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First Nations business

First Nations businesses can be found in every State and Territory. 

A First Nations business in Australia is commonly at least 50% or more owned by a First Nations person/s. The First Nations owner in the business receives equal or more benefit from the arrangement, depending on their percentage share above 50%.

Sometimes, non-Indigenous businesses or individuals falsely claim to be a First Nations business or individual for the purpose of gaining access to otherwise inaccessible First Nations procurement policies or contracts.

In Australia this practice is known as ‘black cladding’ (or ‘black’ or ‘brown washing’), and may include:

  • misrepresenting the level of involvement of First Nations individuals in the ownership of a business
  • misrepresenting the level of involvement in a corporate entity's management or operations by First Nations individuals, particularly in order to attract private or government contracts, joint venture agreements and/or funding
  • corporate restructuring to ensure the relevant shareholding and/or directorship satisfies any requisite criteria to be designated as a First Nations entity, particularly where there is little or no commensurate pecuniary benefit or allocation of responsibility and autonomy to First Nations individuals
  • creating shadow First Nations businesses, or “arms” or “branches” responsible for obtaining a relevant contract and/or funding, particularly where there is little or no commensurate benefit to the First Nations business, arm or branch.

First Nations business

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