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Kamilaroi entrepreneur from Gunnedah expresses interest in the vacant CEO position at the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council

August 26, 2020 Appointments / Movers & Shakers No Comments Email Email

The Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) in Gunnedah has struggled to keep their doors open due to a lack of support from the NSW Land Council and Office of the Registrar for the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW).

Despite community members lodging complaints about governance issues including a current Director of the Red Chief LALC who supposedly threaten to burn their office down which was noted in a board meeting, the NSW Land Council and Office of the Registrar have failed to provide a culturally safe environment for members of the community and questions have now been raised over the Red Chief LALC’s ongoing operations which have not had a CEO running the business since the start of 2019.

Dean Foley, a Kamilaroi entrepreneur who grew up in Gunnedah and graduated from St Mary’s College said he was disappointed with the lack of support from organisations that are supposed to be helping local Aboriginal organisations but has made his ambitions to take charge of the Red Chief LALC by confirming that he can turn things around as CEO.

“I’ve seen the NSW Land Council be very proactive in the media and public relations side of things but it’s sad to see they aren’t supporting the grassroots community organisations like they are supposed to, especially since it’s supposed to be run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal. I don’t expect much from the Office of the Registrar since it’s run by non-Indigenous people as a NSW Government entity, but it’s sad to hear that the NSW Land Council isn’t helping as much as they could…”

Dean has enjoyed a successful career as an Indigenous entrepreneur after founding Barayamal in 2017 and has won numerous awards including the Entrepreneurship Award at the 2017 Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Awards and was the only Indigenous entrepreneur to participate as a judge and speaker at a TechCrunch Startup Battlefield event – the world’s preeminent startup competition.

“It was a big decision for me because of the work we’re doing at Barayamal, but the Red Chief LALC had $6 million in assets in its last financial report, it’s more than just another Indigenous business, if given the right support and run properly, it could have a massive positive impact in the local Aboriginal community.”

When asked what were some of the first steps he would take to help turn around the Red Chief LALC, Dean said he would turn his energies to creating a culturally supportive environment for members and audit financials since the last CEO.

“The Director who supposedly threatened to burn down the Red Chief LALC only received one vote to become a Director…so we would first need to establish strong governance procedures that appropriately deal with a minority of individuals who are terrorising their own community for their own agenda, which will create a place where everyone is comfortable in engaging with the Red Chief LALC.”

The CEO of the Red Chief LALC needs to be able to operate the business with the best interest of Gunnedah’s Aboriginal community in mind, and Dean has an impressive history in that area since Barayamal is a world leader in Indigenous entrepreneurship.

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