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 2020 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 Rhonda Appo on 07 3236 1445 or champions@qtic.com.au

Meet Our Champions!

•            Adam Jones, Experience Co
•            Alan Smith, Outback Aussie Tours, Longreach

•            Alison Smith, The Star Entertainment Group

•            Anthony Corrie, Sarina Russo

•            Birrunga Wiradyuri, Birrunga Gallery and Dining

•            Cameron Costello, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation

•            Chern'ee Sutton, Contemporary Artist

•            Cheryl Thompson, Bacy Base Camp, Barcaldine

•            David Hudson, Didgeralia, Cairns

•            David Williams, GILIMBAA

•            Eddie Ruska,  Spirits of the Red Sand, Brisbane

•            Emily Tanna, Compass Group Australia Pty Ltd

•            Geoff Hogg, The Star Entertainment Group·

•            Greg Erwin, Sun Lover Reef Cruises
•            Greg Yong, Dreamworld

•            Jacob Cassady, Mungalla Station, Ingham North Queensland

•            Joe Sproats, Platypus Wealth Institute

•            Johnny Murison, Jarramali Enterprises, Gordonvale

•            Josh Hanley, Accor Hotels

•            Kerryn Collins, Spirits of the Red Sand

•            Leanne Ruska, Spirits of the Red Sand

•            Lloyd Mills, Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame

•            Marie Taylor, Reef Magic Cruises

•            Mark Greaves, Visit Queensland

•            Michelle Thompson, Spirits of the Red Sand, Yuggera

•            Monique Harmer, Pullman Cairns International and Novotel Oasis Resort

•            Mundanara Bayles, The BlackCard

•            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

•            Russell Boswell, Savannah Guides, North Queensland

•            Shannon Ruska, Tribal Experiences

•            Shirley Hollingsworth, Tjapukai Cultural Park

•            Tarragh Cunningham, Queensland Art Gallery

•            Tom Howard, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Brisbane

•            Tony Martin, Qantas Founders Museum

•            Tracy Kearney, Prestige Services, Gold Coast