DCA supports the proper recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country’s history and of ensuring Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander voices are central in any discussions around recognition and reconciliation.
DCA’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel is an external group that provides guidance and advice on DCA’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Constitutional Recognition and Reconciliation activities.
Our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel is made up of respected Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community members across country, with representatives throughout Australian states and territories.
The Panel meets regularly throughout the year to assist DCA promote and facilitate, on behalf of its members, reconciliation between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, specifically with respect to better labour market engagement and recognition of the talents and untapped potential of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Panel members provide expertise, cultural knowledge and lived experience to DCA about our direction and activities in the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employment, community engagement and supplier diversity space.
DCA Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel Chair
DCA Board Director
Director Business Operations, Department of Regional NSW
A proud Aboriginal woman, Kate is committed to empowering her community. She draws on her extensive background in working across all tiers of government and community sectors to promote opportunities for Aboriginal peoples. Kate is passionate about engaging Aboriginal people and communities to co-design programs and services by using international best practice to effect change in Indigenous policy.
Kate commenced her career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney and Canberra. From 2008 to 2012 she worked in Spain for the Catalan Department of Education which greatly enhanced her insight and knowledge of minority nationalism at an international level. This experience provided her a global outlook which has remained throughout her career. Returning to Australia in 2008, she worked in the community sector, focussing on Aboriginal employment and leadership development before joining the NSW State Government in 2016.
In her current role as Director Diversity and Culture, Kate provides strategic advice to over 8,500 staff across the Department of Planning and Environment Cluster. Her team is responsible for designing cultural change initiatives in partnership with senior leaders, to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. She strives to ensure internal and external policies and services are inclusive and accessible for all peoples within the Cluster, across multiple state government agencies.
Her broad expertise and experience in diversity and inclusion, organisational culture, leadership, recruitment, learning and development, human resources and project management helps to develop programs that recognise the intersectionality of experience.
Kate is a graduate of Bachelor of International Studies (Distinction) and completed an MBA in 2013. She is currently completing an Executive Masters of Public Administration through Sydney University. She has previously served on the Glebe Youth Services and Rabbitoh’s Souths Cares boards.
Kuku Yalanji (QLD)
Co-Founder and Company Director, Indigilab
Kuku Yalanji man Luke Briscoe has worked professionally in the arts, cultural, education and policy sectors including NITV/SBS, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, The Australia Council, Metro Screen and Youth Arts Queensland. Mr Briscoe has developed and delivered a range of ground-breaking arts and media programs including an arts business training program and setup the Indigenous Media RING employment program and in 2015 Mr Briscoe founded INDIGI LAB which is an award winning change management agency that provides consultancy in the areas of Digital Inclusion, Indigenous STEM Education and Indigenous led Sustainable Development.
John Paul Janke
Murray Island (TSI)
Communications Director, Rork Projects
John Paul is Wuthathi from Cape York and from Murray Island in the Torres Strait. Born in Cairns, he has worked in media and communication related roles within Indigenous Affairs for some thirty years. He is currently co-owner of Rork Projects, - a national Indigenous fitout and refurbishment company servicing the corporate and government sectors and is the co-host of NITV’s flagship news and current affairs show – The Point.
From 1993-2004, he worked in the Public Affairs Unit with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and coordinated and managed several major national events.
In 2000, he worked with domestic and international media at the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In 2004, he was the Media Advisor for very first The Long Walk, Michael Long’s historic trek from Melbourne to Canberra and has coordinated National Press Club addresses.
Between 2004-2009, he worked for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council as their Director of Media and Marketing. His role included working with key stakeholders to develop and implement effective communication strategies promoting NSWALC’s Land Rights policies and processes and the need for further constitutional reforms to recognise the rights of Aboriginal peoples, particularly in NSW.
He previously sat on the ACT Indigenous Elected Body and from 2009-2017 was the Director of Public Program in the Public Engagement Program at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra.
Planning and Audit Officer, South Australia Police
As a proud Ngarrindjeri/Narungga woman, Lauren is committed to promoting cultural diversity, respect and equity within the South Australian community. Drawing on her extensive experience within the public sector and educational institutions, she campaigns for equality for Aboriginal peoples.
In 2009, Lauren commenced her career with the Department of Planning, Transport and infrastructure (DPTI) in Adelaide, South Australia. There, she worked across all tiers of government to promoted cultural diversity and equality within the workplace. Lauren was a member of DPTI’s Reconciliation Committee, a cultural representative and was awarded Campbelltown City Council’s NAIDOC award for services to the community.
In her current role as a Planning & Audit Officer, Lauren provides professional support in the areas of business planning, audit and risk management, policies and procedures. Lauren is responsible for the co-ordination of Parliamentary Estimate briefings, Service planning and audit requirements, undertaking reviews (including Freedom of Information Act Internal Reviews) and projects, preparation of/and reviewing Service policies and other significant proposals and matters.
In 2018, Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Written and Creative Communication) from the University of South Australia, where she developed skills as a professional, technical and creative writer, editor and publisher. Lauren is currently completing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with the University of South Australia.
Zenadth Kes (TSI)
Northern Territory Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia
Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander who was born and raised on Larrakia Land in Darwin.
He was a stevedore, or wharfie, for sixteen years before becoming an official of his union, the Maritime Union of Australia. As an activist in his local community, Thomas has passionately fought for workers rights, Indigenous rights, and for social justice in general. In 2017 he attended the Darwin Regional Constitutional Dialogue, where he was elected to represent the region at the Uluru National Constitutional Convention. The convention is where the Uluru Statement from the Heart was overwhelmingly endorsed on 26 May 2017.
Thomas has since advocated for the proposals in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and is the author of ‘Finding the Heart of the Nation – the journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth’, published by Hardie Grant. His book tells his story, the story of the Uluru Statement, and features some of the remarkable Indigenous people that he met on his campaigning journey. A children’s version, Finding Our Heart, will be published in June 2020.
Today, Thomas continues to advocate for the Uluru Statement while being the National Indigenous Officer and Deputy Secretary of the Northern Territory Branch for the Maritime Union of Australia, and the Assistant Secretary of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council.
Managing Director, Mifsud Consulting
Jason Mifsud is a proud member of the Eastern Maar people of the Gunditjmara nation in South West Victoria and for the past twenty years has been leading cultural change and organisational transformation across numerous sectors.
Jason is currently the Managing Director of Mifsud Consulting. Mifsud Consulting partners with clients from across the community, government and private sectors on the design, implementation and monitoring of tailored solutions predominantly in Indigenous affairs, diversity and inclusion.
Prior to starting his own business, Jason was the Executive Director for Aboriginal Victoria at the Department of Premier and Cabinet where he led the whole-of government Aboriginal Affairs reform agenda between the Victorian Government and Victorian Aboriginal community.
This included establishing the architecture and governance arrangements to embed Aboriginal self-determination in cultural, social and economic policy as well as the roadmap to a Treaty agreement, an Australian first.
A former AFL player and coach, Jason was the first senior Adviser on Indigenous and Multicultural Affairs for the Australian Football League (AFL) overseeing significant reach, growth and impact and was pivotal in establishing the AFL Indigenous Advisory Council in 2014.
Jason is a Harvard Business School Alumni, a Director for the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, Director of the Victorian Federation of Traditional Owner Corporation, Chair of the Melbourne Grammar Indigenous Advisory Committee and a member of the NAB Indigenous Advisory Group, Telstra Indigenous Advisory Board and the AFL Indigenous Advisory Council.
He has also recently been appointed to the Deakin University, MBA Advisory Board and the Diversity Council of Australia, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait External Advisory Panel.
Jason is also the Chair of the Eastern Marr Aboriginal Corporation and is currently leading the negotiations with the Victorian Government on a traditional owner settlement. The Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (the Act) provides for an out-of-court settlement of native title and allows the Victorian Government to recognise traditional owners with certain economic and Crown land rights.
He was previously a Board member for Barwon Water and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and held senior executive roles at South West Healthcare and Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative.
In 2010 Jason was recognised as one of Australia’s top ten emerging leaders and in 2011 addressed the United Nations on Indigenous Affairs.
Inner City Sydney (NSW)
Professor Indigenous Policy (Indigenous Workforce Diversity), University of Technology Sydney
Nareen Young is Industry Professor, Indigenous Policy (Indigenous Workforce Diversity) at Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research at University of Technology, Sydney where she is Director of the Indigenous People and Work Research and Practice Hub. The Hub is a community of scholars and practitioners that aims to enhance and advance the standing of Indigenous people in the Australian employment market via robust diversity research and practice.
Prior to this appointment Nareen spent over twenty years developing her standing as one of Australia’s leading and most respected employment diversity practitioners, leading two peak diversity employment organisations (NSW Working Women’s Centre and Diversity Council Australia) to enormous impact and success. She has lead diversity thinking and practice in Australia, and most recently as employment lead for PwC’s Indigenous Consulting where she developed many concepts for Indigenous employment diversity practice. Nareen is influenced by her own Indigenous and culturally diverse heritages in this regard and has received many citations, awards and accolades for her work. She has commentated widely and published and presented Nationally and internationally.
Nareen also has significant governance experience. She spent a three year term as a Director of Indigenous Business Australia and currently serves as Director of Souths Cares, BlakDance and Refugee Talent.