Noongar businesses have banded together in what is being touted as Australia’s first culturally-based Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) was launched recently by West Australian Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt.

NCCI chairman Gordon Cole said the organisation would promote the capabilities of Noongar people.

Its founding directors include performer and consultant Richard Walley and business leaders Oral McGuire, Karen Jacobs, Danny Ford and Michael Hayden.

“Our purpose is really about promoting the capacity and capabilities of our people to service the contracting opportunities we see coming out of government and the business sector on a regular basis,” Mr Cole said.

“We believe in the commercial economy, contracts and jobs, as the answer to addressing social disadvantage in our communities.”

“Too often we see a disconnect between the good-will of industry, who want to work with Noongar businesses, and the practical implementation into real jobs and contracts for work.”

Mr Cole said NCCI would also focus on communicating Noongar business protocols, which reflected Aboriginal commerce and trade pre-dating European settlement.

It has offices at the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters in East Perth.

Noongar-owned businesses are being offered free membership until the end of June next year.

Future funding is expected to be raised through corporate partnerships until ordinary memberships and other NCCI services provide financial stability.

NCCI said other Aboriginal Chambers of Commerce have been set up in Queensland and New South Wales, but it is the first to be formed for a single cultural group.

By Wendy Caccetta