Ngiwa Yarna Committee
Council's Ngiwa Yarna Committee (formerly the 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:
Position: Community member - Chair
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 Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved: As a member of the Mildura Rural City Council Ngiwa Yarna Committee, 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.
"Ngiwa Yarna 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."
Tribe: Wemba Wemba
Achievements: Sandra is a founding member of the Mildura Rural City Council Ngiwa Yarna Committee, working to create an avenue that would give the local Koorie community a voice in Council decision-making.
What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved: "I believe the partnership with Council is important as it acknowledges the Aboriginal ongoing connection to the area. Ngiwa Yarna 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."
Position: Community member
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 Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved: "Being on the Ngiwa Yarna Committee 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 Ngiwa Yarna 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."
Position: Community member - Deputy Chair
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.
Position: Community member
Achievements: Peter 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.
Position: Mallee Dhelk Dja Regional Coordinator
Achievements: I am an identical twin, a proud mother and have advocated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of sexual assault and domestic and family violence.
For the last 13 years, I have devoted my time to work in Aboriginal Community services in Broken Hill and surrounding areas, including Wilcannia, Menindee, Ivanhoe, Tibooburra, Dareton and Wentworth.
I am a former Manager of Aboriginal Prevention Legal Violence Service 'Warra Warra' - a free legal service that provides legal advice, representation and assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault in the Far West of NSW.
I also received my Certificate IV to become a qualified Aboriginal Health Practitioner at the Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation. I performed this role for eight years, running my own Smoking Programs and assisting dieticians with community dinners and healthy promotional events.
What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the committee: I feel very honoured to represent Mallee Dhelk Dja on the Ngiwa Yarna Committee. The opportunity to develop my knowledge and understanding of the Mallee communities and service providers will be very helpful for my journey with Dhelk Dja. I hope to provide honest information, suggestions and leadership to all the committee while maintaining cultural respect and awareness. I look forward to collaborating for change for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.
Position: Community member representative
Tribe: Torres Strait Islander – Darnley Yam
Achievements: As part of the Stolen Generation, one of my biggest achievements has been finding my family. I started searching at 18 and found them in my 40s. I live in Coomealla and work at Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-op supporting people engaged in the justice system.
What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the committee: I think Ngiwa Yarna is important – the relationship between First Nations People and Council gives us a voice to be heard. Connection and partnership shows that Council is listening to people.
Tribe: Barkindji, Malangaappa
Achievements: I’ve been a performing poet, singer, and song-writer for years. I’ve been a grape picker, a truck driver and am a proud family man.
What has Ngiwa Yarna done for you and why should Aboriginal people be involved in the committee: I think it’s important for Council to listen to Aboriginal community, and hear our ideas about how things should be in our community. And as an Elder, it’s my duty to pass on what I know about our culture.
Position: First People of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal Corporation representative.
Position: Mallee District Aboriginal Services representative
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 opportunities for two youth members (aged 16 to 25) of the Mildura Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to join our Ngiwa Yarna Committee. If you are interested in joining, please complete our online form to register your interest. Applicants must also attach a short cover letter explaining their suitability to this position.
Express interest in joining Ngiwa Yarna
Contact our Diversity and Inclusion Officer Claire Galvin
Phone: 03 5018 8100