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Austrade accused of discriminating by only allowing indigenous companies to exhibit at Fine Food Australia trade show

A prosperous non-Indigenous business owner alleges discrimination, asserting that selected Indigenous companies lack export readiness and websites in the exhibit.

By news@gippsland - 13th September 2023 - Back to News

I've received an email from a very successful business owner and he's furious with the Federal Department of Trade. Now, this is the agency known as Austrade. The business owner writes, Ben, I'm furious. Austrade has a stand each year at the event called Fine Food Australia. This is the biggest food trade show, it's on right now at the ICC in Darling Harbour.

Austrade has declined to comment on the discrimination allegations, but the Federal National Party leader has called for an investigation

Austrade has declined to comment on the discrimination allegations, but the Federal National Party leader has called for an investigation

Austrade's unusual shift

Traditionally, Austrade invites a mix of Aussie companies. They're given the opportunity to showcase their products to major overseas buyers. However, this year is a different story. When we asked if we could be involved, Austrade told us they were only allowing Aboriginal companies in their exhibit.

While the First Nations companies that have been selected have good products, many of them are not export ready, some of them don't even have a website. We are too scared to raise these concerns publicly as it could put future government dealings at risk, and it would also leave our business exposed to attacks from the woke brigade.

Indigenous exhibition

So that's the message I received. Now, we've done some digging on this overnight and the information is correct. There are 15 businesses listed at the Austrade exhibit it's on right now at the ICC Darling Harbour. All 15 happen to be Indigenous companies, and I've spoken to some of these business owners and they were told, sorry, not this year a decision has been made, Indigenous businesses only. So all of the 15 companies featured this year, either their owners or their products are Indigenous.

That includes Aboriginal cookies, sparkling water, and chocolates. Now, we've invited Austrade onto the show this morning. They have declined, but we have asked them a number of questions overnight, including, did you block non-Indigenous brands from taking part? Someone else who's looked into this is David Littleproud, the Federal National Party leader, and he's on the line. David Littleproud, good morning.

Pictures from Australian Institute of International Affairs website.


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