Intract’s General Manager John Briggs speaks proudly about his Aboriginal heritage

John Briggs

General Manager, Southern Region

John is a proud Yorta Yorta man from Cummrugunja (Our Home), part of the Barmah Forest on the Murray River border region between Victoria and New South Wales.

John brings passion, extensive industry experience and a true understanding of the Aboriginal culture to Intract and plays an instrumental role in supporting and mentoring Intract personnel. He has devoted a significant portion of his working life sharing his experiences and working with Aboriginal people both in his local community and across all states and territories of Australia.

For over 15 years, John worked in the mines in Western Australia, nine of those years with Rio Tinto and six years as a supervisor trainer with Aboriginal Training and Liaison (ATAL). John was responsible for heritage clearance, Native Title Land Use Agreements, education and training for employees both within the boundaries of the mine leases and on associated external road, rail, power, water, exploration and rehabilitation sites.

During his time with ATAL, John passionately trained locals to be “Mine Ready” focusing on the areas of operating dozers, graders, trucks and loaders, and in obtaining heavy vehicle licenses. John’s mechanical background allowed him to educate trainees in servicing equipment as well as performing minor repairs and welding. All trainees were sourced from local communities in keeping with the Land Use Agreements and many of his students gained lasting employment with either Rio Tinto or through their various supply contractors. John and his team maintained a strong focus on safety which resulted in three years Lost Time Injury free.

John adopted a mentoring relationship with many of the trainees and was exposed to all aspects of tribal life, gaining an intimate knowledge of the Aboriginal culture. John was faced with many cultural issues during his time with ATAL, including lore time, different skin groups, family relationships, elders, and funerals. At the same time, he gained deep appreciation of Indigenous health, housekeeping, budget control, basic education, language and local authorities.