A unique partnership with the University of Tasmania is hoping to boost engagement and business for Indigenous businesses in the state.
As part of its ongoing Northern Transformation Project, UTAS is establishing Futures Isle, a register of Indigenous businesses that can help with procurement and associated work for Inveresk and West Park.
However, the registry would provide an ongoing registry to help boost the participation of Indigenous businesses in future UTAS projects and nationally, through the national Supply Nation initiative.
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It will identify Indigenous-owned enterprises to promote opportunities available to them, including construction to supplies and services.
Launceston-based pro-vice-chancellor Dom Geraghty said the initiative aligned with UTAS’ strategic direction as “a university for Tasmania” and would increase engagement with Indigenous people.
Greg Murray, who is an Indigenous Tasmanian, and is working as a consultant for the initiative, said it had great potential to benefit the community in a variety of ways.
“I think this is a great thing given our current restrictions with job opportunities that would normally be there but aren’t,” he said.
“It creates more business; therefore, more job opportunities and hopefully, growth for these small businesses, so it will give them more hope for the future if there is a register like this.”
Mr Murray has his own tourism business and said it had been hit hard by COVID restrictions, but a register like this could help open new doors for him, through collaboration with UTAS.
UTAS is aiming to achieve a 3 per cent employment and procurement target as part of its commitment to improving diversity.
Professor Geraghty said the business register would identify and promote Indigenous enterprises and expertise. It will also ensure the Northern Transformation Project is genuinely equitable and accessible.
“The campus relocation poses an important opportunity to benefit the Tasmanian community through the construction phase economically,” he said.
The initiative is presented as part of the Northern Transformation Project but is part of a commitment in the Launceston City Deal.
Under the initiative, Indigenous contractors could work alongside firms who are already working on the campus redevelopment.
One of those firms is Vos Construction, which was awarded the tender for the library and student services building at Inveresk.
Vos Northern Tasmania construction manager Brent Wilcox said the register would help increase diversity in the industry.
“It will be a good opportunity to get these smaller businesses into our space and give them that opportunity to work with us,” he said.
“An initiative like this helps the industry as a whole because it broadens the skills, experience and expertise available.”
To be part of the Tasmanian register, businesses or enterprises need to contact Futures Isle – [email protected] or 0406 763 933.