13/04/2004 - 22:00

Procter aiming to set up Indigenous fund

13/04/2004 - 22:00

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HIGHLY lauded University of Western Australia finance graduate and former WA league footballer, Joe Procter has put himself into a postion to help commercially-minded Aborigines break into the world of business.

Procter aiming to set up Indigenous fund

HIGHLY lauded University of Western Australia finance graduate and former WA league footballer, Joe Procter has put himself into a postion to help commercially-minded Aborigines break into the world of business.

Mr Procter heads Indigenous Capital Limited – a proposed private equity fund that plans to tap the Indigenous sector.

ICL hopes to build on the quasi-private investment fund Indigenous Business Australia. Unlike its more socially constrained sibling ATSIC, IBA has been enjoying success investing and partnering with Indigenous proponents around Australia.

Mr Procter, who is also a director of IBA, said the ability to quarantine investment from political issues was the major advantage a purely commercial body outside the Government would have over IBA.

“ICL is trying to learn the lessons from the IBA experience but it is also trying to take Indigenous investment to the next level,” Mr Procter said.

Although the fund stems from philanthropic motivations, Mr Procter said it had been developed to identify strictly commercial Indigenous opportunities that could yield attractive returns to private investment. He said that while social outcomes were anticipated from investments, there needed to be a willingness to separate political considerations from the commercial side of operating a business.

ICL contains a number of high-profile business faces including Gilbert & Tobin founder Danny Gilbert, Mark Carnegie, Cass O’Connor, Michael Traill, Roger Allen and Peter Yu.

While only in initial stages in assessing the “deal flow” Mr Procter, who is currently trying to identify enough investment opportunities to underpin a capital fundraising, is positive.

“The response that we have been receiving from Indigenous, industry and government groups around Australia has been very encouraging,” he said

“We are beginning to see some opportunities that have the potential to alleviate and resolve some Native Title inertia and, at the same time, provide some great economic outcomes for Indigenous groups.

“Governments led by Queensland and the Northern Territory have been very supportive of the project and bent over backwards to try and attract innovative solutions and investment to their State and Territory.

“It would be good to see the WA Government showing interest.”

Industries that ICL are looking at include mining, oil and gas, tourism, fishing, aquaculture and agribusinesss.

Mr Procter said the fund would service both the Indigenous sector and mainstream operators such as mining companies through partnerships.

“Some of the more progressive companies are realising that partnering with Indigenous equity holders and capital providers such as ICL brings key competitive advantages,” he said. 

“Native Title solutions, access to large tracts of exploration land, accelerated government approvals, preferred tender status are all positive to their bottom line.”

 

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