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First Nations business sector gains traction in the Goldfields

David Prestipino -

The First Nations business sector in the Goldfields is starting to develop after long being a poor cousin to the Pilbara.

The Goldfields Aboriginal Business Chamber has partnered with two mining giants to expand opportunities for First Nations business in the region.

The deal with BHP Nickel West and Northern Star Resources will foster economic development and encourage growth of First Nations business across the Goldfields.

The partnership is a significant milestone for the trio as it aligns with their commitment to empower regional Aboriginal communities where they operate and builds on the GABC's Stronger Business program, which supports 85 per cent of First Nations businesses in the Goldfields.

"We believe that by working together, we can provide effective Aboriginal-led solutions that are grounded in Aboriginal knowledge and respect for cultural values," GABC chair Rowena Leslie said.

BHP said the investment would provide opportunities for employment, training, procurement and enterprise support.

"Nickel West has increased our Indigenous procurement targets year on year," said Jacinta Parsons, general manager at BHP Nickel West Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter.

"By leveraging the strength of the GABC, we can create innovative opportunities that help these businesses thrive and contribute to their community's economic development."

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines operations general manager Nick Strong said Northern Star had committed $20 million each year to Indigenous businesses.

"This is a reflection of the importance to our company of engaging Indigenous businesses," he said.

"Across our operations, our team is working to create opportunities for Traditional Owner businesses on whose land we are privileged to operate, and local Aboriginal businesses.

"This partnership will be central to helping us to achieve our goal, creating strong economic and community development outcomes for communities across the Goldfields."

His sentiment was shared by Northern Star general manager of Kalgoorlie operations, Corin Arcaro, who insisted more meaningful opportunities will ensue from the partnership.

"We are proud to be working in partnership with GABC, and look forward to seeing the significant impact this partnership will have towards increasing opportunities for Aboriginal businesses across the Goldfields region," he said.

Stronger Business is now offering localised events from May, commencing with a business breakfast briefing with Northern Star. More information is available online.

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