IBA have partnered with the Black Magic Woman Podcast to bring you a series of episodes that will be based on a variety of topics including housing, business, youth, women, investing, financial literacy, economic development and COVID-19 recovery.

On episode 67 of the podcast, Mundanara yarns with her fourth guest of the IBA partnership series - proud Yugara woman Lynda Maybanks, from Ipswich. Lynda is passionate about improving social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through reviving Yugara culture and restoring Yugara country with her business, Wirrinyah Conservation Services.

“Wirrinyah” means coming back in Yugara language. It represents the ongoing revival of Yugara ways of caring for country. Wirrinyah focuses on working with businesses, Government and landowners in Southeast Queensland to restore our natural areas, conserve our native species and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sites for the enjoyment of all Australians.

We find out how Wirrinyah Conservation Services came about, what role IBA played in that and how IBA supported Lynda on her business journey. A really good listen that ties in perfectly with the 2021 NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country’.

"It wasn’t until I went on the IBA Futures Forum [that] I realised what the possibilities could be. I never really thought about business ownership as an option in my career. I always thought ‘oh yeah, you know I’ll probably work my way up in the public service and try to become a decision-maker that way’ but I think after a couple of years in the public service and seeing through IBA the options in business ownership – I thought ‘oh, you can probably reach your goals through business ownership a lot faster and under your own terms.’"

"Heal Country to me means, reconnecting with Mother Earth, reconnecting with culture, reconnecting with your ancestors. I’m a big believer that if Country is well then your people are well. It is important for you to just go out and be on Country and be where you feel like you can belong and where you can feel like you can contribute to a healthier world and a healthier future for our next generation." - Lynda Maybanks, Wirrinyah Conservation Services

A very inspirational yarn you don't want to miss!

Listen to the episode here.

IBA created a series of videos and fact sheets for those interested in building their own home. This is to support our regional construction home loans but applies to anyone wanting to review building their own home.

The 5-part video series (20 mins total), called BRICK BY BRICK, includes a discussion between Yawaru woman Justine Kinney and property expert Garrick Smith on how to think through the big steps of construction. The videos were filmed by Supply Nation certified company, The Digital Factory.

Now we have a 3-part fact sheet series of frequently asked questions for:

Check out all the details from our regional construction loan page.

IBA invites you to join us in a panel discussion about what it means to heal country. From sustainable land management practices, using ancient knowledge for healing, and empowering communities to be decision makers in protecting and caring for sacred places - this event is not to be missed.

IBA NAIDOC Virtual Event: Healing Country, Learning from Land.
Thursday 15 July, 12pm – 1pm (AEST)

Panel guests include:

To attend this event, please register via Eventbrite here. Registrations will close 1 hour before the event and a Zoom link will be sent to you on the day of the event.

CfAT ground station

CfAT ground station in Alice Springs NT (photo credit: Since1788 Productions who produced a video on the build - click on the image to view)

CSIRO are working with Australia’s first and only Aboriginal owned-and-operated ground station provider to bring data down to Earth.

The ground station, located near Alice Springs and owned by the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT), will download the data from the NovaSAR-1 satellite as it passes overhead. This data is then sent to the CSIRO so it can be processed and made available to registered users of their national facility for things like agriculture and natural disaster management.

This will mark the first time Australia has managed its own source of Earth observation data.

IBA provided the funding to construct the ground station at CfAT a couple years ago and it launched last year so this is just the next step in the process.

Peter Renehan, CfAT CEO, said access to NovaSAR-1 has the potential to benefit many Indigenous communities, like Indigenous rangers who look after land and sea and can use imagery from space to help do their jobs. It also puts Aboriginal people at the forefront of Australia’s growing space sector.

“It’s important that we can build and own facilities like this right here in central Australia and feel proud that Aboriginal Australians are making such an important contribution to supporting the development of Australia’s sovereign capability in the space industry,” Mr Renehan said.

Read the CSIRO Media Release or check out their blogpost for more detail about the great work of CfAT and CSIRO’s RAP initiatives.

Did you miss our #RealTalkHour – Passion for Fashion event?

Following a historic Australian Fashion Week for First Nations people, our host Nathan McGuire yarned with leading Aboriginal fashion designers and models Felicia Foxx, Liandra Gaykamangu, Samantha Harris and Corina Muir about their experiences and learnings in the industry and their vision for the future of First Nations fashion.

Samantha Harris

“It was so much more than your typical runway – there were singers, there were dancers, there was a performance and thousands and thousands of years of culture. It’s so much more than a pretty dress walking down the runway. It’s history, there’s meaning behind it all.”

Corina Muir, Amber Days

“Everyday I get to work within my values, I’m able to make my business to the way it fits me, I’m not having to jeopardise my culture whilst doing that. I really feel like the space is changing and we’re not just fitting into that space – we’re coming in as us and holding our own space.”

Felicia Foxx

“I don’t just see myself as an entertainer, or just someone who is navigating through these places being a drag Queen, an entertainer or an artist. I see myself as carrying on from what our ancestors have done, telling us stories through art, through expression.”

Liandra Gaykamangu, Liandra Swim

"If you’re wanting to start a label, it’s a business as well. You need to get those skills in business. My biggest piece of advice is not wanting to be an overnight success because by taking your time it allows you to put the logistics in place that you need to be a sustainable business, not just a one hit wonder. I spent 12 months doing a business accelerator with IBA. I learnt so much and I was so grateful for that experience because it really helped me build a strong foundation."

Watch the full discussion on our YouTube channel here.

Owning a home is the single greatest investment most people will make in their lives. Building your home brings pride and joy, however it is complicated and daunting to most people.

IBA created a 5-part series (20 mins total) called BRICK BY BRICK, with Yawaru woman Justine Kinney and property expert Garrick Smith to provide information and comfort to those thinking about taking the big step to construct.

The videos were filmed by Supply Nation certified company, The Digital Factory.

Check out the full playlist on our YouTube channel.

IBA received $150 million in funding from the Federal Government for new customers to construct homes in regional areas (IBA Media Release: Building homes for the future).

Now might be the right time for you to consider building your dream home.

Our regional construction loan package for new customers includes:

NOTE: All new loans are subject to IBA standard loan requirements, fees and charges.

Are you eligible?

Assistance is available to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who live in regional or remote locations. IBA uses the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+). For more information on the ARIA+, please check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website on remoteness structure.

Read more:

Keeping our sector strong

Keeping our Sector Strong: IBA Business Forum

‘Invigorate – Build – Maintain’: words that resonate with many of us at these times, and thus a particular poignant theme for 2020’s Indigenous Business Month. As we wrapped up the month’s focus, we carry on the theme as generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have for thousands of years.

On 12 October IBA held a virtual business forum with the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, and inspiring business owners/leaders, Nicole Stewart and Katrina Fanning, to discuss how they have dealt with the current world.

Invigorate you!

The 2020 theme resonated with Nicole Stewart of Gerrbik Laundry Services. She noted, ‘Those three words mean EVERYTHING to me.’ As a business owner, she emphasised how she first had to invigorate herself after the huge impact that COVID had on her business. Then she could focus on building back.

Eighty per cent of Gerrbik’s business was with the airlines. Nicole had to diversify her business and manage as an entity based in Melbourne’s extended lockdown. Now she’s looking at new ways to service her customers and expand her base.

‘I had to invigorate me…So that I could maintain what business I did have and going forward what I need to build…It was hard and it’s going to be hard,’ said Nicole. ‘There’s a lot people out there that are scared to come back and process their life like they used to pre-COVID.’

Although the pandemic hit hard around the world, the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is unprecedented. Words like ‘unprecedented’, while true, don’t help to invigorate your next steps so the forum’s discussion ventured further into how to manage past the crisis.

The panel was moderated by IBA CEO Rajiv Viswanathan. He noted the discussion comes at a really important time for the Australian economy as a whole but also particularly for the Indigenous business sector.

‘We’ve seen the sector really grow and thrive and we’ve seen business owners across the country demonstrate incredible resilience and ingenuity,’ said Rajiv as the discussion ranged from recognition of the difficulties of 2020 to the positive outlook of the future.

Change is imminent but how we manage that change is key. The panellists gave insight to the diversity of businesses out there and their ability to adapt with the times.

The Minister emphasised that resilience and highlighted a roadmap for the future which must include economic development, employment and education. He noted that we need to look at all the elements to see where the hooks are for Indigenous people to gain the skills to grow opportunities.

Keeping our Sector Strong: IBA Business Forum screenshot

‘When Australia opens up again, it’s going to be a different world,’ said the Minister. ‘So, one of the things we need to look at is where are the opportunities that are different than what we intended in the beginning?’

The Minister noted the challenge will be how do we sustain not only the Indigenous businesses that exist now but grow more. He wants to see Indigenous people directly profiting from Indigenous held land – not handing that over for someone else to run and profit. He noted prospects for global relationships as well as emissions trading schemes and carbon footprint opportunities.

‘We’ve got to seize opportunities, support people on country, and provide the knowledge and skills they will require, plus resources in some instances.’
‘Certainly, IBA will play a critical role in the way in which we partner collectively to build capability among our people,’ said the Minister.

What can IBA do?

Nicole was upfront about running her own business. She noted that when you have a business, you might not have a huge amount of money in the bank. When she found out about IBA’s Business Relief Package, it changed her mind set for her business going forward.

‘My connection with IBA has been a lifeline to me!’ said Nicole. ‘They believed in me which has given me a lot more belief in myself.’

Nicole received a loan/grant package as part of the relief package announced in April 2020. The package was a collaboration with NIAA to provide Indigenous businesses that were impacted by the pandemic (whether an IBA customer or not) with support.

‘That’s where then I could invigorate ME once I was accepted for the loan,’ said Nicole.

Katrina Fanning is the Founder and Director of Coolamon Advisors, an Indigenous partner delivering the Business Relief Package with IBA.

Having met with multiple businesses through the process, Katrina was impressed by how hard they are working and how responsive they’ve been to the support. She said, ‘The diversity of the businesses that we have around the country really surprised me…They are just getting on with whatever it takes to get things moving.’

Katrina is a business owner herself so learned firsthand about the hits of the pandemic. Overnight she lost 3 months of bookings. She talked about how she had to reach out and leverage on her partnerships, as well as have the patience to rethink her service offering.

‘I had to change really quickly and be prepared to look at areas we hadn’t traditional worked in,’ said Katrina. She added, ‘Stay focussed on what’s your core business. Not to spread yourself really thin across a number of ideas as you won’t be able to put all your timing into it.’

Coolamon Advisors were among the many businesses that transitioned to online versus face to face to deliver business assessments with customers for IBA over video or phone.

Youth & women

Our Indigenous youth and women are two groups heavily hit by COVID – both the Minister and Katrina commented about these sectors and harnessing the strength they hold.

The Minister talked about cadetships and internships to leverage the skills of our youth and get them employed and into pathways for real jobs. He also noted the importance of education in the process. Katrina has seen small businesses, particularly family businesses, hit by the pandemic bring young people into the company and find a new invigoration in innovating the way to work.

Futures Forum is an initiative of IBA that is helping to rewrite the future of business that includes culture. Rajiv talked about the initiative and importance young people have as our future leaders.

Katrina and Nicole are part of IBA’s Strong Women Strong Business network and emphasised how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female business owners are not alone in this.

‘We have got incredible resilience where we’re perfect for growing businesses,’ said Nicole. ‘We just got to believe in ourselves.’

She acknowledges it’s not going to be easy, but the rewards outweigh the work.

‘To lay in bed in the night-time and know that you’ve given it your all to get to where you are. Fight the struggles that you might find along the way,’ said Nicole. ‘Chase your dream. Because we can make it happen. IBA will help you, we’ll all help you.’

Final words

Minister Wyatt – ‘I eventually want to see that when we give a contract for a grade separation on a major road that it’s a 100% Aboriginal owned business that wins that contract…On the pathway to having an Indigenous company in the top ASX listing which means that you stand with the top 100-200 companies in this country…We have to dream that way.’

Nicole Stewart (Gerrbik Laundry Services) – ‘Our sector is going to be huge! We’ve faced diversity for many years and won…. But I honestly feel that our sector will go through the roof.’

Katrina Fanning (Coolamon Advisors) – ‘The one I’m most hopeful for is to see a growth in the size and length of the contracts that our businesses start to see, whether it be from government or corporate…I’m looking for those tipping points to open the gates even more.’

Rajiv Viswanathan (IBA) – ‘It’s been a really challenging year but it’s also a year and a time to reimagine what’s possible. And I think you’ve seen from our panel that there’s a lot of passion and inspiration out there that we can really capture as we come out of this phase and come into the recovery process. All of us together want to see this sector continue to thrive.’

View full video recording below:

Did you miss out on our webinar earlier this month? You can watch it in full now.

IBA brought together the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, and inspiring business owners/leaders, Nicole Stewart (CEO of Gerrbik Laundry Services) and Katrina Fanning (Founder/Director of Coolamon Advisors), to discuss how they have dealt with the current world.

The panellists gave insight to the diversity of businesses out there and their ability to adapt with the times and shared their vision for the Indigenous business sector going forward.

If you missed the live event, you can watch it on our YouTube channel here: