Karen Parter – Chair Person 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.
Bianca Templar – Deputy Chair Person TAS
Bianca Templar, 24 from Tasmania is a Young activist and traditional and contemporary artist. 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 and currently works as a social and emotional wellbeing officers for aboriginal youth.
Continually, Bianca was one of 50 young aboriginal people chosen to represent Tasmania at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament. Furthermore, 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 as well as finalist for Tasmania’s Young Leader of the Year. Bianca has spent her young life advocating for the rights for the rights of first nations people, liaising with government to advocate for her community. Bianca strongly believes in the power of the grass roots level, which also revolves around respect, communication and self-determination.
Tanya Nasir – Secretary NT
Tanyah is a Garrawa, Djugun-Yawuru woman born and raised in Darwin. She is a descendant of the Stolen Generation’s history and also has links to Tiwi people. Tanyah is an Aboriginal educator who has worked across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. She has 30 years’ experience as a teacher, program developer and deliverer, lecturer and trainer and more recently educational facilitator.
Tanyah is passionate about empowering Indigenous Australians to see themselves as competent and confident contributors to society., She has always worked in the Indigenous context and she acknowledges and advocates the need for change and most importantly implicitly understands the approach and methodology required to achieve outstanding engagement, outcomes and success. She has extensive and relevant experience in working in the Indigenous education, employment and training arena as well as remote context and she is passionate about making a difference.
Tanyah owns and manages her own business and is the founder of the Rise UP Program, Be your Best, Own your future © an Indigenous empowerment and social transformational change program. The philosophy of Tanyah’s business is to build confidence and belief in self to develop the empowering thinking and pathways to ensure Indigenous people create the life they want.
Regina Turner – Treasurer TSI
Qualification: Diploma of Government
Regina Turner is a proud Zenadth Kes, sol-wata Ipikaziw/Kosker (Torres Strait Islander, saltwater woman), a descendant from Mabuyag & Mer, her people are the Waggadugam, Daurareb and Wuthathi (Cape York Aboriginal) clans.
Living on an isolated island community, Hammond Island, in the Torres Strait, with a population of approximately 350 people, there is limited access to services and employment opportunities.
Regina and her husband co-founded their family owned ‘creative industries’ enterprise. As an indigenous small business owner, she believes creating self-employment in remote communities will help alleviate social, emotional, health and family wellbeing issues through traditional cultural and creative arts industries.
In 2010, Regina was elected as President of Mura Kosker Sorority (All Women Sisters) Inc, Torres Strait Islands peak women’s organisation based on Thursday Island, which aims to reverse the levels of disadvantage for women, children and their families.
She encourages ‘good practice and transparent’ governance as a board of director, encompassing self-determination, building a resilient and sustainable ‘community controlled and owned’ organisation, that champions ‘women supporting women’.
With over 20 years’ experience in education and training sector, she is an Alumni of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Program, affirming personal and professional development benefits indigenous communities.
Her favorite past time is working with her creative arts partner, socialising with people, volunteering her time to community groups and immersing herself with loved ones.
Joslyn Eades-tass – Director WA
I am a Noongar woman, a descendant of the Noongar nation. I was born on Ballardong country and have traditional owner ties to the Wagyl Kaip Southern & South-West Boojarah regions.
I have passion and commitment to engage and maintain high level service delivery and outcomes for my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I have excellent experience in providing holistic, strategic, and culturally safe support services. I have an interest to collaborate to form strong partnerships with various agencies and suppliers that is instrumental.
I specialise in the spaces of social and community development impact, employment, procurement, mental health, justice and mediation services in metro, regional and remote areas. I am an experienced supervisor providing cultural supervision support to frontline non-Indigenous employees and leaders.
Tanja Hirvonen – Director QLD
Tanja is a proud Aboriginal Australian woman through her Mother who was born in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and Tanja identifies as Jaru and Bunuba. Her Grandmother is from the Barkly Tablelands region and Tanja’s Grandfather is from East Kimberley, Western Australia. Tanja’s father is from Finland.
Tanja grew up in Mount Isa and has most recently lived and worked throughout the Northern Territory for the past eight years and then living in Queensland for the past year. Tanja is a registered Clinical Psychologist and has a double degree majoring in psychology and human research management. She also holds a postgraduate degree, Masters in Clinical Psychology.
Regarding working experience Tanja has had over nine years of practical psychological experience, and Tanja has worked in academic, clinical, and executive roles as a clinical psychologist.
Tanja is a current Board Director of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association. Tanja is passionate about working in evidence based and culturally safe ways to make a difference to the health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Beverly Collins – Director NSW
Beverly Collins is a Bundjalung woman from Casino in Northern NSW a mother of two, five grannies and one great granny. After raising her babies, Beverly started working as a cleaner at Buyinbin Aboriginal Corporation, she then moved onto working at a local nursing home, after this, she took the opportunity at Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation Richmond Valley in a health worker position, she has now completed her Cert IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice and is now one of two qualified Aboriginal Health Practitioners working at BNAMCRV.
Beverly is passionate about working with Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander people to address the Health, social and economic barriers.
Beverly is active in her community and really looking forward to being involved in NATSIWA supporting Aboriginal women not just in her own community, but throughout Australia.
Patricia Waria-Read – Director SA
My traditional Ngadjuri lands are in the Mid-North of SA, and I have cultural links to the Nurrungga people of Yorke Peninsula, Permak people in the Riverland and with the Raukkan community in the Murraylands.
In my role as a community leader I work extensively within the diversity of the Aboriginal communities, having a deep understanding of the wide range of social issues faced by our communities.
My life-time purpose is to be active in advocating for the rights of my people, and to ensure that we have tenure over own lives. I have lived experienced in the struggles that we have to attend to over the years, in education, health, housing, and social justice. I consider myself a trailblazer, respectful and honest with all individuals who have walked with me through-out my life. It is important of me to participate in the planning practices in the delivery of culturally appropriate programs that will successful fostering self-help and self-determination, and to evaluate the obstacles that affect our Aboriginal communities and our families.
With the increase of Aboriginal people, (men, women and children) who are incarcerated in the criminal justice system, my main concerns is the effects of incarceration on their emotional health and well-being and the outreaching heartache it has on our families and community. My aim is to address the injustices that occur to women in prison, advocating for support with their medical matters, legal and family issues, addressing the effects on their well-being and resilience. I follow through with their matters to the appropriate Service Agencies and Ministers in South Australia and Canberra.
In my life journeys I have travel extensively throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory, and have worked with Aboriginal people in remote, country and urban areas, which has enabled me to connect with different groups, giving me insight into the diversity of what our communities have to deal with. Because of these links to our Aboriginal communities I have established personal relationships with many Aboriginal Elders and families’ through-out SA Aboriginal communities.
My field of employment is wide, beginning as transport driver for the Aboriginal Health Clinic at Davenport Community and proceeding into Support Worker for Aboriginal women in DV situations in Pt Augusta; moving into Adelaide to upgrade my education, which lead me into working with Aboriginal offenders within the prison systems.
My interactions with my people have always been to work directly with Aboriginal community members, specifically with women and families to implement a process where projects were developed from the ground upwards and are culturally sensitive that would lead our women to re-establish themselves back into our community, and reconnecting to family.
From 2006 I was employed with Aboriginal Prisoners Offenders Support Service, then moved in 2016 into employment with Department of Correctional Services as Aboriginal Liaison Officer and then as a Program Officer, leaving that employment in 2019. I now volunteer in the Nunga Court Port Adelaide and Adelaide Magistrate Court as a Respect Elder, and work with Margie Callaghan in the Salt & Pepper Outreach Team supporting Aboriginal in prison and on their release.
I will continue to advance the needs of our Aboriginal women offenders by negotiating with Service Agencies, Aboriginal organisations and Government Departments for better outcomes for our women and families.
Jessica Bennett – Director VIC
Jessica Bennett is a proud Ngunnawal woman who grew up on Wiradjuri country in Albury NSW.
In 2017 she moved to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Human Rights and Indigenous Cultures & Histories at Monash University, which she is currently still completing. She also works part time in the Monash Student Association as an Indigenous Student Office-Bearer and as a Programs Coordinator at the Korin Gamadji Institute which is based at Richmond Football Club.
Jessica is passionate about human rights and social justice, education and young people and is determined to have a career where she can make the quality of life better for other people.