Real estate services firm JLL and Indigenous-owned Pacific Services Group Holdings have established a new Indigenous facilities management company, evolve Facilities Management. The new company, 51 per cent owned by PSGH and 49 per cent by JLL, will provide integrated facilities management services to both government and private sector clients, and have a target of employing a minimum of 10 per cent Indigenous Australians. This is thought to be around five times the industry average.
Speaking to The Fifth Estate, evolve FM chief executive Mark Coleman (previously head of strategy at PSGH) said the idea of establishing the joint venture was first mooted several years ago when PSGH worked as a sub-contractor to JLL on a cleaning contract with the Department of Human Services in Western Australia.
“When we worked with JLL, we had a mutual appreciation,” he said. “They saw that PGSH were capable of delivering and we thought they were a really great company that was passionate about the Indigenous economic future and fast-tracking. Over a beer, we said that we thought it would be a great idea to form a joint venture with a Fortune 500 company to drive Indigenous business, which has never had a proper place in corporate Australia.
“We thought that instead of trying to change the culture of existing facilities managers, and asking them to employ more Indigenous people and use Indigenous businesses, we could combine all of JLL’s expertise and multi-million dollar systems with an Indigenous company that has the empathy and the drive to engage with other Indigenous business to make a good, solid team that can deliver a really strong company.
“Over the past 18 months we’ve been working on this idea, and officially launched this week at the Implementing Indigenous Procurement Policy in Canberra.
“We believe that well-managed, commercially competitive Indigenous-owned businesses can play in the advancement of Indigenous people in Australia.”
As well as furthering Indigenous business, it is hoped the company will help government achieve its aim of increasing government spending with Indigenous businesses. Earlier this year, government mandated that 0.5 per cent of all government external expenditure must be spent with Indigenous businesses, rising to 1.5 per cent next year, and three per cent by 2019/20.
Mr Coleman said: “The outcomes that are required for Indigenous policies over the next three years mean that government has to do 100 times better than they have done in the last four years. We’d like to play a major part in helping government achieve those targets, help government clients find facilities management services in one place, and help Indigenous businesses get and keep these contracts.”
He added that evolve FM aims to secure two medium-to-large contracts with federal government in the first year of operations.
Steve Mackintosh, JLL’s head of government business for integrated facilities management and member of the evolve FM board, said: “Our role will be negotiation [with] the Commonwealth, which can be pretty challenging at the best of times. What we’ve found with working with PSGH is that there are many Indigenous businesses out there that know how to do the work, but don’t necessarily know how to achieve the compliance and paperwork to win and keep government work. That area we deal with every day of the week, so we can help bridge the gap. The role of evolve FM is also to make it simpler for Indigenous companies to work under government contracts.
“There’s a strong belief in JLL that we should be a good corporate citizen and support this work. From our perspective, it’s also good business. It’s an area of activity that is going to open up, and we’d like to be at the forefront of this.”
As well as Mr Coleman and Mr Mackintosh, Troy Rugless, founder of PSGH, will also take a board position of evolve FM.