What’s New



Welcome to the October 2022 edition of the IBN Wangka.

Message from CEO, Dale Brown

Since my last update, the team at IBN have been working hard as usual to bring some changes to the way we service the needs of our members.

The distribution of the Purchasing Card, which we first advised members of at the EGM in June this year, has met with a few unexpected delays. 

IBN is one of very few organisations who claim and recirculate up to $500,000 per annum of GST on your Community Programs purchases. This was not foreseen as an issue when we first sort a card solution, and other organisations are now following suit.

To ensure clarity on whether we can still claim back GST on Community Programs purchases, we have had to delay the issue of the card about 3 months. I personally want to apologise to you for not foreseeing this issue in my first few months with IBN, but we will deliver a very good product when done.

We are still progressing with the purchasing card project, and are about to undertake  user testing of the purchasing card in collaboration with your representative corporation members, to ensure it will be easy to use and a positive member experience.

We have also reached the selection of the vendor who will develop our new data systems platforms which will include the Member Portal. This portal will make claims far easier and far quicker. This project is on time and we foresee no delays.

At the upcoming Joint Boards Meeting this month, where we meet with your representative corporation members, we will be discussing the next survey of members. This process is to ensure that your representatives have the opportunity to ask you questions about what they need to represent you for. 

IBN Review Update

Earlier this year, I advised of your Board commissioning an independent review of our performance as trustee, which you can read about here; IBN Performance Review – A Message from the CEO – IBN Group

IBN awarded Indigenous Management Group WA (IMGWA) through a competitive tendering process, to review IBN’s performance of managing your Trust.

This process has been extremely beneficial for you, the Member, the IBN Board, Staff and Stakeholders. From this review, we learned that IBN is effectively managing your trust in its current format.

From the recommendations, we learned about the areas we need to improve in and the areas we can examine to possibly modernise your Trust. 

Some of the recommendations will be easy to implement as your IBN Board have already been discussing these and are already advanced in the process. Other recommendations will take a little more consideration as we determine changes and how we impact the charitable allowance. 

We have published the full IMGWA report to the website, and you read the report here. 

The following are the closing comments and a summary of the IMGWA recommendations.

IMGWA Summary

The scope of this assessment included the following areas:

1. Corporate Governance

IBN has a proactive approach towards creating and establishing thorough governance structures. The assessment of the documents referred in section 2, further supports this statement. There is room for improvement on the organisational structure and strategic plan.

2. Finance and investments

IBN complied to the Trust Deed, including budgets meeting the expectations of the guiding principles. Actual spend compared to the budget for programs was significantly lower, however, leaving surplus funds available. Operating expenses trended to be more efficient from 2017 through to 2021.

3. Social Impact

IBN’s overall investment into programs for members is strong. IBN Program Allowances tended to be at the higher end of the spectrum, when compared to other Pilbara-based trusts. Survey results demonstrate support for the overall programs offered by IBN. There is an acknowledgement and opportunity to improve member support and grievance handling, through a variety of training courses, and better utilisation of the personnel within the organisation.

4. Cultural appropriateness of IBN

IBN has maintained a 50% Aboriginal staffing, supporting a culturally safe workplace. The cultural responsiveness of IBN’s services could be improved, however, understanding the inherent challenges with having three (3) different language groups representing the organisation. Having a stronger working relationship with the Rep Corps may allow for more culturally appropriate services and programs to be designed for members

The performance evaluation of each section, and overall, is summarised below.

  • Corporate Governance: 4 out of 5
  • Finance: 4 out of 5
  • Social Impact: 4 out of 5
  • Cultural Appropriateness: 3.5 out of 5

IMGWA assessed IBN’s overall performance as 3.95 out of 5 (79%).

IMGWA have consolidated the assessment, identifying key recommendations to further IBN and its members:

  • Consult with the Community as to their requirements for a review of the Trust Deed, and which areas are to be addressed. Members should be provided information on what changes can be made, and the processes involved in implementing the change.
  • Conduct a review of the Trust Deed in consultation with Representative Corporations, to consider the modernisation of the Deed to better reflect the goals and aspirations.
  • Prepare a simple to read document for all IBN Members and representatives of the Aboriginal Corporations to better understand the Trust Deed, IBN Constitution, and IBN Service Agreement, as well as the process to adjust these documents to reflect their needs/wants.
  • Reinvestment of annual program budget surplus funds directly into member wealth creation through various pathways, including housing, or business development.
  • Consideration for a Perth Support Office, where 31% of members reside, would significantly increase the in-person support to an estimated 67% of the total membership. The inclusion of a Perth office may also contribute to improved CEO retention rates, an acknowledged challenge over the previous five (5) years.
    Reintroduction of Member Liaisons across the Head Office and Support Offices.
  • Development and implementation of a Cultural Awareness Training Program for the IBN Board and all Employees, with the intention of improving cultural understanding when liaising with IBN members.
  • Undertaking Customer Delivery training for the IBN Board and all Employees, with the intention of improving service delivery, handling of difficult situations, and deescalating erratic behaviour.
  • Creation of progression pathways, inclusive of mentoring and development, for Aboriginal employees, who strive for future leadership positions including CEO and Chief Finance Officer (CFO), whether it be for IBN or other entities.
  • Development and implementation of an online member portal to streamline the program application process. It is acknowledged that development has commenced.
  • Undertake independent reviews, including member surveys, on a minimum annual basis to enable concerns to be addressed in a timely manner.

IMGWA believe that by undertaking the above key recommendations, IBN will strengthen its capability and capacity to meet the various objectives of the three key pillars by which it represents.

The IBN Board acknowledges these recommendations and thanks IMGWA and are currently working through each of them to determine what is the best outcome for the members.


Courtney Charles – Finalist in WA Training Awards

Meet Courtney, a proud Banyjima woman.

Courtney wasn’t ready to move to Perth for university, so she applied for an Administration Traineeship role with BHP through North Regional TAFE. It means she can stay in South Hedland with her family, while completing a Certificate III in Business and working for BHP.

Courtney has just been named as a finalist in the WA Training Awards, where she was up for WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

“I am honoured and grateful just to be nominated in the Awards. It’s so exciting to be part of such a great opportunity and I look forward to representing my family, culture and company.”

Congratulations to Courtney in being selected as one of 4 Finalists in the WA Training Awards ceremony, held on the 21st of September in Perth, but Courtney’s already a winner in BHP’s and IBN’s eyes.


NAIDOC week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and
achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that
Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. This year’s theme is Get Up!
Stand Up! Show Up! We must all make a sincere commitment with the relationships
between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous
Australians based on justice, equity, and the proper recognition of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights.

NAIDOC Day South Hedland – Staff Awards

We congratulate our Community Programs Senior Administration Officer, and Banyjima Member Barbie McKenzie (nee Derschow) on winning the IBN Staff NAIDOC award, and all our staff who received certificates for their hard work in organising/running this special event. A special thank you to Field Officer, Thomas Hunter for all his hard work in organising all the events and entertainment.


The Karratha team celebrated NAIDOC on the green at Karratha Centro, it kicked off with the flag raising ceremony held at City of Karratha office followed by a community BBQ and entertainment. Aunty Marianne Tucker and Aunty Saelene-Nancy Tommy-Hicks enjoyed their time yarning and eating cupcakes with the community.

Banjo Lockyer (Banyjima student) is a year 6 student at Karratha Primary School. He was given the NAIDOC spirit award in appreciation for taking part in all of the NAIDOC activities held at his school. Together with the children, our Karratha Team Leader, Ivanna Sambo, made Torres Strait Islander casava balls. It is critical for the next generation to participate in our cultural events in order to pass down knowledge and keep our culture strong.

NAIDOC Day Tom Price

NAIDOC celebrations were once again held on the town village green with a great cultural showcase from our IBN community members.

The evening opened with a Welcome to Country by Eastern Gurruma Traditional Owner Wayne Stevens followed by a corroboree performed by Yinhawangka member, Marlon Cooke and dancers, Roderrick Hughes, Curtis Smith, Frankie Benning Jnr and Marlon’s daughter Maddie.

Throughout the night, the crowds enjoyed free activities from stalls run by various community groups including IBN, Gumala, Tom Price Arts Hub, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation, Tom Price Youth Support Association, Shire of Ashburton and the local Torres Strait Islander (TSI) group Mura Mabai Ghauw Buai who cooked some traditional TSI food for people to taste.

Banyjima Elder Sandra Cox also held a damper making session for anyone to try their hand at making their own damper, which went down nicely with a bowl of kangaroo stew.

Nyiyaparli member Bradley Hall provided some great tunes throughout the night with his touring band “ Bradley Hall Band.”

It was great to see everyone coming together to celebrate, share and learn more about the local Indigenous culture through dance, music, and food.

2022 AGM – Save the Date

This year, IBN will again make our hybrid meeting option available, meaning that our members can attend the AGM in person or online.

Full details will be provided very soon.

R U OK Day

R U Ok Day is a national day of action when we are reminded that every day is the day to ask, Are You OK? and start a meaningful conversation whenever we spot signs that someone we care about might be struggling.

South Hedland – R U OK Day

Our South Hedland Team recognised this with a morning tea on Friday the 9th September 2022 for our staff.

CEO, Dale Brown, took the opportunity to reiterate to staff the importance of looking after our holistic wellbeing and to access available assistance offered by IBN.

IBN  invited Har and Monica from Relationship Australia as guest speakers. Relationship Australia has shared with staff the various programs available to support for individuals, couples, families, and communities.

Staff were engaged in an interactive activity which brought laughter and positive comments to break the ice.

The Staff connected well and were in a positive state of mind.

Karratha – R U OK Day

Our Karratha Team collaborated with Puutu Kunti Kurrama People (PKKP) and Robe River Kuruma Aboriginal Corporations to host a community event to recognise R U OK Day. 

This event was the most well attended R U OK? day event so far, with plenty of members from the three organisations attending, along with a number of community providers such as Gumala 3A, Aboriginal Mental Health, Headspace, Mission Australia, Act Belong Commit, and Yaandina.

The local State Member for the Pilbara, Kevin Michel MLA even provided a fruit stand in addition to the beautiful BBQ, cooked by several students from Clontarf. 

Colin Churnside provided the Welcome to Country and Ngaarda Media helped to provide music and their radio station incorporating the speakers on the day, who were strong enough to stand up and “tell their story”.

It was a most successful day and worthwhile event.

From IBN Services | Meet Bernard Fischer – IBNS Team Leader

Bernard (pictured above) began at IBN Services in 2015, recruited as a Horticulturist to work with the IBNS team in production of Pilbara native plants for the John Holland Highway realignment that had been completed a few years before. 

He learnt a heap by trial and error and local knowledge to propagate many interesting Pilbara species. 

‘It has been a great journey for me to work in a unique environment both the physical environment of the Pilbara but also IBN Corporation as an employee. Great opportunities to see plants in this unique place but also to get to know amazing people he otherwise would never have met.’ 

His journey continues.

From IBN Services | Meet Jordan Ingie – Operator

Jordan (pictured above) is a Yinhawangka Member, and started working with IBN Services several years ago through IMMS. During this time he has attained Certificate II and Certificate III in Horticulture. He likes working with the IBNS Team because of what they do, which is working with plants but also the people that work here with him.

From the General Hands, Leading Hand, Supervisor, Team Leader and the Manager because everyone here has something to offer in knowledge so he can learn more every day.

Jordan also credits our Senior HR Coordinator who has helped him.

Elders Birthday Celebration – Tom Price

It has been a busy few months in the Tom Price Office.

We hit the ground running for our very first NAIDOC event, a collaborative effort with East Pilbara Independence Support (EPIS) Tom Price and Gumala to celebrate the “Elders Birthday” traditionally on the 1st of July.

Invitations were sent out to all our Elders and core community networks from Tom Price and Paraburdoo to come along for a special luncheon.

Yinhawangka member, Roderick Hughes and friend Jay, showed their cooking skills and cooked up a big feed of damper, fresh kangaroo stew and other stews for everyone to enjoy.

Roderick said he was happy to do this for the Elders.

The event was commemorated with a Welcome to Country and speeches given by Wayne Stevens from Judih Judih Aboriginal Corporation and East Pilbara Independence Support (EPIS) Corporate Services Manager, who came from Newman to join in on the celebrations.

Field Officer, Jugari Drummond spoke on the meaning behind the Elders Birthday, growing up on stations and being allocated birthdays by authorities of the day.

Special items were sung by the local Te Kohanga Reo Iti o Tame Utu group, Wayne Stevens, and duet effort by Marianne Hearne from the Tom Price Youth Centre and Abel Dickerson.

Elders were spoilt with birthday gifts and amazing birthday cupcakes made especially by Grace Leano, Tom Price IBN’s new Administration Officer.

It was a great collaborative day to celebrate our Elders and acknowledge their life and their journey.

Workforce Update

Recently the IBN team has welcomed some new starters.

Tanae Scott | Administration Officer – South Hedland Office

Ivanna Sambo | Team Leader – Karratha Office

Grace Leano | Administration Officer – Tom Price Office

IBN would like to welcome Banyjima Member Tanae Scott 

Tanae (pictured above) is a proud Banyjima and Yawuru woman born and raised in Hedland, who is the eldest of 6 children and was involved in indigenous after school studies throughout primary and high school. 

Tanae became a member of IBN in 2018. Tanae has been working for IBN since June 2022, beginning as a contractor through IMMS, before commencing in the full time IBN position as Administration Officer with the Community Programs Team in the South Hedland Office.

Ivanna Sambo (pictured above) was recently appointed Team Leader for the IBN office in Karratha.

Ivanna commenced as a contractor through IMMS in 2018, before commencing the full time IBN role as a Field Officer in 2019.

Ivanna will graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Indigenous Professional Practices this year, and her abilities, experience and qualities will create a positive impact on the IBN community.

We also welcome Grace Leano, who recently commenced in our Tom Price Office as Administration Officer.

Grace has the important role of providing administrative support through a variety of tasks to ensure efficient office operations for the Community and Member Services department in Tom Price.

Training Courses

More Pre-Paid Placements have been made at various TAFE locations and Members who are interested in the following courses can take them by registering their interest at https://ibngroup.com.au/training-course-list/

Member can also contact one our Field Officers more more information or support by phoning 1800 014 401 or by emailing trainingeoi@ibngroup.com.au

Got a good yarn for the IBN Wangka?

Email communications@ibngroup.com.au or call the IBN Office on 08 91400 900 and ask to speak to our Communications Officer.

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