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Officers for the organisation include:

Dr Guy Singleton

Chairperson
Appointed May 2023

Guy is an experienced multidisciplinary leader and strategic thinker with practical applications across Indigenous people’s development, natural resource management, political engagement, and the resources sector. He brings 20 years of professional experience across academic, not for profit and corporate sectors.  

Prior to his international roles, Guy worked for a decade with and for a range of Aboriginal corporations on community development projects across remote Australia, and as a university researcher. He has a PhD in Indigenous people’s development and a first-class Honours degree in biological science from Curtin University. Guy has previously held director roles at Central Desert Native Title Services, Desert Support Services, and the Gold Industry Group. 

Guy is currently the Chief External Affairs Officer at DEVELOP (ASX:DVP), leading the sustainability, Indigenous peoples, environment, and external relations functions. He is also the managing director of a consultancy company that specialises in developing and maintaining meaningful and ethical partnerships between land use proponents and Traditional Owners, and a non-executive director of Asthma WA. 

People

Ms Shaneane Weldon

Appointed December 2020

Shaneane Weldon is a Wangkatja woman raised in the North Eastern Goldfields home/country of her mother and grandparents. Shaneane has a degree in Community Management and Development, as well as a Bachelor of Education. She has over 25 years experience in dealing with Aboriginal politics and has held leadership positions in various Aboriginal Corporations. At present Shaneane is the Deputy President of the Shire of Laverton where she has been a Shire Councillor for the past 16 years.  Included in her various Community commitments, Shaneane is also a Justice of Peace a role she has held for the past 24 years.

She is also an active board member of several not-for-profit organisations and Native Title bodies, including more recently the Yilka Talintji Aboriginal Prescribed Body Corporate where she is a Traditional Owner under her father’s side of the family.

Shaneane is passionate about Aboriginal languages and the preservation of it. She believes that education is the key to success, and was one of the reasons she became a Teacher so that she can influence and be a role model to her Aboriginal students.

Shaneane resigned from the Central Desert Board in March 2022 due to running for a seat in the Federal election.  She was reappointed to the Board in August 2022.

People

Mr Allan James

Appointed March 2024

Allan James is a Tjupan Wongi– Badimia Yamatji man raised on country in the remote Western Australian pastoral regional of the Northern Goldfields. Allan is a highly respected and effective senior business, Indigenous and community leader with broad experience across the private, public and community sector.  He is highly experienced in leadership, policy development, communications, and strategic planning. 

Allan is currently Head of Indigenous Engagement at BHP Pty Ltd and has previously been CEO of the Carey Group of companies, one of Australia’s largest 100% privately owned Indigenous Businesses. He is also an active board member of several not-for-profit organisations and Native Title bodies, including more recently the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Prescribed Body Corporate and Desert Support Services Pty Ltd. 

Allan has a strong social and philanthropic background and is motivated by a sense of fairness and equality. Allan is passionate about Indigenous Affairs and changing the dialogue for Aboriginal peoples and believes that culture, education, employment, and economic development are the keys to addressing socio economic disadvantage.

How we met

Ms Helen Cook

Appointed February 2022

Helen is a former KPMG Partner leading the firms Energy and Natural Resources Group and has accumulated over 20 years experience as a Director and Chair on numerous organisations in the commercial, government and NFP sectors.  

She is currently WA Divisional Councillor of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and Advisory Panel member for UWA’s Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Law, and a Director of Juniper. Her work for these organisations includes substantial Committee responsibilities including Chairing audit and risk Committees and serving on the national Corporate Governance Committee of the AICD.

Helen was Deputy Chairman of the Minerals Research Institute of WA and a member of Australia Council’s Finance and Governance Panel for all its Multi Year Partnerships. Her former board roles include Director of RACWA Holdings, RAC Insurance and RAC Finance Ltd, Chair of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Deputy Chair of Fremantle Ports, Director of Perth Theatre Trust, Chairman of the Chamber of Arts & Culture WA, Chairman of the Creative and Leisure Industries Training Council, Director of the Energy Policy Institute and Director of the Cruthers Art Foundation (now the Sheila Foundation).

Helen is a member of the Central Desert Audit and Risk Committee and was appointed to the Boards of Desert Accounting and Business Support Pty Ltd (DABS) and Rockhole Funds Management (RFM) in September 2022.

How we met

Dr Duncan Munro

Appointed 28 February 2022

Duncan has over 30 years’ experience as a chartered accountant and business advisor in Australia and internationally. He recently retired as a Principal in the Corporate Finance division of RSM Australia Pty Ltd. He previously worked for the large accounting firms KPMG and Crowe Horwath. He has also worked as the CFO for a small listed company APA Financial Services in Australia.

Duncan has worked in a diverse selection of industries with a particular focus in mining, manufacturing, government, not-for-profit, property, transport, retail and primary producer sectors. His experience covers a wide range of areas including business valuations, due diligence, business planning, financial mentoring and advisory services for Indigenous entities.  Duncan has provided short-term assistance to the Tjuntjuntjara community in Spinifex country totalling about 14 weeks, since December 2020.

He was a Board Member of the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation from 2016 to 2018.  He has been a Board member of the Autism Association of Western Australia for many years.  Since December 2020, he has been a director on the Board of South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc, and Chair of their Audit Committee since May 2021.

How we met

Ms Johnanna Ramsay

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Johanna Ramsay was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2023.

Johanna has extensive experienced in senior executive roles, including three years as CEO of Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (BNTAC), completing that role in 2022. 

Prior to her BNTAC role, Johanna had broad experience in both the not-for-profit and corporate sectors. This included several years consulting for a range of industries and five years working with Skywest Airlines, initially as Chief Operating Officer before being appointed as CEO.   

Johanna has a Master's Degree in Business Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance, and recently completed a Certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy with Harvard Business School.

How we met

Mr Malcolm O'Dell

PRINCIPAL LEGAL OFFICER

Malcolm has served as the company’s Principal Lawyer since its inception. He has extensive native title experience having worked for the National Native Title Tribunal from 1996 to 1999 before entering legal practice with Dwyer Durack.

Malcolm joined Ngaanyatjarra Council in 2004, working in the Native Title Unit, and moved to Central Desert when it was formed in 2007.  He has extensive experience in native title in the areas of mediation, negotiation, corporate establishment and governance, agreement making, court representation, arbitral inquiries and hearings

How we met

Mr Ruwan Silva

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Ruwan holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Curtin University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants. He has worked in the Not-for-Profit sector for the past 18 years starting his career in Port Hedland as a Financial Counsellor and then as Manager of the Pilbara Community Legal Service.

Ruwan has many years of experience working with indigenous communities in the Pilbara region and worked at Parkerville Children and Youth Care for more than 10 years as the Financial Accountant overseeing rapid growth.

How we met

Mr Charles Barclay

GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY

Charles Barclay was appointed Group Company Secretary, providing governance duties across the Central Desert Group of entities, in December 2023. 

Charles comes with extensive experience working for not-for-profit and iwi organisations in New Zealand for the past 10 years. With a background in governance coupled with finance, Charles brings a unique blend of skills and insights since transitioning to Native Title in Australia.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts specialising in Political Studies. And, recognising the distinct governance challenges faced by Indigenous communities, facilitating governance structures that harmonise with cultural values has always been of particular interest.

How we met