Chamber says 'no' to race based tender rules


New race-based requirements in the NT Government’s tendering process cannot be justified, says Kay Eade (pictured), the CEO of the Alice Springs Chamber of Commerce.
“There seems to be a lot of inequity,” says.
“The government should practice what it preaches.”
She says the government is a long way off its own target of 16% of public servants being Indigenous.
“Businesses put people with the right skills where they are needed. You can’t run a business on the colour of the skin.”
Mr Eade says she doubts that there are enough Indigenous workers and trades people around to fill the needs.
It’s hard enough to find skilled people in Alice Springs, she says.
She is aware of a recent case where a Queensland firm underbid a local one, although the workers needed to be flown in and accommodated in commercial lodgings.
The Alice Springs News Online asked the Department of Business, which oversees the tendering rules, for a comment on April 1. None has been provided by the time of publication.


  1. There is a lot Indigenous people can do. Who would want to work if you are getting what they get?
    As far as getting tradies I cannot see any issue.
    All you have to do is advertise. With Holden closing there will be hundreds of skilled people looking for work, in local government, hospitals. Alice Springs council seems to have jobs for the boys.
    As a thought, why don’t we have an indigenous person as assistant to the mayor?
    For they will know what their people’s needs are.

  2. I agree with Kay Eade, to have a firm employ on the basis of colour is almost as stupid as government having to have a certain number of female ministers and for those to have a certain percentage of the front bench, stupid, just plain stupid.

  3. The idea to employ based on race, gender or anything else is stupid.
    For good outcomes and KPIs it should be based on experience and qualifications and then that is debatable.
    A piece of paper says you have been indoctrinated into a learned process in most situations.
    And fail to have the well needed skills to do the job.
    Our governments at all levels have become blind followers to a tune they have no idea of the words or lyrics – they just blindly follow apartheid propaganda and never stop to question why.
    Well, the people are no longer asking. We want answers and we want them now. And Nigel Scullion needs to be the first to answer the the question and do it publicly.
    We he supports apartheid in Australia and why he is implementing policies to grow it and widen the gap between Aussies backed on race.
    Come on Nigel. We are waiting.

  4. South Africa is an excellent example of what happens when you decide as a government to institute a racist policy in the name of equality.
    The electricity infrastructure (Eskom) was purged of capable whites, originally employed on the basis of engineering merit, not their skin colour.
    Post Mandela “Rainbow Nation” and “equality” lefty feeling no brain indoctrination, they were replaced by blacks without the requisite ability, on the basis of “Affirmative Action”, a deliberately obfuscating term meaning “jobs for blacks”, i.e. skin trumps ability.
    The result is now for all to see, ironically “power failure”.
    The irony is surely one of the richest in contemporary “race relations” history, if it were not for the fact that it is communist in origin, i.e. design rather than accident.
    Putting people in the job merely due to skin colour is naked racist discrimination.
    It is also stupid unless a member of that race is universally more meritorious for the job (e.g. an Aboriginal tribal elder, a Black Panther or a Grand Wizard of the KKK).
    This sort of discrimination has no place in business tenders for government and to suggest it is a disgrace.

  5. I would would like to know why the Department of Lands and Planning are throwing aside their own procurement policy and are giving work away to “Indigenous’ organisations without an open tender system?
    Then there is the Department of a Infrastructure who are on one hand stipulating very specific conditions for tendering then ignoring the assessment processes to take on the cheapest tender. Darwin is systematically destroying the industry by undermining the autonomy of the regional departments. No longer are the regions assessing the tenders so what we will end up with is contractors that have no capacity, no history, no local development and no chance of being a positive long term enterprise.
    The slash and burn technique by this government is going to come back and bite them in the back side. I have spoken to three contractors in Alice Springs and they have said that the Department in Darwin are just taking the lowest tenders without any due process.
    I do hope our Chief Minister looks into this otherwise much of his core support in the regions will be gone!

  6. I would have thought the benefits of moving people from inter-generational welfare dependency into work (and addressing the consequences of idleness) would be obvious to all. Alas.
    And I would have thought that “lowest tender price” should be the net cost to taxpayers – in other words factoring in the potential for savings on welfare outlays as recipients move into work.
    Procurement Policy MUST accommodate both these features.

  7. Amazing comment by the Chamber. We are talking about 40% Aboriginal employment targets in companies tendering not asking for projects to be handed over to “race based” organisations.
    Interesting how many “local” companies have been happy over the years to get fat on the black dollar but are now squealing when being asked to provide employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people to break the poverty cycle.
    Here’s a new idea for you: Maybe companies can develop partnerships with local Aboriginal organisations in order to help everyone out.
    If you can’t do that then get out of the Territory and I would suggest that the Chamber talk facts not crap.

  8. @ Don’t Let the Truth get in the Way of a Good Story: It is clear that you are mouthing off without any knowledge base.
    Money was blown and continues to be blown by governments who hand over millions to Aboriginal organisations to train Aboriginals in the trades.
    Millions are spent in the SHIP programm to train up Aboriginals to build houses in town camps and communities and most of the work is done by interstate companies.
    If you look closely at Aboriginal organisations a large portion is white staff in mangement positons.
    Knowledge base is always helpful to getting to the truth.
    A lot of people say without black money Alice would fail.
    Tax payers money is wasted to help fight poverty and inequality, [failing] to achieve good outcomes It has only increased the inequality.

  9. Don’t Let Truth Get in The Way of a Good Story: What you propose is for private industry to create 40% of job openings for indigenous staff in a labour force that is only approximately 15% indigenous
    Before we can expect to see the Aboriginal labour force being representative of the NT indigenous population (30% according to 2006 census) it is vital that this labour force first receives a childhood education and the “welfare for life” tap be turned off.
    To demand employment figures that simply do not exist is to put the cart before the horse.
    It is understandable that the Chamber have a say on this issue as their core purpose is to represent business. (You know; Tax paying, job creating, service providing, wealth creating business). The chamber’s role is not to represent the welfare dependent, generational disadvantaged.
    It is important to respect that all Australians are equal, whether you are white or black. It does no benefit anyone to artificially diminish the job prospects of one person to only artificially increase the prospects of another based solely on skin colour.
    The social impacts of unemployment and poverty are of equal cost to Australia’s prosperity and social wellbeing regardless of colour.
    Don’t Let Truth Get in The Way of a Good Story, regarding your “new idea” – the prospect of colluding with indigenous corporations is unappealing to most business in town.
    I used the word collude because if one company joins forces with a government endeared indigenous corporation to create an unfair advantage over another company – that is collusion – the nasty practice that petrol companies are often accused of. Businesses are already currently competing with indigenous corporations in an unfair market environment.
    I suggest you review the ORIC website to view the financial documents and learn some of the advantages the indigenous construction groups have over other local construction companies.
    I am yet to hear of a non indigenous company in town being “gifted” their commercial premises.
    By partnering with these groups a business is simply joining forces with a government preferred, government supported organization that is a drain on productivity, the public purse and often times operates on a management top heavy business structure (the oh so notorious shiny white Toyota Land Cruiser brigade).
    To suggest that local business are complaining is a complete misrepresentation of the issue – local business want nothing but an equal playing field in a country that prides itself upon being a market driven, capitalist democracy rather than authoritarian capitalist system based upon political interference.
    Don’t Let Truth Get in The Way of a Good Story, on your simplistic suggestion of leaving the Territory for every non indigenous person / those unwilling to partner with an indigenous organization – if we took that rather small minded piece of advice do you know what every town and city in the NT would look like? Yuendumu or Kintore (or almost any other remote community) minus of course all the other, predominately non indigenous provided services such as police, health, schooling, council, welfare and infrastructure builders.
    So to use your own masterfully written words – please don’t feel obliged to provide any more “crap”.

  10. Commonwealth qualifies all our rights, all our responsibilities, using racial tags.
    Commonwealth racism segregates communities, segregates families, segregates services, all the while it multiplies paper-trails for the departments which created these problems.
    Commonwealth currently is incapable of fixing these problems, because Commonwealth is the main problem.
    The intent of Australians in 1967 was acknowledged, they sought for all Australians equality of rights, responsibility, and opportunity.
    Commonwealth racial tagging is the problem.
    Equality of opportunity requires no racial tagging.
    Equality of opportunity is about ensuring all have equal opportunity to learn, not equal results when tested.
    Commonwealth’s racial tagging creates illusions use of racial tags can magically fix an individuals failure to learn.
    The problem was, and remains, racial tagging by the Commonwealth.
    Commonwealth needs ensure equality of opportunity regardless of race, not equal results.


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