Luarna Dynevor is committed to a positive future for Aboriginal people and their communities

The Justice of Moranbah Country, Australia, awarded consent determination to the Barada Barna community in June 2016, which means that they are now acknowledged as the legal owners of their ancestral land. While celebrating such successes, the community has been working to create chances for the Barada Barna people’s sustainability, preservation, and language. One such person is Luarna Dynevor, Deputy Chairperson of Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation. She envisions creating financial stability and independence for her people and making the corporation a powerhouse Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC). Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation provides economic, social, and cultural benefits to the community, including housing, support, and education. The corporation partners with businesses to provide training and employment opportunities and offers community services. They organize NAIDOC events in different townships, including Middlemount, Dysart, and Moranbah, and conduct Welcome to Country and smoking ceremonies on mine sites and for Isaac Regional Council. Luarna is also the Project manager of Cultural Heritage at Winnaa Pty Ltd., whose offices are located in Moranbah, QLD, which is central to the 30 coal mines that are operating in the Barada Barna. 

Prior to being on the board, she completed her three years of academic studies to become a registered nurse in the Northern Territory. She abandoned her plans to become a nurse after realizing that her interests did not align with her objectives. After that, she continued her profession as a heavy equipment operator at Peak Downs Mine in her native nation. She was elected to be a director at an AGM, and then three years later she reapplied to become the Corporation’s chairperson. Later, she was elected back to the board as deputy chair and was able to train the new chair in her duties.

She has marched through life with a never-give-up attitude and a constant desire to improve herself. She stays humble and particularly tells aspiring women leaders to keep in mind the ‘7 B’s: books before boys because boys bring babies!’ She was able to sign a multimillion-dollar ILUA agreement that would provide for her people for years thanks to her perseverance, compassion, and innovative approaches. This accomplishment stands out as one of my proudest moments. Being a humble leader, she credits the other powerful women in her personal and professional lives for her achievements. She believes that without their support and belief in her, she would not have achieved her current level of accomplishment.

Luarna Dynevor is committed to a positive future for Aboriginal people and their communities
Luarna Dynevor

Overcoming challenges

The biggest obstacle Luarna experiences is interacting with her family. As one cannot please everyone, she has learned to stay away from objectionable views and concentrate on her goals. She believes in being kind to people who have dismissed her and shown little faith in her. She says, “The only way to change someone’s perception of you is to show them what you can do and to be nice no matter what!”

Luarna is also aware of the value of taking a break from the chaos of operating a business. She says she’s learned the hard way that if breaks aren’t taken, burnout could result. “Knowing when to shut off and taking those breaks when afforded to you,” she exclaims. In her free time, she prefers to visit the beach with her grandchildren to enjoy activities like fishing. She also enjoys going to watch her 14-year-old daughter play rugby league and cheering on the NQ Cowboys in rugby league. She believes that family should be the core of everyone’s life.

"Our focus is to assist and empower our Barada Barna people to be self-reliant and to maintain a strong sense of identity within the community,"

Uplifting Women in Mining 

In Luarna’s opinion, the largest obstacle a woman might encounter on her path is acceptance. Everyone must learn to accept the presence of female workers and welcome them for their capacity to walk alongside males if women are to advance and succeed in the mining business. She contributes by speaking out in favor of inclusivity and change through all of the networks at her disposal and by being ready to help other women. At the 2022 International Mining and Resources Conference, Luarna declared, “I own a business to employ my own people, keep them going, and make sure they have success, and that is why I push for those contracts.” At the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), global mining executives come together to discuss mining trends, investments, and innovation for a sustainable future. It is the biggest mining event in Australia, bringing together over 7,500 decision-makers, mining leaders, policy-makers, investors, commodities buyers, technical experts, innovators, and educators from more than 100 countries for three days of learning, deal-making, and unmatched networking.

Luarna notes that it is challenging for a woman to enter the frenetic, predominately male working sectors of Australia, coming from an indigenous culture. To those women, Luarna advises them to be determined, work hard, and present themselves out there so that supervisors, managers, and others can see their potential, and she urges them to join networks such as Women in Mining. She assures that the demographics of the mining industry in Australia will transform for the better, resulting in an increase in female peers in the sector

Women in mining