July 21st, 2021


It’s pretty astounding to think we’re already halfway through 2021 and yet not so surprising at all given the amount of exciting projects and activities on our radar. Over the past couple of months, the DEAL team has been busy progressing on a range of projects including:

  • Driving industry growth and diversification in the region, particularly in forestry
  • Expanding information resources for East Arnhem, by tracking progress on industry and economic growth to supplement limited data available about the region
  • Announcing a new partnership with the Chamber of Commerce NT and Industry Capability Network NT 
  • Supporting Yolŋu directors from organisations across the region to attend a training session run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Specific for Indigenous businesses, the session continues our commitment to ensuring all businesses across the region have access to the tools they need for success.

You can read more about these projects in this newsletter.  

Finally, I recently announced that I will be stepping down from my current position at the end of 2021 following the completion of my three year contract. The DEAL Board and I have recognised the importance of a well-planned transition for a new CEO. As such, we have now commenced recruitment to ensure we have the best candidate in place before my departure and can facilitate a strong induction and handover. 
I am proud of what I have achieved during my time at DEAL, but also look forward to a big second half of the year as we aim to deliver on a host of key projects.


In early May, Chris and Ryley from the DEAL team volunteered in the small homeland of Birany Birany as part of the East Arnhem Forestry Research project. Community members, project members and volunteers created trial plots/sites, mapped trees for height, diameter and species with a newly developed app, and cleared some trial sites from natural debris and non-targeted trees to see if targeted trees grow better under managed conditions. The first trees felled were used to build a shade structure and meeting place in Birany Birany, prepare bark the traditional way to use for paintings and to make spears and yidaki (didgeridoo).

The early success in selling by-product bark to art centres to use for traditional paintings is a great outcome and is generating an income to this community.

Completed shade structure at Birany Birany
Bark being prepared the traditional way to use for paintings


In June, we launched two new important resources on our website – an East Arnhem economic and community profile, and an online presence for Invest East Arnhem.

East Arnhem economic and community profile

The economic and community profile for East Arnhem sits on the main DEAL website, and is designed to track the progress of the East Arnhem region against our vision as outlined in our Strategic Plan 2020-25. It provides a range of data and indicators that are collated in one easy to access location.

Invest East Arnhem

Last year, we released Invest East Arnhem to assist those interested in exploring investment opportunities in the region. We have now converted this document into an online presence to ensure its contents are easily searchable and accessible by those looking for more information about our fantastic region.


We are excited to announce a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce NT (Chamber) and Industry Capability Network (ICN) NT to place a full time joint position in Nhulunbuy. This position will add great capacity to the business support network in the region, by ensuring East Arnhem businesses have access to a Chamber and ICN resource on the ground. Through the Chamber, businesses can access a range of training, industrial and employment relations support. Through ICN, businesses are supported to access tendering and subcontracting opportunities on significant projects across the region.

Alicia Byron will commence in the role in late July, and is very excited about getting to know our regional businesses, while working closely with them to maximise their access to the great resources of both the Chamber and ICN. Alicia is an experienced manager with operations, leadership, product management and project management experience. With a background in small business and banking, she will be a great asset to this region and our wider team.


In June, Jordy, Emma and Ryley from the DEAL team hosted an Economic Development Australia webinar on best practice approaches to economic development on Aboriginal land. More than 50 people registered for the webinar, and the feedback and questions following the session showed it was an area of keen interest for those in attendance. 


In June, DEAL hosted the Australian Institute of Company Directors to deliver its second Foundations of Directorship course for Yolŋu directors from across East Arnhem. Scholarships funded by the AICD and the NT Government, with travel funding support from DEAL, enabled 17 attendees from over seven East Arnhem communities and homelands to attend the three day course in Nhulunbuy. Ten Indigenous organisations from across the region were represented at the course.  

It was great to see strong engagement from all attendees. We look forward to hearing how the participating boards and organisations will benefit from the course, as attendees apply the skills and learnings they gained.

AICD course classroom and attendees
AICD course attendees


In recognition of NAIDOC Week, DEAL hosted a team lunch on the lawns of Gayŋaru Wetlands, along with our colleagues from the NT Government. Timmy Djawa Burarrwanga, Rita Wopurruwuy Gondarra and Diana Djawundil Maymuru from Bawaka Aboriginal Corporation joined the group in the outdoor classroom to share knowledge and stories on working in two worlds. They also supported the team on how to work better with Yolŋu on their country. Timmy, Rita and Diana were patient teachers and provided some excellent takeaway points for the team to reflect on and implement in our workplace.

NAIDOC Week outdoor classroom
Posted in: DEAL news