Media Release, 11 July 2012

Winangali Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading Indigenous research and communications agencies, has been named the 2012 Telstra Queensland Business of the Year.

Winangali, which also won the News Limited Micro Business Award, was joined by Gold Coast veterinary business The Vet Lounge, Airlie Beach tourism operators A&L Laurent Pty Ltd and Mena Creek rainforest tourist attraction Paronella Park as winners of the 2012 Telstra Queensland Business Awards.

Director Noel Niddrie established Winangali Pty Ltd in 2005 because he saw a need to change the conversation with Indigenous Australians on a range of health and social issues. While attempts had been made over the years by governments to improve communication, he believed they were missing their target audiences because their messaging was “top-down, misdirected and culturally inappropriate.”

The Indigenous-owned, managed and staffed business included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the development of its communication process and has won contracts including developmental research for the Closing the Gap initiative and partnering with KPMG to evaluate the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. Recently, the company was contracted to develop a communication strategy for the Northern Territory’s Stronger Futures initiative.

Mr Niddrie said: ‘We have a goal of always leaving a legacy in the Indigenous communities which we visit in the form of skills, education, employment or financial assistance.”

Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, Will Irving, said Winangali Pty Ltd had many attributes that made it a stand-out among the 24 finalists in 2012.

“Judges said Winangali shows great balance between a cause-committed business driving positive change and delivering strong revenues and profit. They were particularly impressed with the team effort and spirit in the business, its business discipline and focus and the balance in its decision-making between commercial advantage and integrity and values,” Mr Irving said.

The Telstra Australian Business Awards were launched in 1992 to recognise the achievements of small and medium businesses and to encourage strategic planning for business growth.  

“I’m pleased to see that each year we uncover exceptional small and medium businesses, such as Winangali, and I encourage all Queenslanders to nominate businesses now for the 2013 Awards,” he said.

Michael Miller, Managing Director Nationwide News, said Winangali Pty Ltd was an outstanding example of how much a micro-business can achieve through innovation and personal enthusiasm. “News Limited congratulates Winangali on their success and look forward to them growing their business,” he said.  

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman congratulated Paronella Park, winners of the Queensland Government Regional Award. “This Award recognises the achievements of Queensland businesses doing extraordinary things in our regions. Looking at the calibre of the finalists, it’s clear that our people are our greatest natural resource in this state. The Queensland Government will continue to support business through a range of initiatives aimed at getting off the back of business and getting our state back on track,” he said.

The winners of the 2012 Telstra Queensland Business Awards announced in Brisbane are:

Telstra Queensland Business of the Year

Winangali Pty Ltd,  Dutton Park 


HTC Start Up Award

The Vet Lounge, Upper Coomera 


The Gold Coast veterinary care business offers experienced medical staff, the latest technology, separate hospital rooms for different species, and a loyalty program to encourage complete animal care. Judges said the business’s focus on patients and customers was exemplary, describing it as a highly innovative, professional business successfully marrying veterinary practice with differentiated products and services.

News Limited Micro-Business Award

Wingangali Pty Ltd,  Dutton Park 


MYOB Small Business Award

A&L Laurent Pty Ltd,  Airlie Beach 


Tony and Lolita Laurent launched A&L Laurent in 1994 to share their sense of adventure – gained through multiple Atlantic crossings and sailing feats - and the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands with others. They have grown the business into the region’s most comprehensive local tourism operation.

Commonwealth Bank Medium Business Award

Paronella Park, Mena Creek 


In 1993, Judy and Mark Evans purchased Paronella Park, a 13-hectare rainforest garden park built in the 1930s that had been shut for 15 years. They overhauled the park, developed its attractions and now have 120,000 visitors a year. Judges praised their vision, innovation and environmental initiatives, describing the park as an outstanding regional business attracting considerable tourist numbers despite its location.

Queensland Government Regional Award

Paronella Park,  Mena Creek


1300Australia People’s Choice Award

Cash Doctors Australia Pty Ltd,  Southport


Established in 2005, Cash Doctors provides instant cash relief to thousands of Australians each month through online cash advances.

Open to all entrants in the 2012 Awards, the People’s Choice Award is decided by a public vote, allowing customers, staff, suppliers and colleagues to show their support for their local businesses.

The winners of the Telstra Queensland Business Awards will be judged against category winners from other states and territories in the lead up to the national Telstra Australian Business Awards to be announced in Sydney on 29 August. Winners of the 2012 Awards receive a share of $500,000 in cash and prizes and become part of an exclusive national business alumni.

For more information about the Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit