QTIC Indigenous Employment Forum 2017

November was an enormous month for tourism industry events in Queensland, and among the events was the 7th Annual Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) Indigenous Employment Forum held on the 8th of November 2017 at the Pullman Hotel in Brisbane. The delegates were all greeted at the registration desk with warm smiles from the QTIC representatives who then directed us towards coffee and tea while engaging in pre-event conversations with other attendees. I attended the forum as a representative of the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (SEQICC).

Welcoming delegates to the Forum was the QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind. The Welcome to Country speech was presented by Yuggera descendent Shannon Ruska, the Opening Address was provided by Helena Wright of DATSIP, and the Key Note Address was delivered by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy from the Northern Territory.

The impressive array of speakers throughout the Forum provided insightful, educational and valuable information. The breakout sessions contained practical and informative advice, and the panel of tourism business operators provided us with interesting discussions – one of them bestowed us with an especially entertaining presentation to say the least. It was also refreshing to learn that QTIC and other tourism and hospitality operators are champions in mentoring and nurturing young talent to become future leaders in the tourism industry. The event was concluded with the final remarks of QTIC’s General Manager of Business Strategy Brett Kapernick.

The Forum was followed by a networking function where everyone had the opportunity to meet in a friendly atmosphere while enjoying drinks and ample amounts of appetizing canapes. I had a chance to catch up with familiar faces, to form new business relationships, and to add some fabulous people to my list of friends.

Thank you to Nathan Appo for hosting a well-run event which was cram packed with interesting information delivered by respected and knowledgeable speakers. Finally, but certainly not least, I would like to acknowledge the magnificent efforts of Rhonda Appo for organizing an exceptional event – definitely a hard act to follow!

Following are a few images from the event, but before signing off I’d like to say I’m looking forward to attending the next QTIC Indigenous Employment Forum.


Roma Williams-Pregarc

Board and Management Committee of SEQICC and Director of Dreamtime Concepts

#QTIC #Indigenous #Employment #Tourism #Queensland #SEQICC #DreamtimeConcepts #GC2018


7th Annual QTIC Tourism Indigenous Employment Forum 2017 Program

Registration Desk and QTIC Representatives

Pre-event networking with refreshments

Roma Williams-Pregarc with host Nathan Appo

Roma Williams-Pregarc with event organizer Rhonda Appo

Host Nathan Appo opening and introducing the event

Very high attendance numbers at the Forum

Welcoming delegates to the Forum was QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind

Key note address by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy

Dr Lisa Ruhanen from the University of Queensland providing tourism visitation statistics

Roma Williams-Pregarc having a yarn with Mundanara Bayles, daughter Tiga Lilly and sister Yarraka

Beverley Coleman and Louisa Panuel from the Office of the Commonwealth Games are ready … set … and counting down for GC2018

Sandee Harris of the Department of Employment speaking about trial internship placements

Kathryn Morton advised on what’s new in the world of Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ)

Panel discussion on ‘How can you be an employer of choice through culturally aware practices’ with Shannon Ruska, Cheryl Thompson, Preston Campbell and a special mention for Johnny Murison who provided an entertaining presentation about his journey with Jarramali Enterprises

BlackCard Cultural Tour Guides Cassy, Mara, Roma, Yarraka and Scotty enjoying drinks and canapes at the Employment Forum networking function at the Sixteen Antlers venue at the Pullman Hotel


An Acknowledgment of Country is a way of showing awareness of and respect for the traditional custodians of the land on which a meeting or event is being held, and recognizes the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country. An Acknowledgment of Country can be informal or formal and involves acknowledging the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owners of the land as well as recognizing the long and continuing relationship between Indigenous peoples and their Country. At a meeting occasion, the speaker can begin the proceedings by offering an Acknowledgment of Country and it can be performed by an Indigenous or non–Indigenous person. There are no set protocols or wording for an Acknowledgment of Country, though often a statement may take the following form:

‘I am honored to be on the ancestral lands of the <insert traditional area name> people. I acknowledge the First Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose cultures are among the oldest living cultures in human history. I pay respect to the elders of the community and extend my recognition to their descendants and other Indigenous people who are present.’

This information is from the Reconciliation Australia Fact Sheet ‘Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country’.


Bilin Bilin also known as Jackey Jackey, King of Logan and Pimpama (c.1820-1901), was a prominent leader of the Yugambeh people of south-east Queensland. Bilin Bilin is remembered by his descendants for his efforts to maintain his culture and identity in the face of the British occupation of his country.


Welcome to Country is a cultural protocol where an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander traditional custodian or elder from the local area or language group welcomes people to the land of their ancestors. This may be done through speech, song, dance or ceremony.