Yuluwirri McGrady is blazing a trail, as the Goomilaroi and Toomelah man (from northern New South Wales) was recently appointed to the WA Mining Club committee for 2022.

When Mr McGrady joined the Mining Club’s Young Professionals committee in 2020, he was the first Indigenous person to hold a position on any of the Club’s committees in its history.

“I’m excited to join the WA Mining Club Committee, as mining is my industry of choice, and the Mining Club provides me with an opportunity to influence and advocate for better outcomes for Indigenous people more broadly across the industry,” he told the National Indigenous Times.

“A focus point for 2022 will be encouraging Aboriginal businesses to take advantage of the WA Mining Club and the benefits it has to offer.

“I’ll be encouraging miners and service providers to engage with Aboriginal businesses, particularly with businesses that have ties to the Country on which they operate.”

In 2018 Mr McGrady coined the phrase “Black Fellas in Suits, Not just Footy Boots,” to capture his focus on demonstrating that Indigenous people can excel in many aspects of life, within and outside of sport.

“Sport is a part of modern-day Indigenous culture, all my heroes growing up were rugby league players; David Peachey, Matty Bowen and Greg Inglis to name a few.

“To influence and drive better outcomes for the next generation of Indigenous youth, I believe we need heroes from all aspects of life, from politics, to business, medicine, academia and many more professions,” he said.

“It’s imperative to have diversity within our community of roles models, to illustrate to the next generation that Aboriginal people are deadly in all aspects of society.”

Mr McGrady works with Fortescue Metals Group as their Principal of Aboriginal Business Development.

“I love my role with Fortescue, it provides me with the opportunity to drive economic development for our Native Title partners in the Pilbara.”

Mr McGrady said Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program involves practical initiatives to provide Aboriginal businesses with the tools to “build value and sustainability”, creating employment and development opportunities.

He noted that since it began in 2011, the program has awarded contracts and subcontracts worth more than $3 billion to more than 132 Aboriginal businesses.

“Fortescue has achieved tremendous success in partnership with Aboriginal businesses over the past 10 years, thanks to the hard work of Heath Nelson and previous executives.

“The foundation is there, and the exciting prospect is, I believe we can achieve more in the next 10 years,” he said.

By Giovanni Torre