Commercial and Community Development
This page was authored by
Dr Matthew Storey
Acting CEO National Native Title Council, former CEO First Nations Legal and Research Services
There is a common idea that for a PBC to start significant commercial activities it will need to have a significant amount of capital resources behind it. Of course, it helps if there is a large amount in the bank from a land access agreement or a comprehensive regional agreement and the valuable procurement contracts that may accompany these agreements.
However, as the story of the Victorian Traditional Owner Groups shows, PBCs can sometimes start profitable commercial activities with virtually nothing in the bank. What the Victorian experience has shown is that the credibility of being the recognised Traditional Owner Group, particularly when Traditional Owner Groups are working together, is a valuable asset that can be the foundation of very profitable joint ventures with the private sector. Before looking at the lessons from the Victorian experience it is useful to discuss what Victorian Traditional Owners did.