Ngiwa Yarna (Aboriginal Action) Committee

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Council's Ngiwa Yarna (Aboriginal Action) Committee was established in late 2011 as a way of strengthening Council’s relationships and engagement with the local Aboriginal community. The purpose of the committee is to improve and enhance the wellbeing of the Aboriginal community in the Mildura Rural City Council municipality.

The committee meets monthly in a hybrid format – both online, and at Council’s Deakin Avenue Service Centre.

Committee membership consists of community members, Elders, representatives from key local Aboriginal organisations and committees and two Councillors.

Meet our current members:

Patsy Doolan

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Position: Community member - Chair


Tribe:
 Barkindji/Paakantyi 

Achievements: Patsy is involved in other areas of the community, including the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG), the Koori Courts, Umalek Balit, while also acting as Chair of the Mallee Aboriginal Government Employee Network (MAGEN).

What has the AAC done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the AAC: "As a member of the Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) Aboriginal Action Committee (AAC), I have been working to give the local Aboriginal community a voice in Council decision-making. I believe the partnership with Council is very important, as it acknowledges the ongoing Aboriginal connection to the community, its peoples and lands that it meets on.

"The AAC has played an important role in a number of projects with Council, including the development of the riverfront, the MRCC Regional Action Plan (RAP), the Reconciliation Week March, the NAIDOC Corroboree and the service for Orange Ribbon week."

Jenene Murray

Jenene Murray

Position: (LAECG) Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

Tribe: Wiradjuri 

Achievements: Jenene is a respected member of the community, and also an active member of the AAC for the past five years. Jenene’s connection to community has given her the opportunity to bring to the AAC "a true reflection" of the local Koorie community, and how it impacts on Council decision-making regarding the future of the community. Jenene shares the view that strong partnerships with Council is important as it acknowledges the Aboriginal ongoing connection to the area.

What has the AAC done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the AAC: "As an AAC member, I have supported a number of projects with Council, including the development of the riverfront, the MRCC Regional Action Plan (RAP), the Reconciliation Week march, the NAIDOC Corroboree event and the service for Ochre Ribbon week. I have been also involved in other areas of the community, including the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG) as Chairperson, Mildura LAN, Mildura LAJAC and supported the opening of the Orange Door." 

Sandra Stewart

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Position: Elder

Tribe: Wemba Wemba

Achievements: Sandra is a founding member of the Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) Aboriginal Action Committee (AAC), working to create an avenue that would give the local Koorie community a voice in Council decision-making.

What has the AAC done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the AAC: "I believe the partnership with Council is important as it acknowledges the Aboriginal ongoing connection to the area. The AAC has played an important role in a number of projects with Council, including the development of the riverfront, the MRCC Regional Action Plan (RAP), the Reconciliation Week march, the NAIDOC Corroboree and the service for Orange Ribbon week. I have also been involved in other areas of the community, including the Koorie Courts, the Orange Door Advisory Committee, and the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG), and as a Ministerial appointment to the state Victims of Crime Consultative Committee."

Sharon Johnson

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Position: Community member

Tribe: Wangkumarra/Kamilaroi

Achievements: Sharon has worked for more than 26 years in the Aboriginal Health field, while being a long-time human rights and social justice advocate. Sharon is also passionate about equality, self-determination and Aboriginal people have a voice.

What has the AAC done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the AAC: "Being on the AAC enables me to have a seat at the table, and offer my cultural knowledge, professional experience, as well as lived experience to the Council, which can help with its decision-making where the Aboriginal community can be consulted and represented.

"I have been living in Mildura since 2019, and have been a member of AAC since early 2021. Policy-setting, good communication, consultation and respecting cultural lore and protocols will enable the AAC to remain strong and unified as we work together for a better and more inclusive future for Aboriginal people in the North West of Victoria." 

LeRoy Badenoch

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Tribe: Wamba Wamba, Nyeri Nyeri, Wergaia and Dhudhuroa

Achievements: LeRoy is currently a senior adviser with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing's Aboriginal Engagement and Outcomes Unit.

What has the AAC done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the AAC: "I've joined the AAC to help improve relationships with all levels of government, and provide opportunities to increase shared outcomes, particularly at the local level with the Mildura Rural City Council. The Aboriginal Action Committee provides an opportunity for local Aboriginal people to have an opportunity to have an Aboriginal lens on important projects that may have an opportunity to showcase Aboriginal culture. I'm really looking to being Involved in the development of the Corroboree as part of the Mildura Rural City Council's NAIDOC activities."

Nikita Hart

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Position:
Community member - Deputy Chair

Tribe: Bundjalung

Achievements: Nikita is a devoted mother of three. She has worked in Mildura for 13 years in various roles within the education and health settings. Nikita is passionate about her community, strength-based approaches and evaluation. She values her community connections and relationships. 

What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the committee: Being a part of Ngiwa Yarna has given me the opportunity to practice thoughtful leadership. It has been a way to connect with Aboriginal Elders and change-makers to share, learn and connect. I would encourage our mob to be involved, so they too can be a part of change for our people and our communities.

Peter Matsumoto

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Position: Community member

Tribe: Barkindji

Achievements: Peter is currently employed as the Acting Manager of Primary and Community Services at Robinvale District Health Services. He has a Bachelor in Health Science (Mental Health) and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (Arts - Psychology - Foundations of Psychology 1 & 2) and was the 2021 Indigenous Alumni of the Year for Charles Sturt University.

What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the committee: Aboriginal people need to be involved in Ngiwa Yarna to provide first-hand knowledge and experience of situations that involve and are related to our people. We need to guide and advise on decisions that affect our mob.

The Ngiwa Yarna Committee has demonstrated huge commitment in working alongside Council, demonstrating positive relationships and ongoing communication between Council and the community, to make positive and sustainable change.

Some key achievements of the AAC to date can be found on our Aboriginal Heritage Page


Expressions of Interest now open

We currently have an opportunity for members of the Mildura Aboriginal community to join our Ngiwa Yarna (Aboriginal Action) Committee. If you are interested in joining, please complete our online form to register your interest. Applicants must also attach a cover letter explaining their suitability to this position as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community member.

Express interest in joining Ngiwa Yarna


More information

Contact our Diversity and Inclusion Officer Claire Galvin
Phone: 03 5018 8100