Susan Sewter – Chair QLD

Susan Sewter is a Lardil woman from Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria with ties to Waanyi and Gangalidda on the mainland.

The mother of 4 daughters and grandmother to 7. Susan grew up in Burketown, Cloncurry, Quamby and a few short years in Mt. Isa. At 16 she went to Brisbane for TAFE and was lucky enough to land her first job travelling to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities with a Hearing Team. This was a fantastic experience for a 17 year old.

This experience set the foundations for a life of community based work. In the 90’s Susan became a teacher through the Remote Area Teacher Program delivered by James Cook University. After many years of teaching Susan wanted a change and ran for the local Council elections and was lucky enough to be elected to the Mayor position.

Four years of hard work through a rough period of Local Government Reform provided Susan with the drive to find avenues for community to engage more with Governement, Funding Bodies and Service Providers. We started the dialogue with the three levels of Government to establish a partnership with the Mornington Island community to enable us to determine the appropriate services for our community.

It was also through this period as Mayor that Susan saw the Health of Mornington Island as a maze where our people were just going around and around. This is when she decided that in order for our people to be engaged in Education, Employment, Healthy Homes and Family and community activities that we need to have our people healthy – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The past 15 years Health has been at the forefront of her life through the establishment of the Mornington Island Health Council.

Currently, Susan is involved part-time with the local Cultural Centre ensuring that our cultural practices are embedded in the services provided on the Island. Susan has spent the past 30+ years working toward improving our lives on Mornington Island through many forums. Susan is proud to have been a part of the advocacy to have Community Controlled Health Services in the Gulf region – a struggle of 15 years.

Christine Ross – Director WA

Christine is an Arrernte/ Kaytetye desert woman born in Alice Springs, growing up in Darwin.

She is Passionate about securing real employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, she was seconded by Crown Limited to develop their first Aboriginal Employment Program. Two years later, Crown won the ‘2010 Diversity at Work Award’ and are now seen as a ‘Best Practice’ employer.

As a high profile Aboriginal spokesperson, She has been invited to share her experience and expertise on many Boards and Committees.

With many years spent working for the Department of Education Training in WA, Christine co-wrote the DET’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy and assisted many Aboriginal people with employment and career advancement.

Christine lectured at Murdoch University, worked for the Department of Justice and was the GM of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association.

Christine has strong experience working in key Indigenous Roles in the Resource Sector WA. She was the Founder and Convenor of the Inaugural Indigenous Woman in Mining Conference in 2012 -now held annually as well as the Convenor of the Inaugural Indigenous Australians in the Resource Sector Forum 2014.

Anna Strzelecki – Treasurer SA

Bachelor of Business (Administrative Management)

Anna, a Kokatha woman, is the interim Director for South Australia. She is an Aboriginal Student Engagement officer at the University of South Australia. She has extensive knowledge and experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, particularly in relation to education at all levels. Anna has a comprehensive understanding of departmental and business protocols with a long history at working with government agencies at all levels.

Along with her extensive history in implementing, managing and auditing Commonwealth government programs involving education and employment, she has a passion for improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Bianca Templar – Director TAS

Bianca Templar, 24 from Tasmania. Bianca is a proud pakana woman whose grandmother was raised on Cape Barren Island – off the North East tip of Tasmania

At the age of 14, Bianca was chosen by the Elders Council of Tasmania, to produce the documentary, “The Island Music”. This involved going to Cape Barren Island to learn about life on the islands from her elders. A year later, this documentary was nominated for an Australian Teachers of Media award.

Bianca has completed a Bachelor of Social Work in 2016. While studying, she taught Tasmanian Aboriginal History at the University of Tasmania, and in primary schools through the Aboriginal Education Department. Since finishing her tertiary studies, Bianca has been working with her community as an Aboriginal Pathways Planner.

Bianca was one of 50 young aboriginal people chosen to represent Tasmania at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament.. Bianca was selected as a Tasmanian delegate to attend the Treaty conference and street march in Sydney in 2018.

Bianca has also been finalist for Tasmanian Aboriginal Young Achiever award for the past three years.

Bianca strongly believes in the power of the grass roots level, which also revolves around respect, communication and self determination.

Karin Williams – Director VIC

Karin Williams is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman from the Bindal and Juru people, Darnley (Erub) and Murray (Mer) Islands in the Torres Strait along with strong family connections to Cherbourg in Queensland. She was born in Charleville and grew up in Bundaberg Queensland.

In 1985, Karin made the decision to move to Melbourne, where her chosen field of study was as an Aboriginal Health Worker at Koori Kollij.

During her time in Melbourne Karin met her partner Reg Thorpe and where they currently continue to live and have two daughters and a granddaughter.

Karin commenced working at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) in June 1986 as an Aboriginal Health Worker and Senior Aboriginal Health Worker where she provided over 18 years of continuous service. Subsequently Karin, left VAHS for 3 years and returned as the Coordinator for the Women and Children’s program for couple of years and then transferred back into the Medical Area as the Clinical Coordinator and Manager for 12 months.

For the last years Karin has worked and continues to work as a Koori Youth Justice Worker at Bert Williams Aboriginal Youth Centre, a program of Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited.

Karin has been on the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Board for the past seven years where she has held the position of Chair, Deputy Chair and Board Member.

Other Boards that Karin has served on include Yappera Children’s Service, Fitzroy Stars Gymnasium, Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation, Koorie Diabetes Services, Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Melbourne Stars Basketball Club.

Karin has been a representative for Victoria on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance board of directors since November 2013.

In Karin’s spare time as volunteers she has been actively involved in junior sporting carnivals for many years, with raising funds, organizing, training, providing transport and supervision of young people.

Bronwyn Penrith – Director NSW

Bronwyn Penrith is a widely respected Aboriginal Woman who has been has a lifelong commitment and engagement with her Community. She holds the Family responsibilities of a Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, and is a recognised kinship Carer. Alongside her lived experience Bronwyn has pursued a role in Private Business and is the Senior Director of a private company who are resisted with Supply Nation.

Bronwyn experience in the NGO sector includes Chairperson of Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women Centre in Chippendale and a Director of the Redfern Foundation Ltd. She is also a past member of a number Women representatives on local, state and National levels, plus the City of Sydney Aboriginal Advisory Council.

Bronwyn is a trained facilitator experienced in Community education workshops, cultural awareness and mentoring training. She is a skilled mediator and a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, of long standing, with the Australian Government Department of the Attorney General. And on the NSW legal aid Mediators Panel, in family law and including Care & Protection Mediation. In Addition to her employment experience, Bronwyn’s qualifications include a Diploma in Business: Indigenous Governance, Mentoring in Diversity and Project Management Much of her works is in a voluntary capacity and She has recently been recognised for her voluntary delivery of series of Lateral Violence Workshops at the Women Centre.

Bronwyn is the Chair of the SevenSisters of NCOSS, a group formed from around the NSW set up inform NCOSS and Government on issues impacting on Aboriginal Women and our NSW Communities. She is a member of the NSW Women Legal Resource Centre Aboriginal Women Network.

Bronwyn is a member of the Leadership group for “Building Better Lives for Ourselves’. Conference of 100 A&TSI Women and been invited to continue to participate with that Group of Aboriginal as well as facilitate on the Program. She is on a journey of Reclaiming Culture, through language, and Cultural Practice.

Bronwyn led the Making of a Possum Skin Cloak at Mudgin-gal Women Centre the first made by local community Aboriginal Women in 200 years. Bronwyn has been featured in ‘The Redfern Story’ a documentary, tracing the History of the Modern Aboriginal Movement through the lens of the National Black theatre. Bronwyn is an avid reader and likes to stay up to date with current politics.

Karen Parter – Director ACT

Karen is Program Manager for The Smith Family in Canberra. Prior to this, she worked for a decade in the not-for-profit sector with an Aboriginal employment and training business working with government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors, and previous to that, two years as an adviser with Reconciliation Australia. Karen also brings a wealth of experience in the public sector from nearly two decades with the Queensland Public Sector.

Karen is a Kalkadoon woman who was born and raised on her ancestral lands in north-west Queensland. Her culture is at the heart of everything she does, and she is passionate about working with other Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to overcome social, cultural and economic barriers. Karen has a record of success in supporting others to achieve significant life outcomes.

A graduate of Deakin University in Victoria, Karen brings her knowledge, experience and passion to children, young people and families and in the process, supports strengths-based approaches to health, education, parenting and family support.