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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Team Members

Outback Stores strives to provide clear and obtainable career pathways for aspiring staff.

Bonnie Nunggumajbarr

Bonnie is from Ngukurr Community located 635km south east of Darwin by the banks side of the Roper River, with Kriol being the main language spoken. She was born and raised in Ngukurr but most of her family are from Numbulwar and the Daly River community. She also features on the front cover of this years’ annual report.

After graduating from secondary school, Bonnie worked in a few different jobs including at the Aged Care Centre and Gulman Centre before taking up an opportunity with the Ngukurr General Store as a sales assistant in 2010. Over the past 10 years Bonnie has established herself as an integral part of the team at the store.

“Bonnie is a role model to the young ladies in the community. She shares her knowledge and helps the store managers in training new staff at the store. Also, she is one of the most reliable and responsible staff members with her duties. She is bridging the gap between managers and the Indigenous staff with language, culture and behaviours,” said store manager Manjula Kalatuwage.

During her 10 years working at the store, Bonnie took a break in 2016 due to the passing of her grandmother. In 2017 Bonnie returned and completed her Certificate II in Retail. During this time she developed further interest in retail as a career. She has now gone on to complete her Certificate IV in Retail Management this year.

“My future goal is one day to become a manager at the Ngukurr General Store. I’ve really enjoyed completing my retail training whilst working at the same time. This has helped me a lot with developing my skills and knowledge to take the next step towards my goal,” said Bonnie.

“I’m lucky to have really great support from my family and in particular my parents. I know they want so see me do well in my career and I’m really keen to make them proud.”

Madeline Lawford

Madeline Lawford works in the Ngarlan Store in the Beagle Bay Community located on the western side of the Dampier Peninsula, 129km north of Broome. Most of her family are from the community and still live locally.

Madeline has always been passionate about supporting others going through challenging times. After completing boarding school in Perth, Madeline took up an opportunity in Cairns to complete her Certificate III Community Services and Certificate IV Indigenous Mental Health (Suicide Prevention).

Over the following years Madeline would use these skills to support others in her community that were facing challenges or tough times in life.

In 2017 Madeline took up an opportunity with the Narlan Store. With her caring and compassionate nature, working with customers was always going to be a natural fit and something that Madeline would enjoy.

“I really enjoy seeing people come into the store. It’s great to talk to people, see how they are going and of course give them a hand if they need one,” said Madeline.

The following year Madeline was offered an opportunity to complete Certificate lll in Retail, jumped at the chance and went on to complete the qualification in the same year. Madeline has now completed her Certificate IV in Retail Management which she hopes will assist her in managing the store in the future.

Store manager, Melissa Rankine, has been working closely with Madeline on building her skills and experience at the store over the past 12 months.

“Madeline is a real asset to the store. She has a great knowledge of the store’s operations and shows fantastic initiative. She has also played a mentoring role for younger staff in the store,” said Melissa.

“Her goal has always been to either work in a shop or to be a teacher as she loves working with people. To assist in managing the store in the future would be a fantastic achievement.”

Dotty Repu

Dotty is from Maningrida Community located in West Arnhem Land 520km east of Darwin. Her Mother is from the Martay clan group in Maningrida and her father is from Boigu and Mabuiage Island in the Torres Strait, where her family still reside.

After graduating from Darwin High School, Dotty finished her school-based traineeship with Westpac, completing her Certificate III in Business Administration.

She then moved home to Maningrida and was quickly recruited by Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) as its receptionist for 12 months before embarking on a traineeship with National Indigenous Training Academy based at the Ayers Rock resort, completing a Certificate III in Hospitality.

After completing her traineeship, Dotty returned home with BAC offering her a multi- faceted role across Human Resources, Accounts Payable, Housing, and Property Management where she would gain valuable on-the-job experience.

Over this time BAC had built a strong relationship with Outback Stores (OBS). When a role became available at the support office in Darwin, Dotty was encouraged to apply by both organisations. She was successful in her application, moving to Darwin in February 2020, and taking on a new role as Operations Administration Assistant.

“I’m really enjoying helping Outback Stores in making a difference with all the communities that we work with. I have lived and worked in community and understand what it’s like to live out bush. My next goal is to complete a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management and, with time, hopefully move up into a leadership role at OBS and continue to help support our communities and homelands”, said Dotty.

“One of my passions is to help our mob living out on country as it is important for our mob to keep our culture strong and share knowledge.”