The first agreement under an innovative $50 million funding initiative launched last year by Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) and ANZ has been signed in Sydney today.
The guaranteed leasing facility provides practical financial solutions to Aboriginal businesses who supply services to Fortescue by providing competitive finance through ANZ to lease required assets.
Jilpanti Enterprises Pty Ltd, a 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned business, is part of a $30 million joint venture with Cross Verwijmeren providing exploration related earthworks for Fortescue. Under the agreement, Jilpanti will be provided access to $1.2 million in funding to purchase equipment needed as part of the three-year contract with Fortescue.
Fortescue Chief Financial Officer Ian Wells, who attended the signing, said Fortescue was proud to provide Aboriginal businesses like Jilpanti with practical tools to build long-term capability and capacity.
“We know that strong, sustainable Aboriginal businesses create more employment and development opportunities for Aboriginal Australians,” Mr Wells said.
“Through this lease facility, we are helping to address some of the systemic challenges facing these businesses, building capability in Aboriginal communities, and supporting their journey to economic sustainability.”
ANZ Managing Director Institutional Australia Graham Turley said through the partnership with Fortescue, ANZ is able to help Aboriginal businesses like Jilpanti build direct relationships with the bank, while supporting them with competitive financing arrangements.
“We hope that this experience will help these businesses grow sustainably, become more financially independent and ultimately drive economic growth and employment in the community,” he said.
Puutu Kunti Kurrama Elder and Jilpanti Director Lennie Ashburton said the lease facility was providing invaluable opportunities for Aboriginal business owners to build a sustainable future.
“With the support of Fortescue and ANZ, we can now purchase assets which will continue to generate income for the business now and into the future,” he said.