Debbie Barwick

Community, Professional, & Corporate Profile


Debbie is a Gamilaroi Woman from Bora Crossing NSW and a direct descendant of the Barwick, Wortley and Talbot Families. Debbie spent most of her childhood growing up on dairy farms and has spent most of adult years catching up with community.
Having gained a tertiary education through the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle as a mature age student, Debbie decided on a major career change which would take her back to her community by working with her people to achieve a more equitable position in the wider Business Community.
She has spent the past 13 years working with Indigenous business operators and entrepreneurs to realise their vision in business and lobbying and advocating government for improved access to resources and more relevant business programs for the Indigenous business sector.
During her remarkable career Debbie has valued her experiences working with some of the country’s most esteemed Indigenous business leaders. She describes being in their company as an absolute honour and privilege. She has worked and celebrated with them in a journey of history making to see the establishment of the first Indigenous Chamber of Commerce in NSW, the Australian Indigenous Minority supplier Council (AIMSC) and the Indigenous Business Council of Australia (IBCA). Through this work she has broadened her networks to include other Indigenous business networks from across Australia and interstate meeting many inspirational Indigenous business people who provide friendship and professional support to her on a daily basis.
Debbie’s Professional Positions have included several Roles of Active Governance:
  • Founding Director and Chairperson, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC)
  • Founder, CEO and Chairperson, Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Chamber (Mandurah HIBC)
  • NSW Director, Indigenous Business Council of Australia (IBCA)
  • Committee Member, NSW Aboriginal Business Roundtable , NSW Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services
  • Chairperson (Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative) (Ceased as a Director in April 2012)
  • Recipient, NSW Premiers Award for Excellence, for her work in Indigenous Economic Development & for her achievements in establishing Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Chamber and the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
  • Finalist, Indigenous Alumni Award, University of Newcastle (2011)
  • Member Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member of the National Indigenous Business Women’s Network
  • Board Member Tafe NSW – Hunter Institute Advisory Council
  • Supplier, Australian Indigenous Minority supplier Council
  • Respected Speaker, Indigenous Economic Development by Australian Government and Private Sector Conference Organisers
  • MC World Indigenous Business Forum 2012:The two day conference involved 200 delegates from ten countries, with a program of 45 speakers on Indigenous Community development and Governance.


Key Highlights of Her Career:


Debbie’s extensive experiences working with Indigenous people and communities to establish and grow their businesses led to the establishment of Australia’s first Indigenous Chamber of Commerce in 2006, Mandurah Hunter Indigenous Business Chamber.
2011 saw another historical event when the Indigenous Business Sector celebrated with Debbie to launch Australia’s first Indigenous State Chamber of Commerce, the NSWICC.
Debbie’s vision at the present time is to see more Indigenous women in leadership roles across the country, holding key executive and board positions within community organisations, government and corporate Australia.
“Our Women are strong. They make the difference everyday in our personal lives as Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Auntie’s and Grandmothers. It is time we enable women to achieve representation in all areas of decision making, where they can work equally alongside our men using their knowledge, their education and their lifetime experience as carers and nurturers for a better tomorrow. “

Qualifications / Governance & Education (Last 10 years only):

  • Advanced Diploma in Business (University Ballarat / OTEN)
  • Diploma in Corporate Governance (Australian Institute Company Directors)
  • Diploma of Aboriginal Studies (University of Newcastle)
  • Bachelor in Aboriginal Studies (Incomplete - University of Newcastle)


Passions & Areas of Interest:


  • Indigenous Entrepeneurship and Economic Development (Business)
  • Cultural & Corporate Governance
  • Indigenous Values & Beliefs
  • Women in Leadership Roles
  • Empowering Indigenous Communities & Individuals
  • Mentoring for Success

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