Carol Vale is a Dunghutti woman from NSW, who now lives in Mango Hill, Queensland. She has had a career in government spanning 30 years in Aboriginal Affairs. When Carol left government, she started doing project work with people she knew in government and in 2014 formed her own Indigenous consultancy business – Murawin.
Murawin offers a range of services focused on strengthening cultural competencies and professional capabilities, such as Indigenous strategy and design, evaluation and social research, cultural capability training, and mentoring. Carol’s work broadly aims to assist clients to get Aboriginal perspectives in their work.
Carol said she is: “always working in the Aboriginal realm on pieces of work that will benefit Aboriginal people”.
Game Enough? is a startup that spun out of Murawin. It is a native Australian food business led collaboratively by Greg McKenzie and Carol. The idea for this startup came from seeing how different cultures around the world express their identity through food culture. This business focuses on using native-based plants and game meats in food and cooking. It has a retail shop in Banyo, an online store, catering service and mobile food trailer.
In keeping with Murawin’s ethos, Game Enough uses Indigenous supply chains and “contributes to sustaining and raising awareness of Aboriginal culture. People can learn nutritional value and health benefits of native Australian products”, Carol said.
Carol’s business largely took her to Sydney where 95% of her consultancy work stems from government agencies. Game Enough has been operating for 4 years. Last year was the first year that the business started to pay for itself. It started to develop a reputation and gain brand recognition in 2019. Murawin was growing every year and was about to open another Game Enough shop at Broadway shopping centre in Sydney at a very reduced rental rate. Then the COVID crisis hit.
Game Enough uses Indigenous supply chains and “contributes to sustaining and raising awareness of Aboriginal culture. People can learn nutritional value and health benefits of native Australian products
Murawin experienced a big downturn in work with projects being cancelled or put on hold due to limited face-to-face interaction. Due to physical distancing and travel bans, many projects were taken off the table and government projects put on hold. The Game Enough shop in Banyo was closed for about two months and catering and events had ceased completely.
“We had one project consultancy that saw us through and have just got another one”, said Carol.
Normally March to August is the busiest time for Game Enough with events such as Harmony Week, NAIDOC, and National Reconciliation Week. During this time, Game Enough would have its food trailer at the events. However, these events were cancelled for 2020. Game Enough usually catered for many government agencies’ events and meetings that were stopped during lockdown.
Carol concentrated her focus on family obligations, such as the birth of one of their daughter’s first baby and home-schooling grand children during the pandemic restrictions. “We have just been surviving and supporting our family,” Carol said.
Game Enough had a pool of casual staff, including their daughter Debbie Hoger. With no income coming in they survived for two months on tax return payments, until they received JobKeeper allowance. Several small business owners who were Murawin’s clients were unable to pay what they owed, as they had difficulty with losing staff and managing cash flow.
Game Enough diversified and started providing ready-made meals, as well as growing its online store. Greg and Debbie found a gap in the market they could fill and developed a new range of products and ready-made meals. Debbie revamped and extended the online store.
Carol said that the pandemic has brought out community spirit– consciously supporting local businesses and buying local: “The local community have been wonderful – MBRIT, Innovate Moreton Bay, people we don’t even know.”
Murawin has just received a small business ‘Adaptation Grant’, a Queensland government grant, and a business loan from Indigenous Business Australia to purchase equipment for Game Enough and assist with cashflow. However, if the online side of the business doesn’t look promising by the end of the year, they will close that down.