Case Study – Minjerribah Camping Pty Ltd, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland
Creating opportunities through strong partnerships.
The Minjerribah Camping Pty Limited business venture was the result of three years of negotiations between IBA and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) Registered Native Title Body Corporate.
The first enterprise of the joint venture – Straddie Camping – is generating economic, employment and social benefits for the Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke Island.
The island’s original camping business – Straddie Holiday Parks – was previously under the trusteeship of Queensland’s Redland City council.
A historic Native Title Determination transferred ownership of the business and control of the land on which it was operating from the council to QYAC.
Prior to the determination, QYAC – in partnership with IBA – was negotiating with the Council to purchase the camping business, after identifying its potential to generate employment and revenue for the island’s Indigenous population.
QYAC Chair Cameron Costello led the negotiations alongside Elder Uncle Bob Anderson. He recalls that the negotiation process was unique. ‘It was initially IBA and QYAC negotiating with Redland City Council’, he said.
‘But when the Native Title Determination came down, and we were suddenly trustees of the island, it became QYAC negotiating with IBA. That was an interesting situation because suddenly Uncle Bob and I were on opposite sides of the table to David Vigar [IBA’s Head of Acquisitions] and Will Tynan [IBA’s Manager of Acquisitions] having these hard core discussions.
‘And then in the end – because we all wanted the same outcome – we’d shake hands and say ‘see you in the boardroom later mate’.
IBA and QYAC signed their commitment to the joint venture on North Stradbroke Island in November 2012.
The camping business has now been rebranded as Straddie Camping. Minjerribah Camping has taken over administration and management of the island’s six holiday parks and two foreshore camping grounds (a total of 1,200 sites).
With more than 85,000 people visiting North Stradbroke Island each year, the venture is producing significant employment and income outcomes for the Quandamooka community.
Currently 50 per cent of staff are Indigenous, with further employment expected from a capital works program to upgrade and expand camping facilities, create public art and signage and further develop the island’s tourism and cultural potential.
Uncle Bob Anderson believes this employment will encourage Quandamooka people to remain or return to working on their island home.
The business venture has the approval of local Elders, who in February 2013 bestowed their blessings, prayers and gifts on Straddie Camping’s staff, stakeholders and bookings office.
‘The blessing delivered an important message to the Indigenous community about their ownership of the joint venture’, said QYAC Chair Cameron Costello. ‘It was a really good and important way to say this is not just an IBA thing; this is actually our business, in partnership with IBA’.