$21 million expansion of Indigenous microfinance support

Release Date: 
11 October 2018
Media release
  • The Coalition Government is investing $21 million to expand microbusiness support and microfinance services into regional and remote Australia.
  • 40 regional and remote communities will receive microbusiness support and microfinance loans.

The Coalition Government is ramping up access to microbusiness support and microfinance loans for Indigenous Australians in 40 regional and remote Australia through a $21 million investment, as part of a drive to stimulate economic development in historically disadvantaged communities.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion announced the new investment as part of Indigenous Business Month celebrations in Laura (Queensland) and hosted by Ang Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, one of the local Indigenous organisations partnering with Many Rivers in this programme.

“Unfortunately for many Indigenous Australians in regional and remote areas there are few opportunities to find work or start a small business,” Minister Scullion said.

“Internationally we have seen the power of microfinance in addressing these challenges, as organisations like Grameen Bank combine micro-loans with intensive business support to lift large segments of society out of poverty.

“Since we began funding microfinance for Indigenous communities in 2015, we have successfully supporting the establishment and expansion of 293 Indigenous business and supported 582 Indigenous jobs in these businesses.

“This new $21 million investment will mean that an additional 18 communities will receive business support service and access to micro loans, taking the total to 40 sites. Services include business mentoring, assistance with business planning, access to business tools and access to small loans.

“It is part of our drive to stimulate economic development in remote communities which includes the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund which provides plant and equipment for Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous Procurement Policy which has supercharged the Indigenous business sector.

The expanded microfinance service includes two streams:

  1. Expansion of the Microenterprise Development (MED) programme to deliver support to 336 existing Indigenous businesses and to establish or expand 456 new Indigenous businesses;
  2. A new Community Economic Development (CED) programme in 40 communities to support CDP participants turn viable CDP activities into viable microbusinesses.

CEO of Ang Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, Mr August Stevens, welcomed this the Government’s expansion of microfinance to unlock further Indigenous economic opportunities in regional and remote communities.

“Without the professional work of Many Rivers assisting our small corporation, building a strong foundation for our future pathway would have been almost impossible,” Mr Stevens said.

“This future pathway has now been defined with professional mentoring and tools to keep us on track, to help us achieve our business vision for the future."

The expansion of the microfinance services was announced in the Coalition Government’s Indigenous Business Sector Strategy, launched during the 2018 Closing the Gap Week. For more information please visit pmc.gov.au/ibss.