Patricia Waria-Read

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.

NATSIWA aims to work to advocate and empower the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women in Australia



ABN 27 732 591 422