This submission was made in response to the above strategy requesting input. AIATSIS endorsed some of the issues and was critical of others.
AIATSIS commented that the Draft IEDS is, at times, overly paternal and adopts a top-down approach to identifying solutions and options for economic engagement. The IEDS could be improved by greater emphasis on how government will create opportunities and space for innovation and creativity resulting in on the ground solutions and options for development
Genuine engagement with Indigenous peoples, on their own terms, is imperative to the principles of economic development understood in the context of wellbeing, because it is necessary to understand and value the choices that Indigenous peoples make about their economic development. If wellbeing is to be achieved then governments must be capable of understanding diversity in values and allowing peoples themselves to exercise power and make choices. This may require more creative options, with regard to reform to housing and land tenure arrangements or community planning or business enterprise.
The specific section addressing business and entrepreneurship identifies that more support is required for the development of indigenous business.
In the native title context AIATSIS has identified a need for greater access to advice on operational business planning, finance and administration and general organisational set up through to more complex organisational design. It should be acknowledged that government is often not best placed to provide such programs directly. Indigenous business may also need more specialist advice and support for programs to run effectively. In particular, there is a need for greater understanding and acceptance of the role of cultural and community accountability and legitimacy in Indigenous business practice (where relevant) and how to build sustainable and profitable business without compromising the 'cultural bottom line'.
See the report for more information on the following areas:
- Regional economic profiling and planning
- Protecting Indigenous peoples' unique assets
- Strengthening foundations
- Taxation of native title
- Infrastructure and planning.