Ian Rawlings

Chief Executive Officer

Ian Rawlings has extensive experience working in Indigenous Affairs in Western Australia.

Since the early 1990s he has held community development and administration roles in remote Aboriginal communities and held policy development, compliance and grant administration roles in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

As the Chief Executive Officer at Desert Support Services  Ian is committed to realising the Board’s vision of providing the highest quality of services and support to Indigenous organisations in remote Australia. 

Ian is also the Chairman of Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund Ltd. 

Colin napier

Chief Financial Officer

Colin Napier is a qualified chartered accountant and holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.  He began his career in private practice working for such firms as Pricewaterhousecoopers and RSM in a capacity advising small and medium sized businesses.  He subsequently worked for Coogee Chemicals Pty Ltd where he was CFO as well as a Director and Company Secretary and then worked for ASX listed Neptune Marine Services Ltd as CFO during their turnaround period.  Mr Napier has over 30 years experience working in and consulted to a range of industries such as transport, oil and gas, professional firms, service businesses, manufacturing and construction.

Rob Thomas

General Manager

Rob is General Manager of Desert Support Services (DSS).  Rob worked for 22 years in a variety of natural resource management and Indigenous affairs roles within the private sector and WA state public sector, including senior leadership and executive roles, before joining Central Desert Native Title Services (CDNTS) in 2009.

Rob was recruited to CDNTS to oversee the development and delivery of what, at the time, was a fledgling Land and Community program.  

Under Rob’s leadership, the dedicated Land and Community team have worked alongside a number of client organisations to co-develop innovative partnership models and to build and deliver ranger programs, IPAs and other highly valued local and regional projects across the desert region. 

Rob also held a position on the board of Rangelands NRM WA for two years from 2015 -2017.

Rob, together with the Land and Community and Organisational Support and Development programs and staff, transferred from CDNTS to DSS in July 2017.


Clients Services & Partnerships Manager

Richard Gordine has over 30 years experience in the resource industry sector initially in technical roles and subsequently in a range of environmental, land access and community engagement roles.  He has worked for a number of mining and oil and gas companies across WA while building and maintaining significant community partnerships.  He has a diverse educational and professional background, which support his interests in realising meaningful Aboriginal opportunity. Richard has a first-class Honours Bachelors degree in biological science Zoology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Impact Assessment.


Alissa Strain

Business Adminstration Manager

Alissa Strain began her career with Central Desert Native Title Services in 2011 as a Facilitator in the Land & Community Projects team. This role provided the opportunity to engage with native title client groups and helped build her working knowledge of people, communities and partners in the region.

Alissa is currently Business Administration Manager for DSS and continues to work towards more streamlined processes for staff and services to clients.