCA members steadily increase their procurement spending with Indigenous suppliers.

The program is voluntary and open to all BCA members.

It is a positive and practical on-the-ground way of supporting Indigenous businesses to expand, innovate, hire more workers and create important ecosystems in their communities.

We are on track to reach and exceed our target of $3 billion in cumulative influenceable spend on procurement from Indigenous businesses by 2023/24.

With new and emerging opportunities to develop and support the Indigenous supply chain, we have expanded the membership and recast for an ambitious vision.

The Raising the Bar Playbook is designed to support members as they help drive investment, strengthen relationships between the business community and Indigenous Australians, and ensure access to demand led training, employment and business opportunities.

BCA members have worked with us to develop a new Raising the Bar Playbook which is designed to make it easier and clearer to report on member activity to support the growth of Indigenous businesses.

Read the Raising the Bar Playbook here.

Indigenous Women and Economic Advancement

Our economic growth, competitive advantage, and future prosperity rests on our capacity to address workforce participation issues. Increasing the workforce participation of women is one of our nation’s biggest economic and social opportunities. Equally, ensuring we are maximising our talent and empowering women to advance in the workforce will be central to our nation’s success.

Closing the Gap in Indigenous employment will require a seismic shift. As we work towards Closing the Gap across a range of indicators, it is critical that we ensure focus on closing the gap for Indigenous women and draw out relevant data.

Equally, it is important to move to the language of aspiration, ambition, wealth creation and prosperity in all elements of Indigenous Affairs. This goes beyond simply ‘closing the gap’ and extends the goal to enable all First Nations people to achieve their full potential.

The BCA has recently released a Women's Economic Framework that includes specific policy recommendations to support Indigenous women.

The report can be found here.

Read more here.

Raising the Bar Playbook cover