An economic round table in Shepparton yesterday brought together about 40 thinkers from across Australia to discuss ways to improve economic engagement in the Aboriginal community.

The first of its kind in the region, the Algabonyah Economic Roundtable at The Connection aimed to identify initiatives in support of inclusive economic development in the Goulburn Murray region.

University of Melbourne’s Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis, Economic Development Employment and Innovation Group lead deputy secretary Justin Hanney, Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone, regional industry leaders as well as representatives from KPMG and La Trobe University and the department of prime minister and cabinet were present to offer their input.

Topics such as access to services, developing Shepparton’s tourism opportunities, and cultural knowledge and awareness were all broached during the half day of discussion.

Kaiela Institute executive chairman Paul Briggs, who co-chaired the round table with Prof Davis, said he was pleased to see a consensus on the way the region’s prosperity was approached in the talks.
Mr Briggs said a paper would be prepared as soon as next week drawing up possible outcomes from the meeting.

‘‘I think it achieved everything we thought it would,’’ Mr Briggs said of the round table.

‘‘There was a real sense of goodwill and energy around making it happen.’’

During proceedings, Mr Hanney presented a regional profile, highlighting the benefits of parity to the region.

Mr Briggs said studies had indicated local productivity had the potential to be bolstered by more than $50million if parity was achieved.

‘‘We think the issues facing the Goulburn Murray are issues important to all of us,’’ Mr Briggs said.
The stories of Shepparton small business owner Jackie Walker and Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Sean Gordon were presented as case studies to launch discussion on Aboriginal economic development.

‘‘We want to put an Indigenous prosperity lens across investment in the region,’’ Mr Briggs said.

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