The Aboriginal flag flying next to the Australian flag in front of the University of Sydney quad

Indigenous people must take charge of economic development, says elder

5 July 2019
Call comes as NAIDOC week focuses on indigenous achievement
A highly respected Indigenous leader and Associate Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, Percy Knight, has called on the Australian community to allow his people to take charge of their own economic development.

Mr Knight, an elder of the Wiradjuri people, made the call at the beginning of NAIDOC Week, which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Writing in a NAIDOC Week commentary, Mr Knight said “Indigenous economic development demands that Indigenous people take charge of employment, business, asset and wealth creation and ultimately, operate their own private businesses and community-based enterprises."

In recent years, Indigenous people have increasingly sought to participate in the national economy by starting their own businesses and community owned and operated enterprises.
Percy Knight

"In most cases they are looking for an escape from poverty and the violence associated with it. They want to create a better quality of life for their families and community members." 

"These businesses range from ecotourism and cultural tours to partnership with mining companies on native title land; restaurants; Indigenous owned holiday resorts; transport operations; and fishing and agricultural enterprises," Mr Knight continued.

However, he concludes that "breaking the cycle of poverty for many Indigenous Australians still poses many challenges."

Read Percy Knight's comment, "Indigenous people must draw on entrepreneurial tradition to break cycle of poverty and violence."