Joining the dots

1.	Logo of Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CorporationFor Sam Raciti, CEO of Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation and the board of directors it’s all about joining the dots—keeping the pathways open. It’s about going that extra mile, going further than just a job description. It is about how they can make the necessary partnership arrangements happen.

Mudth-Niyleta, an Indigenous community-controlled corporation, was registered with the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations in 1988. Located in Sarina, a township south of Mackay, Queensland, it currently delivers a range of services such as aged care, health brokerage, education, work readiness, advocacy, traditional activities and community housing (which makes up about 40 per cent of Mudth-Niyleta’s business activities).

The corporation has recently expanded its services to the wider non-Indigenous community in the spirit of ongoing local reconciliation. Sam Raciti is responsible for Mudth-Niyleta’s overarching strategic and administrative management. He also shares his financial and accounting knowledge with other local Indigenous organisations, believing that encouraging professional and rigorous financial systems can help those organisations to concentrate on delivering high-quality services.

Sam and the directors have an open door policy. For Sam it is often a 12-hour day. ‘I make time, I leave my door open, and I have an open office for when the mums and dads come in. That’s where my 12-hour days go.’

The board of Mudth-Niyleta have specialist skills that they gladly share; because after all, building a community takes all those different skills. Sam himself is a recipient of an IBA scholarship. He is also completing studies towards and accounting degree at Central Queensland University. Sam was recently invited to join the prestigious Golden Key International Honour Society—an organisation recognising consistent academic excellence.

2.	Chairman Tom Lui and CEO Sam Raciti

Mudth-Niyleta celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It was a timely reminder for everyone that Mudth-Niyleta wasn’t created to generate jobs. Every member is a servant of the community; the community was here first, and the community needed an entity to be formed. The community needs people in the organisation to be good people, always bettering themselves. ‘That’s why I encourage my staff, share my study achievements and ask them what they are doing. Just because you have this job doesn’t mean that’s the last part of your journey—you have to always be improving yourself; it’s just the beginning,’ Sam added.

Employment is a big challenge in Sarina because it’s a little rural town. But Mudth-Niyleta has been able to get a variety of job network members working out of their centre. The centre, happily named ‘Miller House’ in recognition for the original support to the Sarina Indigenous community from Mr Mick Miller back in the late 1980s, is not only the administration office, but also an Indigenous resource centre for the whole community. The intention is to not only provide support for the Indigenous community, but to recognise it is also the corporation’s responsibility to open the facilities to the wider community.

It is Mudth-Niyleta’s aim to witness the ongoing advancement of local reconciliation and an acknowledgment that we are all proud Australians.

Mudth-Niyleta also makes a couple of dollars from renting out the rooms, which keeps the centre facilities all nice and neat, but the biggest bonus is that the local children don’t have to travel all the way to Mackay to get these services. They can come to the job centre and talk to staff and get looked after. The job network members provide services to the whole community. A lot of non-Indigenous people are starting to come into the centre. There is also now an aged care program for the whole community. The move is steadily away from a solely Indigenous focus to providing services for everyone. But as Sam says, ‘we are using our mob to be the employees and to be trained to roll those services out, so that is real Indigenous advancement. The centre provides a focus that Indigenous people are proud of.’

3.	Our children: learning traditional dancing at NAIDOC 2014

4.	Our children: playing traditional games

'By integrating a variety of services performed by our organisation, we are able to achieve real holistic community development for our members and their families. All the directors and staff, consider themselves to be servants for our community. We remember our past, operate in the present and reach for the future. We are trusted to perform and make decisions for the betterment of our mob, which sometimes can be complex and challenging. Here at Mudth-Niyleta, we are more than the sum of our assets and people … in fact; I like to think that Mudth-Niyleta is an experience.'

Sam Raciti, CEO of Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Photo captions

  1. Logo of Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation

  2. Chairman Tom Lui and CEO Sam Raciti

  3. Our children: learning traditional dancing at NAIDOC 2014

  4. Our children: playing traditional games

  5. Raising the Aboriginal flag