Matthew Wrigley has qualifications in linguistics/anthropology and spent many years in the Kimberley region working as an applied linguist on Aboriginal languages. With the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, Matt has published a volume of Aboriginal history in 4 Aboriginal languages, a range of language learning materials as well as developing competency in 2 Kimberley languages. Later Matt worked with the Kimberley Land Council gaining experience in the operation of Native title and heritage laws.
In 2002 Argyle Diamonds retained Matt’s services to advise on cross-cultural communications during its negotiations towards a comprehensive agreement with East Kimberley Traditional Owners, signed in September 2004. Leaders in the negotiation process consider that Matt’s contribution to effective cross-cultural communication was a major factor in the successful development of the agreement and has set a new standard in cross-cultural communication in Australia. Subsequently, Matt led the development of Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa’s successful Aboriginal Employment Strategy and accepted a role in Community Relations at Weipa in 2005. The strategy substantially increased Indigenous employee numbers at Weipa Site between 2005 and 2008, primarily through effective retention.
In recent years Matt has worked on a range of complex and sensitive projects on behalf of clients such as BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Oyu Tolgoi (Mongolia), Woodside Petroleum and HWE Mining. These engagements have focused on initiatives such as:
- developing Indigenous employment strategies;
- developing strategic plans;
- reviewing efficiency and effectiveness employment and training arrangements at large resource companies;
- reviewing and redesigning cultural awareness training programs; and
- Developing plain English community agreements.