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Indigenous Business Australia’s business support and investment activities

Government expenditure Statutory authorities First Peoples enterprise development Australia

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has been responsible for activities that are intended to support Indigenous-led businesses since 2005, and Indigenous investment and capital growth since 1990. IBA has a single government outcome of improved wealth acquisition to support economic independence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

IBA has delivered business support activities under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy since 2016. Business support activities include the provision of financial and non-financial support to help Indigenous business owners and entrepreneurs to start, acquire or grow a business. Between 2017–18 and 2019–20, IBA reported delivering $159.4 million in business loans and financial support and 4517 business capability support services. In May 2020, in response to the impacts on business of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBA also received $18 million in additional funds to deliver a COVID-19 Relief Package.

The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of IBA’s management of its business support and investment activities. To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level audit criteria:

  • Are IBA’s governance arrangements effective?
  • Is IBA’s management of business support activities effective and does IBA measure its efficiency?
  • Is IBA’s management of investment activities effective and does IBA measure its efficiency?
  • Does IBA effectively measure and monitor performance?

Main conclusions:

  • IBA’s management of its business support and investment activities is partially effective, and it measures investment activity efficiency but not business support activity efficiency.
  • IBA governance arrangements are effective except for its identification and management of conflicts of interest. Clear governance roles, responsibilities and coordinating structures have been established for IBA and IBAAM and members of oversight bodies are appropriately experienced. Procedures to identify and manage probity matters and identify and assess key risks have been established. In two cases there were weaknesses in the identification and management of Board-level conflicts of interest.
  • IBA’s management of investment activities is effective and it has recently established an appropriate measure of investment efficiency that shows it improving over time. Investment activities and decisions are aligned with parliamentary and government expectations and IBA has implemented effective arrangements to administer those activities. Investment activities improve opportunities for employment and wealth growth, and include effective co-investor engagement arrangements.
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Auditor-General Report No.36 2020–21