Land Council loans system supports economic development

16 December 2016 

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is supporting an economic development project to farm goats in the State's far west through an Early Stage Investment Loans scheme.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said a loan had been granted to Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council to establish a profitable goating business on Weinteriga station near Wilcannia.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said loans of up to $500,000 were on offer to Local Aboriginal Land Councils and related business entities for business enterprises.

"Transforming gains from Land Rights into an independent economic base is a key priority for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and we are prepared to back that up by fostering business ideas that can generate jobs and training.

"A key barrier for Local Aboriginal Land Councils starting or growing a business is a lack of start-up capital. By funding early-stage business operations, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council is helping attract capital from other sources."

NSWALC Councillor for Western Region William Murray said Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council had worked hard to establish the goat enterprise at Weinteriga Station. 

"Recently, high-quality fencing was installed across the property and the LALC is now looking to expand into the export market and hopes that improved income from the property will provide funds to support future community benefit-schemes and other programs.

"The potential for expansion is enormous with goat being the most widely consumed meat in the world and more people drinking the milk of goats than that of any other single animal."

Cr Ah-See said NSWALC was determined to help Local Aboriginal Land Councils convert land into economic development opportunities.

"In 2014, NSWALC invested $16 million over five years to provide start-up capital, business development and capacity-building.

Under the loans system, Cr Ah-See said NSWALC was accepting applications from LALCs with ideas that were "investment ready".

"Local Aboriginal Land Councils must have, at a minimum, a business plan with sufficient thinking into the commercial and operational viability of their idea. 

"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council will contribute up to a maximum of 50 percent of the overall value of the loan with the Local Aboriginal Land Council contribution to be no less than 5 to 10 percent.

"That means applications will also have to show that funding partners have been secured to cover the percentage of capital not covered by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the Local Aboriginal Land Council's own contribution." 

All applications will be assessed by an independent panel.

Further information and application forms are available at /about-nswalc/economic-development.aspx  

Questions about Early Stage Investment Loans can also be directed to NSWALC's Economic Development Unit on 02 9689 4444 and by emailing ecodev@alc.org.au

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Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291