A multi-million dollar social impact fund has launched, promising to invest in infrastructure that will benefit both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and provide a return to investors.
The Indigenous Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIIF), managed by Impact Investing Partners (IIP), aims to spend $500 million over five years across 15 to 20 direct investments.
The fund is also aiming for 50 per cent Indigenous investor ownership over the coming years.
Janice Morris, the IIIF director, told Pro Bono News that only infrastructure projects that provided social and economic return to both the communities and investors would be picked.
“It could be a solar farm that provides electricity generation for the community, it could be a medical centre that provides a set of medical services for it,” Morris said.
“The main thing with infrastructure assets is that they provide long-term stable returns for investment.”
Chris Croker, a Luritja man, and IIP managing director said the launch of the fund would be an important step forward in providing Indigenous communities with direct economic engagement in projects.
“This will be done via employment, procurement, and leasing from Indigenous landholders,” Croker said.
“The fund will be a trusted investment vehicle for long-term investments that align the interests of financial investors, private developers, and Indigenous communities.”
Perpetual Corporate Trust (PCT) has been appointed the custodian and wholesale trustee of the fund, which will mean it will manage the assets on behalf of the fund.
Morris said Perpetual was chosen because of how aligned the two companies were in their social outcomes, and because of its previous work with Indigenous communities.
“They have a lot of experience managing funds on behalf of Indigenous investors and they bring a good cultural understanding to the job, which is important,” she said.
PCT general manager, Glen Dogan, said it marked the first Indigenous-focused fund the company had been involved in.
“At Perpetual, we have a history of supporting the Indigenous community, most notably within our Perpetual Private business,” Dogan said.
Morris said she was confident they would be able to spend the $500 million over the next five years.
“Based on the projects we’ve got in the pipeline today we believe that’s something that we can achieve, and also in terms of our goal of Indigenous ownership on all our infrastructure assets,” she said.
This article is written by journalist Maggie Coggan for Probono Australia.
It was originally published on their website on 29 May 2019.
View the original article here.