Fortescue Metals Group and ANZ have signed their first agreement under a $50 million funding initiative they launched last year.
The guaranteed leasing facility provides practical financial solutions to Aboriginal businesses that supply services to Fortescue by providing competitive finance through ANZ to lease required assets.
Jilpanti Enterprises, 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 the miner.
Fortescue chief financial officer Ian Wells said the iron ore miner was providing 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,” 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.”
The initiative is an expansion of Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program, which has seen the company award at least $2 billion in contracts and sub-contracts to more than 100 joint ventures and Indigenous-owned businesses since its implementation in 2011.
ANZ managing director institutional Australia Graham Turley said through the partnership with Fortescue, it was 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.