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"It is a journey that requires a long term commitment."

Dr Luisa Lombardi, in collaboration with Professor Barry J Cooper and CPA Australia, has received a Business/Higher Education Round Table 2015 Award for Excellence in Accounting Teaching Collaboration.

Dr Lombardi says the award is a great honour in recognition of the team’s work in raising awareness and developing strategies for attracting a greater number of Indigenous peoples entering the accounting profession.

‘It acknowledges Deakin Business School’s excellence in accounting teaching collaboration and our commitment to working with and sharing knowledge with our industry partners.

‘It also recognises our aim to undertake research and activities that can have an impact on the economic outcomes of our Indigenous Australians,’ Dr Lombardi says.

The project idea was born in 2005, when Dr Lombardi started conducting investigations into the virtual exclusion of Indigenous Australians from the accounting profession.

In 2014, CPA awarded an external grant of $60 000 to Dr Lombardi and Professor Cooper, to investigate the role of educators, employers and the accounting profession in providing opportunities for Indigenous Australians to enter the field of accounting.

Professor Cooper explains that these efforts were the precursor to Deakin Business School’s inaugural Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference, which attracted over 100 attendees in September 2015.

‘The innovative projects undertaken by Deakin Business School and CPA Australia, who were a platinum sponsor of the conference, are testament to their shared interest and desire to support strategies that aim to provide opportunities for indigenous success,' he says

Dr Lombardi adds that ‘The overall aim of the project was and is to discuss opportunities and strategies to support Indigenous Australian students undertaking accounting and commerce studies.'

Moving into 2016, Dr Lombardi and Professor Cooper plan to build on this year’s efforts and hope to include a greater number of participants, business streams and academic research findings into the 2016 conference.

Dr Lombardi explains that there are also wider academic plans to pilot the embedding of Indigenous cultural knowledge into an introductory accounting unit undertaken by all commerce students.

‘We acknowledge that this is a journey that requires a long term commitment from Deakin Business School and the accounting profession, but we aim to nevertheless make a difference in assisting our Indigenous Australians to  regain control of their economic future.’

Details of next year’s Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference will be released on the Deakin Business School website and newsroom as they become available.