Business Sydney | Kari Foundation

First Nations Forum & Lunch 2023

Building trusted relationships and accessible pathways to skills, jobs, and business opportunities for our First Nations people

Friday, 24 February 2023

11:00 AM - 2:30 PM



ICC Sydney



Business Sydney Members & Guests

Indigenous peoples across the state contribute in far reaching ways to the overall and diversified success of businesses. Emerging corporate leaders are implementing plans to better engage with the Indigenous community including in their workforce. Then there is the contribution of Indigenous procurement and entrepreneurship, providing Indigenous Australians with more opportunities to participate in the economy.

Business Sydney in conjunction with the KARI Foundation and ICC Sydney hosted this important 2023 First Nations Forum and Lunch. At this event guests heard from the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon Ben Franklin MLC, the NSW Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, Mr David Harris MP and a video message from the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Linda Burney MP.

We also heard from other inspirational speakers on their successes and commitments to building trusted relationships and accessible pathways to skills, jobs, and business opportunities for our First Nations people.

Event PartnerS





special guests

Ben Franklin

The Hon Ben Franklin mlc

NSW Minister for Tourism, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for the Arts, and Minister for Regional Youth

Ben is a Nationals Member of the NSW Legislative Council and has been based on the NSW Far North Coast in Bundjalung Country since his election to Parliament in 2015. 

Ben grew up at Barham on the Murray River, where his parents were teachers. At school he was a keen debater, and won a scholarship to complete his Higher School Certificate in Sydney. His hobbies include bush walking in our local national parks, playing squash and spending time with family and friends on the beach in summer. 

In 2000, Ben participated in the Walk for Reconciliation, joining approximately 250,000 others across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in solidarity to support meaningful reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. 

Prior to being elected to the Legislative Council in 2015, Ben held a range of roles in Government and Not for Profit sectors. He is passionate about our regional towns and making sure they have access to employment, cultural and educational opportunities. 

In 2016, Ben was on the Upper House Inquiry into Repatriations for the Stolen Generations in NSW and as a result we have the most generous scheme in the country. This is something the Minister was proud to be involved in but recognises we still have a long way to go. 

In January 2017, Ben was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW. In May 2019, Ben was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts.  

In December 2021 Ben was appointed Minister Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for the Arts, and Minister for Regional Youth. In August 2022 Ben was appointed Minister for Tourism. 

Ben is deeply passionate about his portfolio responsibilities and works tirelessly to advance the people of New South Wales interests.  


Ben Franklin


NSW Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, Shadow Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism, and Shadow Minister for the Central Coast

David Harris State Member for Wyong in the NSW Parliament, Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, Aboriginal Affairs & Treaty, Jobs, Investment & Tourism.

As a primary school principal and surf lifesaving volunteer, David is a part of our community and is working hard to make it an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

As the Member for Wyong, David fought for the upgrade of Wyong Hospital including improved cancer facilities, the new Porters Creek Public School, two new ambulance stations and most recently secured funding for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway through Wyong after a long community campaign.  


Ben Franklin


Manager of Nunyara Aboriginal Health Unit for the Central Coast Local Health District

Stephen is an Aboriginal man from the Yuin Nation on the South Coast of NSW, however he grew up in the Aboriginal community of La Perouse.

Stephen is the Manager of Nunyara Aboriginal Health Unit for the Central Coast Local Health District; has a 20 year background in Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol work and was inducted into the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Honour Roll in 2012 at the National Indigenous Drug Alcohol Conference in Freemantle. He was awarded the First Peoples award at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference in Brisbane in 2013. Stephen is a member of the NSW Health Aboriginal Directors and Managers Strategic Leadership Group and previously lectured at Sydney University as an Adjunct lecturer. Stephen has also co-authored a handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work and is an Associate Investigator with the Centre of Research Excellence Indigenous Health and Alcohol Research.  


Luke carroll

Australian Actor & Television Personality

Luke Carroll is a seasoned theatre, film and television performer. Recent television projects include the Upright for Foxtel and Total Control for ABC.

On stage recent projects include 1Black Cockatoo for Ensemble Theatre; Black is the New White, The Harp in the South, The Hanging, The Battle of Waterloo and Cherry Pickers for STC; Black Diggers and Mother Courage and her Children for QTC, Eora Crossing for The Sydney Festival, Purple Dreams and My Girragundji for Bell Shakespeare and for STC.

Luke has a strong track record on screen; he was a nominee for the 2012 AACTA Award for ‘Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a TV Drama’ for his work on Redfern Now, nominated twice for AFI Awards for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for Australian Rules and ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in a TV series for R.A.N.

Luke’s other film credits include Strangerland, Needle, Stoned Bros, Subdivision, The Tender Hook and Children of the Revolution. For television, Luke’s credits include The Gods of Wheat Street, Redfern Now, Home and Away, R.A.N, The Alice, Stingers, All Saints, Water Rats, Heartbreak High, Man from Snowy River and The Flying Doctors. Luke has been a very proud member of the Playschool team for 10 years.


Casey Ralph


Managing Partner - Sydney, MinterEllison

Kristy Edser is the Managing Partner of the Sydney office of MinterEllison.

Kristy is an experienced advisor in all aspects of employment law and litigation. For over 20 years, Kristy has successfully partnered with her clients, across a range of industries, to achieve the best outcomes for their business.

Kristy is an experienced investigator conducting many conduct, sexual harassment, grievance and whistle-blower investigations. Kristy has deep expertise as a corporate trainer developing training workshops for her clients on workplace compliance matters and she regularly briefs Boards on emerging Workplace issues.

Kristy is passionate about the importance of supportive leadership in fostering an inclusive, diverse and safe culture in organisations.


Ben Franklin


Lead Partner | Deloitte: Integrity
Leader | Deloitte Indigenous | Deloitte Space
Deloitte Access Economics

Deen is the Lead Partner for Deloitte: Integrity, responsible for leading significant conversations with clients (government and corporate) on issue of integrity, ethics, truthfulness and change.  

Deen has more than 30 years of experience in the corporate environment of regulation and government. He is an expert on governance, law, lore and leadership and has worked as a financial services executive, policy maker, regulator and thought leader in professional standards, ethics, regulation and integrity systems.  As past CEO/Commissioner of the national standards and professional regulatory system (Professional Standards Authority), he was responsible for oversight of law, audit, engineering and non medical professions in Australia and in 2017 was asked by the Australian government to design the new ethics and practice framework for financial advice. 

As a Worimi Giparr he has cultural connections across Australia and provides support to government and commercial clients, leading programs of change and policy or strategic leadership or acting as a critical adviser on sensitive and significant matters. He has a particular dedication to Australian Cultural Leadership and the role that Indigenous knowledge, systems theory and humanity has in shaping the future of business, economics, law and policy. 

As an Indigenous leader and cultural man (Worimi Giparr) he leads projects and conversations on the role that Indigenous Knowledge Systems should have in shaping a better business, policy, legal and social environment, as well as a stronger, better Australia, underpinned by a true relationship with the land ‘Nayiri Barray’ – our mother/our country.

He is frequently invited to speak, lecture and interview on issues of culture and lore and the restoration of Indigenous knowledge as the respected basis of science, business, economics and law in this country.

He leads our strategic national policy reviews and projects for government and Indigenous communities and shapes Deloitte policy and practice in relation to Indigenous community, national issues of Indigenous sensitivity, as well as government and commercial services for community.

His academic background includes undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Law, Psychology and Business, culminating in the completion of a Doctorate in the field of Regulation, Trust and Complexity Theory.

He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2017 for his leading academic and regulatory work.



Casey Ralph


Group Manager – Indigenous and Social Inclusion, CPB Contractors

Sharon is Kamilaroi and of Scottish descent and grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, where she began her studies and early career focusing on improving education, training and career opportunities for Aboriginal Australians.

She is an accomplished Indigenous leader with experience in driving cultural, inclusion and diversity transformation in education, government and industry.

Sharon is motivated by her desire to see equality for all Australians, with diversity and inclusion at the core of society. Her personal motto is Education, Awareness and Action.

At CPB Contractors, Sharon leads the development and implementation of the company’s Indigenous and Social Inclusion Strategy and Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.



Casey Ralph

Casey Ralph

Chief Executive Officer, KARI Ltd and KARI Foundation Ltd

Casey is a proud Aboriginal woman with connections to the North and South Coasts of NSW. She has spent the majority of her life living on Gandangara Country in South Western Sydney.

Casey started her career working in education and in 2005 transitioned to working within the community welfare sector. She is now the current CEO of both KARI Ltd and KARI Foundation Ltd.

Casey is passionate about ensuring that Aboriginal children, families and communities have every opportunity afforded to them and is committed to designing and implementing innovative programs that empower, support and enhance skill development.


Ben Franklin


President, Business NSW & CEO, Evolve Housing

Lyall was appointed as Business NSW President in February 2020. He has was elected to the Board in 2014 and has been a councillor of Business NSW since that time. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Evolve Housing and the Head of Property and Investments of the Manly Sea Eagles and was previously the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Cronulla Sharks. He is currently a Director of Cricket NSW. In June 2017 he was appointed as Chair of the Parramatta Park Trust.

In June 2010 he was appointed by Football Federation Australia as Head of the Hyundai A-League and in May 2012 as the founding Executive Chairman of the Western Sydney Wanderers, a position he held until July 2014. Lyall is the former Executive Director of an Australian Securities Exchange (‘ASX’) listed public company (a merchant bank and investment holding company specialising in corporate finance, corporate advisory, strategic investment, property and asset management) and was formerly its Executive Director of Finance and Administration.

He was the founding Chief Executive Officer and subsequently Executive Chairman of the Central Coast Mariners, one of the eight founding clubs in the Hyundai A-League. Lyall was extensively involved as the NSW Manager for the implementation and management of the Commonwealth Government Block Grant Authority capital construction program involving the assessment of project viability, risk analysis, financial overseeing and monitoring of the construction of property projects valued in excess of $50 million per annum.

Ben Franklin


CEO, Business NSW

As the Chief Executive Officer of Business NSW, the state’s leading voice of business, Dan is committed to providing member businesses with the information, advice, products and services they need to grow and stay competitive.

Dan is passionate about the purpose-driven mission of the organisation, which aims to bring value to members, businesses, the economy and the overall community. Business NSW is uniquely placed to deliver this, whether it’s through advice, advocacy or the successful commercial businesses it successfully owns and operates. Dan strongly believes organisational culture and visible leadership are the key enablers to success.

His career has spanned finance and operational leadership roles, across both the private and public sector.

Previously the Deputy Secretary Finance and Asset Management and Chief Financial Officer for NSW Health, Dan managed a $29 billion annual health budget for the state. He is proud to have been a part of the NSW Health system and their world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to this, Dan had been the Chief Executive of HealthShare NSW, the 7,000-person shared services delivery organisation of NSW Health, since 2015.

Dan also worked at Sydney Water in many different senior roles, including on the project team for the $2.3 billion private refinancing of the Sydney Desalination Plant. He also led Sydney Water’s Human Resources function and was the General Manager of Transformation. In the private sector, Dan has worked with the Intercontinental Hotels Group and with Channel Seven’s Pacific Magazines, as the Company Financial Controller.

Dan holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Commercial Law from the University of Auckland, a Masters degree from Griffith University and is a CPA.





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