Myuma Group founder Colin Saltmere honoured with Australian of the Year award nomination

Myuma Group founder honoured with Australian of the Year award nomination

The theme of this year's Australia Day is "Reflect, Respect, Celebrate", words Colin Saltmere has given much thought to.

Mr Saltmere is known across North West Queensland and beyond for his work with the Myuma Group and he is one of more than 5500 people nominated for an Australian of the Year Award for 2021 - a record number.

The 62-year-old Camooweal native is a proud Indjalandji-Dhidhanu man who lives and works on his traditional country.

Mr Saltmere has a long career helping develop Indigenous communities' skills and employability and he formed the Myuma Group 15 years ago after seeing first-hand the problems facing indigenous people while working at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Myuma has gone from strength to strength and today employs 150 local staff and delivers not-for-profit Aboriginal initiatives, including an Indigenous construction business.

In 2013 Myuma won the Premiers Reconciliation Award in NAIDOC week for its partnership with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to operate road construction and maintenance activities surrounding Mount Isa and Camooweal incorporating the training of prevocational training students.

Mr Saltmere's innovative methods also led Camooweal's Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation into working with the University of Queensland in 2016 on research to create spinifex-based condoms.

Starting from a perspective of wanting to fix a problem which then became a passion, Mr Saltmere said there was not only satisfaction but justification in the work he does, as young people go on to get jobs.

In the future he wants to work with communities to improve corporate governance and upskilling, as well as helping start-up businesses.

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On Australia Day Colin is caught between the two views of Australians who see Australia Day as one of national pride and it being an invasion day and wonders how we can navigate through the differences of opinion when the day brings both celebration and protesting, and what we can take on board as Australians so we can all celebrate.

"I would like to see the situation addressed to make it a decent day everyone can reflect on," Mr Saltmere said.

Mr Saltmere is one of 130 people were selected as state and territory finalists and like many everyday heroes he was nominated by someone in his community or field of endeavour.

Award organiser the National Australia Day Council is celebrating all those who were nominated by highlighting other local contributions worthy of respect and celebration on Australia Day - the everyday heroes.

ACM, publisher of the North West Star, is media partner of the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards, which are announced on ABC TV from 7.30pm on Monday January 25.

This story Myuma Group founder honoured with Australian of the Year award nomination first appeared on The North West Star.