Indigenous Reference Group takes to the Top End for first meeting

Indigenous economic development in northern Australia was the hot topic at the first formal meeting of the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) last week.

The group came together in Darwin on the 23rd and 24th February to discuss the challenges and opportunities that exist for Indigenous businesses and communities in Northern Australia.

Minister for Northern Australia David Littleproud, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt and Special Envoy for Northern Australia Susan McDonald, each welcomed the group and the wealth of experience each member brings.

Minister Littleproud said Indigenous business and community development is a key priority for the Morrison Joyce Government and highlighted the importance of the group's role in helping implement the Northern Australia Agenda including the Regions of Growth master planning process.

“The IRG reaffirms the Morrison Joyce Government’s commitment to inclusion and participation by Indigenous Australians in developing Northern Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.

“I want to acknowledge the significant body of existing work that has already been undertaken and the head start that this provides to the renewed IRG as they progress.”

Minister Wyatt said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up more than 14 per cent of the population of Northern Australia.

“It is essential that we consider how business in Northern Australia benefits Indigenous communities and vice versa. There are enormous opportunities for Australian industry to build and nurture much-needed skills right here at home and our Indigenous communities need the opportunities for wealth creation that brings,” Minister Wyatt said.

Senator McDonald said the Government is committed to encouraging job creation and improving social opportunities for Indigenous Northern Australians.

“Delivering jobs and opportunities is an important investment in our region and will benefit northern Australians for generations to come,” Senator McDonald said.

During the two-day meeting, members of the IRG met with representatives from the Office of Northern Australia, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, the Cooperative Centre for Research for Northern Australia and local stakeholders.

For more information on Regions of Growth and other investments in northern Australia, visit: Office of Northern Australia | Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Australian Government

Media Contact:

Douglas Ferguson 0455 448 985 (Minister Littleproud)
Marie Hogg 0431 299 518 (Minister Wyatt)