Our QTIC Indigenous Champions Network began in 2008. Commencing with 16 volunteer tourism businesses that have exhibited best practice and commitment to business leadership culture that is inclusive of Indigenous people; ensuring that Indigenous people are active participants and valued members of their businesses and the broader tourism industry. The tourism industry looks to this network of Champions as an industry leader, industry advocate and holder of advice and expertise for engaging with Indigenous people.

In 2015, with the support of The Star Entertainment Group, three employee networks were established to support Indigenous employees within the industry.

Currently there are more than 35 Champions involved in increasing the participation of Indigenous employees within in the industry.

This is the first project of its kind in Queensland and aims to increase operators’ awareness on how to encourage and maintain increased participation of Indigenous Australians within the mainstream tourism industry. The Champions strive to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to choose tourism and hospitality as an employment and career pathway.

From 2009-2013 there were 160 Indigenous Queenslanders placed in employment in the tourism industry with additional jobs recorded anecdotally. With our support, and that of The Star Entertainment Group, the Champions Network currently strives to:

  • Gain an additional 1000 new Indigenous faces in Queensland tourism industry by 2020
  • Add an additional 20 Indigenous controlled businesses in tourism by 2020
  • Support a network of Indigenous employees
  • Expand the network to increase the number of employers committed to employing Indigenous people


The Champions work collectively to identify potential opportunities, support workplace experiences, and invest in the development of resources that assist in recruitment, employment and retention of Indigenous people in the tourism industry.

Resources are regularly updated and published on our website.

The Network continues to provide input into relevant discussion papers, resources and events which may contribute to the increased recruitment of Indigenous people.

We are continually expanding the Network, and are actively seeking businesses and support agencies who would like to join us in pro-actively supporting the employment of Indigenous people within the tourism industry. 

For more information please contact our Indigenous Program Manager Rhona Appo on 07 3236 1445 or champions@qtic.com.au

Meet Our Champions!

  • Al Mucci, Dreamworld, Gold Coast
  • Alan Smith, Outback Aussie Tours, Longreach
  • Alison Smith, The Star Entertainment Group
  • Amery Burleigh, Sofitel Gold Coast
  • Anthony Corrie, Sarina Russo
  • Cameron Costello, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation
  • Chern'ee Sutton, Artist
  • Cheryl Thompson, Bacy Base Camp, Barcaldine
  • David Hudson, Didgeralia, Cairns
  • David Williams, GILIMBAA
  • Eddie and Shannon Ruska, Great Australian Experiences – Spirits of the Red Sand, Brisbane
  • Edmond Power, Accor Hotels
  • Emily Tanna, Compass Group Australia Pty Ltd
  • Geoff Hogg, The Star Entertainment Group·
  • Greg Erwin, First Australians Capital
  • Jacob Cassady, Mungalla Station, Ingham North Queensland
  • Jai Leighton, The Star Entertainment Group, Gold Coast
  • Joe Sproats, Platypus Wealth Institute and Dreamtime Learning, Ingham
  • Johnny Murison, Jarramali Enterprises, Gordonvale
  • Josh Hanley, Accor Hotels
  • Kim Dorward, Voyages
  • Lloyd Mills, Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame
  • Marie Taylor, Reef Magic Cruises
  • Mark Greaves, Visit Queensland
  • Maryanne Jacques, Adventure North Australia and the Bama Way
  • Monique Harmer, Pullman Cairns International and Novotel Oasis Resort
  • Mundanara Bayles, The BlackCard
  • Neil Mergard, 1770 Environmental Tours, 1770
  • Olivia Evans, Sandstone Park, Carnarvon Gorge 
  • Paul Morton, Novotel Surfers Paradise
  • Paul Victory, Sealink QLD & NT Pty Ltd
  • Penny Cleland, CaPTA Group, Cairns
  • Peter Lenoy, UMI Arts Ltd, Cairns
  • Preston Campbell, Preston Campbell Foundation
  • Robert Henderson, The Henderson Gallery
  • Russell Boswell, Savannah Guides, North Queensland
  • Shirley Hollingsworth, Tjapukai Cultural Park
  • Sonya Jeffrey, Ingan Tours, North Queensland
  • Tarragh Cunningham, Queensland Art Gallery
  • Tom Howard, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Brisbane
  • Tracy Kearney, Prestige Services, Gold Coast