Indigenous community advocate
NTState RecipientSenior Australian of the Year2014
A Nhulunbuy veteran, Klaus Helms has worked in many worlds. A former driller, corporate adviser and government business manager, Klaus has devoted the best part of 40 years to improving the lives of the local Indigenous community and promoting reconciliation. At just 17, Klaus arrived on the Nhulunbuy airstrip for the first time, was given a bag of bauxite, a tent and told ‘you’re camping there’.” He worked for all the mining players in the region, and when others flew out to recharge their batteries, Klaus would go bush. Klaus established strong relationships with the Yolngu people, and today is the Chief Executive Officer of the Gumatj Corporation, which is focused on developing sustainable industry through harnessing natural resources of North East Arnhem Land. Klaus has a long-term vision to secure the community’s economic independence, and has been instrumental in establishing projects such as cattle farming, meat production, timber mills and fishing operations to reduce the cost of living in the communities.