13 November 2015
Warren Mundine discusses public-private partnerships at GPPOL
Public-private partnerships in Guadalcanal’s oil palm industry show how customary land can be used for economic development, visiting Australian Indigenous leader, Warren Mundine says.
Mr Mundine made the observation on a recent tour of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil’s operations in East Guadalcanal on Friday.
He later went on to speak at the Solomon Island Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Excellence Awards on Saturday night.
As part of his tour of GPPOL, Mr Mundine met with landowner communities and village growers who have chosen to open up their land for commercial activity.
He heard about the history of oil palm plantations on the Guadalcanal Plains and about the importance of developing a social licence to operate.
“It is clear that customary landowners will determine the future of the Solomon Islands economy and I’m thrilled I was able to meet some of the people who are making land work here at GPPOL,” Mr Mundine said.
“If we are serious about economic development for Indigenous communities, both in Solomon Islands and in Australia, then we need to find a way to support commercial activities and ensure the benefits are fairly distributed.”
Mr Mundine is currently Chair of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and CEO of Nyungga Black Group, a company that assists traditional landowners to promote economic, environmental and cultural development in New South Wales.
“Commercial systems don’t just emerge from nothing and suddenly become mature and self-sustaining,” Mr Mundine said.
“As for any society that has gone through this kind of transition you need to start small. A self-employed tradesman. A sandwich shop. A person with a boat taking people out on fishing trips. These are the kinds of small green shoots that will grow, over time, into more vibrant economy.”
Mr Mundine’s first visit to Solomon Islands concludes on Sunday.