ATO increases support for Indigenous businesses
The Australia Taxation Office (ATO) has expanded its Reach Out Indigenous business support pilot program to help Indigenous small businesses meet their tax and superannuation obligations.
The pilot program started in July 2018 in Townsville and Brisbane and will be expanded into NSW, South Australia and Victoria in 2020 as a result of a successful initial pilot in Queensland.
ATO assistant commissioner Andrew Watson said the pilot program is an excellent example of how a bright idea from staff can have a meaningful impact for the community.
“Reach Out was actually the brainchild of a group of our Queensland-based Evergreen Indigenous employment program participants, so we owe the success of this pilot program to their initiative and willingness to get out and about to try something new,” Mr Watson said.
“We want Indigenous small businesses to thrive. Reach Out is all about helping build sustainable businesses that will support themselves, their families and their communities.”
Through the pilot program, the ATO has already established partnerships with 11 Indigenous business intermediaries, like the Black Coffee Indigenous Business Network of small business owners who meet to discuss business issues, successes and ideas.
The Tax Office has so far delivered nine education workshops in locations including Brisbane, Ipswich and Palm Island with improved tax awareness a key takeaway for participants. This year, it plans to hold over 130 workshops and other activities aimed to support and education.
The pilot is one of several Australian government initiatives introduced to increase economic participation of Indigenous Australians and to help more Indigenous people build sustainable businesses.