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Anthony Mundine's MGM Australia tackling construction industry with grass roots values

Jess Whaler -

Anthony Mundine has excelled with sporting prowess in both rugby league and professional boxing and has been an Australian media identity for decades.

He is now turning his focus toward the construction industry and providing career pathways for First Nation's community through a business venture Mundine Gosh Management (MGM) Australia, established in partnership with lifelong friend Gosh Daher. The business is focused on social outcomes and creating opportunity for First Nations communities.

Mr Mundine entered the public spotlight as an eighteen year old playing first grade for St George, and soon developed a reputation for being both brazen and outspoken on contentious issues. He says his message was often misconstrued and/or misrepresented by mainstream media.

By age 21, he encountered racism in the sport when a high profile player called him a "Black c_nt", this preceded years of similar experiences which he combatted openly through dialogue, standing up for himself without fear of criticism.

Mr Mundine became a top selling athlete across two sports. His public persona, which often copped backlash, was "show biz" - he told National Indigenous Times.

In the nineties, whilst Mr Mundine was making a name for himself, sport and mainstream media were dominated by caucasian executives, commentators and journalists, personalities who could speak freely without fear of persecution, a privilege which was not and often still not granted to First Nations identities.

The Human Rights Commission have highlighted an observation made by Professor Collin Tatz in his 1987 publication Aborigines in Sport "they're Australians when they're winning, and Aborigines at other times," which validates the well documented experience of many First Nations sports stars.

In the past, First Nations athletes were expected to play sport and keep their mouths shut, which clearly did not resonate with Mr Mundine, who would speak freely.

Despite Mr Mundine's work with mob and time spent giving back to community, media tended to focus on controversy, friends and supporters say.

"They didn't want to know about the good work he was doing in community or his big heart," a close friend said.

Mr Mundine told National Indigenous Times that his business venture MGM Australia, which he runs alongside lifelong mate Gosh Daher, provides training and employment pathways for First Nations men and women in between the ages of 17-45 years.

The company is bridging gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses. They currently provide roadside barrier hire and installation, construction; and building maintenance.

MGM Management team painting concrete barriers. (Image: supplied)

MGM Australia also provide training and mentorship for employees that comes from 'the man', Choc himself.

"We just try and get them on the ground and have them set goals. Everyone's different some need more mentorship than others" he said.ierHire a

The employee mentorship offered is based on Mr Mundine's career experience, including being coached by Australia's best coaches, and a solid foundation of knowledge that was passed on to him by his father Tony Mundine.

Mr Mundine told NIT his father was fiercely against alcohol, smoking and gambling, and encouraged him to stay away from these "poisons of life".

On growing up as a young Aboriginal man in Suburban Sydney, he said "what didn't break me made me stronger... I boxed out of Redfern but grew up out in Canterbury".

"Mum was always the backbone of our family," he said.

On retired life, Mr Mundine said: "I still train to maintain mind, body and soul. Your body is your temple. I'm as fit as I've ever been."

When asked what inspired an interest in property and construction, Mr Mundine said; "My father always said that his biggest regret after making money from boxing was not investing in property."

This life lesson prompted Mr Mundine to start investing into property from early days in his career and he now owns a portfolio of properties with a net worth of $20 million, he longs to share this knowledge and business savvy with Indigenous communities.

Throughout his career, Mr Mundine demonstrated an eagerness to give back to community through self-funded initiatives designed to help promote the value of health and education.

In 2021, he helped to build Mibayn Disability Support Service alongside his sister Kelly Mundine, the service helps Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons navigate the NDIS

"My sister's been in that space for some time, but she was always working for someone else," he said.

He also established a Mundine Mindset program and the Anthony Mundine Foundation which supports youth mental health, the program is run through his father's gym in Redfern.

Continuing to broaden his scope, Mr Mundine's focus has turned toward Indigenous businesses and procurement in Australia, in true Choc style he has not been shy with raising an alert toward non-Indigenous businesses who are taking advantage of procurement policies such as those successful tender recipients who simply tick boxes without then feeding economic opportunity back into Indigenous communities.

Mr Mundine said he has nothing against these businesses but he would like to see them: "Do it right and with integrity."

Together with his business partner Mr Daher, the duo are committed to providing long-term solutions that boost economic opportunities that build Indigenous communities up.

"We want to train brothers and sisters up, where they get their own licenses and then we want to see them at the round table competing against us to win the tender," Mr Mundine said.

Mr Daher added: "There will be no better feeling!"

Mr Mundine standing alongside mentees and new recruits graduating with Traffic Control and White Card training. (Image: supplied)

"I'm deep in the business and I hold myself accountable to my people," Mr Mundine said.

The man who has generated ample income over the years through sport and property investments to date, highlighted that this new venture is for his people: "I don't care about the money."

MGM Australia also allocates a sum of money each year for Sorry Business, so their employees are supported to tend to their wellbeing, family and cultural obligations.

"We work with mob who are young adults out of school or unemployed, to those who are out of incarceration, we hope to work with jails to provide transitional support, so they have employment when they come out," Mr Mundine said.

"Everyone deserves a second chance in life and MGM are willing to give them employment," said Mr Daher.

Mr Mundine and Mr Daher - whose background is in construction - are proving to be a formidable duo, since establishing MGM Australia in 2016, the business has grown to develop strong working relationships with big companies such as Connect Sydney (Road Maintenance contract), Fulton Hogan Utilities (Concrete Barriers), Marine Civil Maintenance (MCN - traffic controlling), Revert Re-Cycling and ALD Demolition (in partnership), all engagements have First Nations men and women on the ground working.

Mr Mundine and Mr Daher working in partnership with other businesses. (Image: supplied)

Proud of their accomplishments, Mr Daher told National Indigenous Times of a big partnership they have secured for next year which will see their business working on the Western Sydney Distributor Smart Motorway with Smart Link Alliance a formed entity made up of Tf NSW, Seymour Whyte Constructions, Ventia, and Aerocon to transform the motorway using digital dynamic signs that will allow traffic to move more easily providing a safer and more consistent and less congested journey.

For this project, MGM as the principal contractor have engaged with an Indigenous Business Dean Connect (Raymond Toomey) who will be hauling and terminating power cabling to newly installed ITS Infrastructure.

When asked how the MGM team found each other and formed their business, Mr Daher said: "Choc (Mr Mundine) and I met back in highschool through footy and have been friends for thirty years."

Mr Daher said with regard to issues around Indigenous procurement policies: "It's simple - it should be how many Aboriginal people you have on the ground."

Mr Mundine added: "A body or a council needs to govern this."

The new venture is not about ticking boxes for Mr Mundine, who incorporates family into the business with his son now working for the company.

"I want to change Aboriginal lives for the better," he said.

The duo told National Indigenous Times that they are on the verge of establishing the first ever Indigenous steel company.

Mundine's three key tips for success:

Stay away from poisons.

Hang out with people who are positive.

Life's about choices.

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