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19 July 2001

Local Indigenous business a "role model" for Lightning Ridge entrepreneurs

"The ingenuity and business acumen of Barriekneal Housing and Community Ltd was an excellent role model for local Lightning Ridge entrepreneurs," the Minister for Small Business, Ms Sandra Nori said on Monday.

Ms Nori was in Lightning Ridge to visit the Barriekneal operations and to open and participate in the Indigenous Exports Project workshop held in the town this week.

The Minister visited the Meeting Place Take Away, Good Homemakers Store, CDEP Depot and other areas of the Barriekneal company, to discuss with local managers the contribution the firmís development had made to the development of Lightning Ridge.

"The growth of Barriekneal, from a small, one-truck company in 1979 to a diverse enterprise employing 273 people sets an example of what ambition, good business acumen and community involvement can achieve for indigenous communities in regional areas," Ms Nori said.

With the initial aim of achieving economic independence for local Aboriginal people, Barriekneal adopted an apprenticeship program in 1985 to build houses, due to the lack of suitable dwellings available. In 1988, the company adopted a community development employment program and its successful work on local projects helped to build important community relations.

Today, the companyís assets and responsibilities include housing, the homemakers store, service station, cafe, grain and livestock property, fencing, lawn mowing, plant nursery, regional administration for financial services and ATSIC sporting grants.

Ms Nori opened and participated in the Lightning Ridge Indigenous Export Project Workshop at the Barriekneal Administration Building. The workshops are designed to help Aboriginal business operators develop the skills to be successful exporters. The Project has been developed by the Department of State and Regional Development and Australian Business Limited, as a follow-on from the Aboriginal Business Link Program which provides Aboriginal business operators with hands-on, practical business training.

"The export workshop is the logical next step to help operators become export capable, ready and active," Ms Nori said.

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