About Us

Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd (Central Desert) is a recognised native title service provider for the native title claimants and holders of the Central Desert Region of Western Australia. This geographic region covers approximately one third of Western Australia. The organisation was incorporated on 16 April 2007 and commenced operations on 1 July 2007. Ngaanyatjarra Council’s (Aboriginal Corporation) Native Title Unit formerly serviced this area.

Central Desert’s primary function is assisting the native title claimants and holders of the Central Desert Region in protecting and advancing their native title rights and interests. This includes assisting native title claimants to have their native title rights and interests recognised by the Australian legal system and assisting native title holders in managing their traditional lands.

Central Desert also wholly owns two subsidiaries that provide additional services to our constituents; Desert Support Services Pty Ltd which provides accounting, bookkeeping and employment services and Rockhole Funds Management Pty Ltd, which provides money management and financial services.

Central Desert produces high quality outcomes in all facets of native title work including; anthropological research, managing future acts, negotiating land access agreements, mediation and litigation, governance and capacity building and natural resource and land management. The organisation facilitates and maintains strong co-operative relationships between native title claimants and holders, government agencies, neighbouring Native Title Representative Bodies, exploration and mining companies, and other stakeholders.

Central Desert receives more than 60% of its annual income from a Federal Government grant under the ‘Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet – Land Branch’, Native Title Program. These funds are provided to enable Central Desert to perform its functions under theNative Title Act.

Our Vision, Mission and Values
                  Our Vision That the Indigenous Peoples of the Central Desert are using their traditional lands to fulfill their highest social, cultural and economic aspirations. Our Mission Is to ensure that solid foundations are laid for the peoples of the Central Desert to determine and build their own social, cultural and economic futures. Our Values Community focused Innovative and adaptive Professional Collaborative Goal oriented Please click here for a copy of Central Desert's Strategic Plan
Organisational Structure
                Board of Directors Central Desert Native Title Services Limited (Central Desert) was incorporated on 16 April 2007 and commenced operations on 1 July 2007. The Central Desert Board currently consists of five Directors. The Board’s role is to decide the strategic direction of Central Desert and to ensure that Central Desert acts in accordance with funding conditions. MR TERENCE (TERRY) GROSE (CHAIRPERSON) Appointed 14 December 2012 Terry Grose has a strong commercial background gained through his experience as a merchant banker, senior executive and business consultant in Australia and overseas. After a decade spent in various senior roles within the Wesfarmers Group, Terry moved to Hong Kong where he worked as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of an innovative start-up company before establishing his own commercial consulting business. Since returning to Australia in 2008 he has undertaken consulting assignments with a range of companies that have benefited from his broad business experience. In 2013 he won the national Woodside Better Business Award, presented by Creative Partnerships Australia, for his contribution as a director of the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. He is also a director of Arafura Resources Ltd and Martu People Limited. /back to top THE HONOURABLE FRED CHANEY AO Appointed 11 September 2007 Fred Chaney has served as a member and Deputy President of the National Native Title Tribunal, Co-Chair and director on the board of Reconciliation Australia Limited, Chair of Desert Knowledge Australia and Chair of the Consultation Committee on a Human Rights Act for Western Australia. In 2008 he was awarded the Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award for “Exceptional leadership in the fields of social justice, human rights, equality and anti racism”. Fred continues to serve as a director of Reconciliation Australia Limited and is a co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation. In 2011 he was a member of the Expert Panel on the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians. Most recently, Fred was the worthy recipient of the Senior Australian of the Year for 2014. /back to top DR FIONA SKYRING Appointed 7 October 2008 Fiona Skyring is a historian. While employed by the Kimberley Land Council from
1999 to 2005 as an expert witness, Fiona gave evidence on behalf of the native title applicants in five trials in the Federal Court. Since then Fiona has worked for native
title service providers on behalf of applicants, for Aboriginal heritage organisations
and for government. She has contributed to community history projects and academic publications. Fiona is the author of ‘Justice: A History of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia’, which was published by UWA Publishing in 2011. For this book Fiona won the 2012 Margaret Medcalf Award, for excellence in research and referencing using the State Archives Collection, and in the WA Premier’s Book Awards she won the State Library of Western Australia WA History Prize and the WA Premier’s Prize. /back to top DR CAROLYN TAN Appointed 14 December 2012 Carolyn Tan has been an In-house Legal Counsel at Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation since 2003 where she has provided native title advice and appeared in the Federal Court, High Court and before the National Native Title Tribunal and the Mining Warden. Prior to that she was a litigation partner at Dwyer Durack for 15 years and headed up their Native Title Department as well as being engaged in a range of commercial, administrative and other civil and industrial litigation. Carolyn has been a Deputy President of the WA Equal Opportunity Tribunal and has served on numerous legal and social justice committees. She holds a PhD for her research on a topic related to Indigenous heritage and religious freedom laws in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. /back to top MR ANDREW (ANDY) GILMOUR Appointed 14 December 2012 Andy is a director of national chartered accounting firm RSM Australia practising in the Corporate Finance Division. He has over 30 years experience as a chartered accountant and business adviser initially in the area of audit and subsequently in corporate finance and transaction support. He has had a wide breadth of experience with exposure to businesses in diverse industries from financial services to mining, and of varying size, from small to medium sized family concerns to large multinational corporations. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and recently stepped down as the West Australian representative of the Business Valuation Special Interest Group of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Andy was admitted as a partner of RSM Australia Partners in 1994. /back to top DR GUY SINGLETON Appointed 18 July 2016 Guy Singleton has a diverse educational and professional background, which support his interests in realising meaningful Aboriginal opportunity. Guy has a first-class Honours degree in biological science and a PhD in remote Aboriginal community development and Indigenous affairs from Curtin University’s Business School. He has worked with and for a range of Aboriginal corporations on development projects in WA, SA and the NT. Since 2012, Guy has held a range of Social Responsibility positions within the resource industry sector, with his current position being Principal – Environment, Social Responsibility and Government Relations at Northern Star Resources Limited. Guy is  also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia within the Centre for Regional Development. His published works have been cited by a range of organisations, including the United Nations. /back to top Key Staff Central Desert is staffed by more than 50 experienced and dedicated staff who have a vast knowledge and commitment to the provision of native title services. Our Management Team consists of: MR IAN RAWLINGS - Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary MRS JO LANAGAN - Deputy CEO MR MALCOLM O’DELL - Principal Lawyer MR COLIN NAPIER - Chief Financial Officer (DSS) and Company Secretary MRS KARINE FLEMATTI - Corporate Services Manager MR ROB THOMAS - General Manager DSS MR PHIL RAMSAY - Legal Services Manager  Organisational Chart Please click here to view the Organisational Chart
                  From 1 July 2007, Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd (Central Desert) assumed the native title functions from the Native Title Unit of the Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal Corporation). Board The Central Desert corporate structure was drawn up and the inaugural board selected by the Ngaanyatjarra Council after they elected not to seek re-recognition as the representative body in 2007. The inaugural Central Desert board consisted of Mr George Irving (Chairperson), The Hon. Fred Chaney and Mr John Thurtell. Mr Irving, Mr Chaney and Mr Thurtell brought with them a wealth of experience in native title, Indigenous affairs, government and community relations. In October 2008 the Board was joined by Historian Dr Fiona Skyring and in November 2009 by Mr Peter Thomas. The current make up of the Board is Mr Terry Grose, the chairperson and the Hon Fred Chaney, Dr Fiona Skyring, Dr Carolyn Tan and Mr Andy Gilmour are the directors. Staff At its inception, Central Desert employed 18 people in its Perth office. As at 30 June 2013, the number of people employed by Central Desert and its subsidiaries had increased to 84 at locations including Perth, Wiluna, Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Kiwirrkurra and Geraldton. The diversity of skills of the people employed within the organisation has broadened from the core group of lawyers and anthropologists employed in 2007 to include as at June 30 2013: lawyers, anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, environmental scientists, land management experts, geospatial experts and financial and accounting experts. Central Desert is particularly pleased that the number of indigenous people employed in full-time, part-time or casual positions within the organisation and its subsidiaries has increased from three in 2007 to 33 as at 30 June 2013. Office and other accommodation In August 2011 Central Desert moved from its office in Wellington Street East Perth to its current larger office accommodation at 76 Wittenoom Street East Perth. In late 2007 Central Desert’s Wiluna office became operational and in 2008 an operational base was established in Kalgoorlie.  Transit bases have also been established in Newman, Broome and Alice Springs. In December 2013 Central Desert’s new land management facility in Wiluna became operational. Motor Vehicles To support the expanded activities of Central Desert, its motor vehicle fleet has expended from 3 vehicles in 2007 to 20 bush ready vehicles and 4 bush ready trailers as at 30 June 2013. Land Management Since its inception Central Desert commenced building a land management capacity to assist native title claimants and native title holders to manage their traditional lands.  This increase in capacity was formally reflected in the appointment of a land management coordinator in 2009 and the formation of the land management unit in 2011. Subsidiaries To assist native title claimants and native title holders in matters related to the management of their native title lands, Central Desert has established two wholly owned subsidiaries, Desert Support Services Pty Ltd (DSS) and Rockhole Funds Management Pty Ltd (RFM). DSS primarily provides accounting, bookkeeping and employment services to native title claimants and native title holders and RFM primarily provides financial and money management services to native title claimants and native title h