Australian Government: Indigenous Business Australia
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OverviewChair review


Future of the Indigenous estate

Eddie Fry, ChairEverything that we do is to enhancethe economic advancement of ourcustomers. We have a vision for Indigenous Australians, and that is for them to be economically independent and an integral part of the economy.

The Indigenous population is growing at a faster rate than the non-Indigenous population, with an increasing youth demographic. It is estimated that Indigenous groups now own, or have rights to, around 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass under various forms of tenure.The next great challenge is to convert these rights and interests into a means of generating wealth for current and future Indigenous generations.

Responsibly investing in the future and protecting the capital balance of Indigenous resources will maximise the returns. Creating partnerships and joint ventures will develop a higher profile and reputation for IBA and its subsidiaries. Driving this more ambitious agenda is our goal of taking advantage of emerging markets and opportunities at hand.

Indigenous futures rely not on chance, but on creating a new fellowship among people, planning astutely, and harnessing the wider economy to the needs of the Indigenous community by using the many assets at its disposal.

This is our future at IBA and ultimately the future for the Indigenous estate.

Operating within a coherent commercial framework will reap social, cultural and environmental rewards. IBA and the Indigenous Land Corporation have already started collaborating for the benefit of the customer—working together builds on our strength.

What is the Indigenous estate?

The Indigenous estate comprises the assets held, or reasonably likely to be held, by or for the benefit of Indigenous people, whether by:

  • traditional owner, native title and state/territory land rights based organisations
  • federal, state and territory organisations, statutory bodies and funds established to act in the interest of Indigenous people, including the assets within IBA, the Indigenous Land Corporation, the Indigenous Land Account, Aboriginals Benefit Account and analogous structures under state/territory regimes
  • commercial or not-for-profit organisations established by or for the benefit of Indigenous people.

Mr Fry is challenging IBA to increase its impact, effectivess and reach - Minister ScullionCollaboration and change

In this constantly changing environment the one thing that has not changed is our purpose. The desire to assist and advance the economic prosperity of Indigenous Australians is defined in our enabling legislation, but more importantly it is our core organisational strength.

To remain relevant to our purpose, each and every one of us must deliver on our expected results, and collectively we must strive to be the very best service provider we can be for IBA’s customers. Our expectation is to continually improve our performance each financial year.

IBA has a solid track record of achieving Indigenous economic advancement. Our programs deliver results for Indigenous Australians seeking to build wealth and self-employment through buying a home, growing a business and building investments.

Significant improvements to our programs have been a keen focus in 2015–16 and we have worked collaboratively with the Australian Government to ensure these align with their goals as well.

The Equity and Investments Program enhanced its asset and funds management platform, launching the Indigenous Prosperity Funds and continuing to grow the Indigenous Real Estate Investment Trust (I-REIT). It also expanded its asset leasing offer in 2015–16, with a focus on supporting regional and remote Indigenous businesses. Overall, the program generated more than $23 million in financial benefit to Indigenous Australians through financial returns, salaries and wages, training benefits and procurement. Every direct investment employed Indigenous Australians, who represented an average of 27 per cent of total employees. In addition, the leasing solutions business supported 188 Indigenous jobs.

Substantial shifts in our Business Development and Assistance Program were made to align with our customers’ needs and the business life cycle. With such instrumental changes taking place across the internal enterprise network, the number of business loans provided, 49 (including new loans and increases to loans with existing customers), was lower than expected. The program did record 593 Indigenous people in jobs created or supported by IBA business loan customers.

The Indigenous Home Ownership Program responded to affordability issues faced by IBA’s customers by continuing with the temporary measures put in place in March 2015, such as additional interest rate discounts. The Board approved a new policy, effective 1 July 2016, which takes the next appropriate steps to ensure that we are responsibly helping people into home ownership.

The financial year ended with 489 new home loans approved for Indigenous Australians, with a total value of $161.9 million (up eight per cent on last year). The program also introduced a new product, the Remote Indigenous Home Loan, to improve opportunities for home ownership in remote areas. It was promoted in 20 remote communities.

Overall, IBA is in a strong financial position with net assets of $1.24 billion, measured in fair value, and is steadily growing its portfolio. IBA has grown its surplus and remains well positioned to meet its operating commitments.


The year has been one of growth, challenge and change—none of which could be managed without the strength of hardworking individuals coming together via the government, the Board, the Executive Management Team and IBA staff.

I honour the valued contributions of our outgoing directors, Glen Brennan and Nareen Young, who were much appreciated over the years for their advice and guidance. I welcome two new Indigenous board members, Scott Young and Aileen Shannon, who both come with strong business acumen.

I also acknowledge the support of Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and the Australian Government. I look forward to continuing that relationship.

Finally, on behalf of the Board and the Executive Management Team, thank you to all those involved in achieving what we have to date and we look forward to further accomplishments in the future.

Eddie Fry

FIGURE 1: How IBA’s programs achieve its purposes

Figure 1 - How IBA's programs achieve its purpose

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