29 Nov 2022

Victoria’s exceptional Aboriginal businesses have been celebrated at the Kinaway Business Awards.

The Kinaway Business Awards recognise enterprises and people at the forefront of the Victorian Aboriginal business sector and the contribution they make to improving the prosperity of Aboriginal Victorians.

There were more than 50 nominations across 12 categories for this year’s awards, held at a black-tie event at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium last Friday. The awards are run by Victoria’s Kinaway  Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, which supports Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners.

Kinaway Chief Executive Officer Scott McCartney said the awards acknowledged outstanding Aboriginal businesses across the state.

“We recognise their hard work, commitment and success over the past 12 months as well as our partners who have demonstrated their commitment to working with our members.”

DJPR’s Aboriginal Economic Development section sponsored the Excellence Award – Kinaway Corporate Partner, Best Collaboration Award – Kinaway Corporate Partner and the main Excellence Award.

The full list of winners is:

Excellence Award – Kinaway Member

Barpa, an Aboriginal construction company that achieved record growth in the past year and secured projects worth more than $95 million across Australia, including for new facilities, fit-outs, refurbishments, heritage works and infrastructure.

Excellence Award – Kinaway Corporate Partner

ANZ Banking Group, which has a vision for reconciliation that sees Australia unified around a shared history that celebrates and honours the unique contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Best Collaboration Award – Kinaway Member

Dreamtime Flooring together with BYNM Indigenous Designs and Godfrey Hirst for their creation of a social impact carpet tile. Proceeds were donated to On-Country Pathways, which delivers employment and career pathway programs for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Best Collaboration Award – Kinaway Corporate Partner

BMD and B.A Road Services, which last year worked together to deliver projects valued at more than $6m across Victoria, including major infrastructure and urban business works. The partnership saw significant growth for both businesses, including creating additional Indigenous employment opportunities.

Up-and-coming Business Award

Fire and Test Australasia, which specialises in fire suppression and management systems and has recently expanded its services to address significant health, safety and environmental risks posed by older foam firefighting systems.

Social Enterprise Award

Clothing the Gaps, a social enterprise fashion label that celebrates Aboriginal people and culture and has been recognised for its contribution to the community sector.

Young Entrepreneur Award

Drew Paten, who is co-founder of start-up company Talwali Coffee Roasters. Since the business was founded last year, the number of clients has grown six-fold and sales have increased by 2000 per cent.

Social Media Excellence Award

Joshua-Deane Gower, who over the past eight years has created social media content for some of the world’s largest fashion, art, food and beverage brands, promoting diversity and First Nations people.

Resilience Award

White Swan Services, a family business that provides a range of commercial maintenance services. It was founded just before the pandemic and serviced essential facilities including hospitals and nursing homes while growing and employing new staff.

Sistas in Business Award

Joy Oldaker of White Swan Services for her strong advocacy and championing of opportunities for Aboriginal women in trade industry businesses and her investment in employee wellbeing, training and personal development.

Regional Business Award

TVN On-Country, which delivers tailored construction, project management and procurement services across Australia and employs 42 staff at its head office in Wodonga, with branch offices in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Creative Business Award

Salty One, aka artist Lowell Hunter, who fuses traditional dance and storytelling with a connection to the Victorian coast to create art that he then photographs using drones. He was recently part of a national tourism campaign promoting the Great Ocean Road.