Our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel

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.

Kate Russell

Awabakal (NSW)
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.

Dennis Batty

Taungurung (VIC)

Gunai/Kurnai (VIC)

Executive Director, Indigenous Employment Partners Ltd

Dennis is a Taungurung and Gunai/Kurnai man with 30 years of experience developing successful Indigenous employment training programs. Dennis has developed numerous successful Aboriginal employment and training programs and was part of the teams which established Australia’s first wholly Aboriginal owned and operated Job Network and Registered Training Organisation.

Dennis Batty is currently Executive Director of Indigenous Employment Partners Ltd, a wholly Aboriginal operated social enterprise providing recruitment, employment, and post-placement support services to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Corporate Australia. Dennis is a Director of Printing with Purpose, a wholly Aboriginal owned and operated, innovative multi-media, corporate communications, graphic design and print company.  He has previously been Coordinator of the Jobs Australia Ltd Indigenous Network, a national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned, and operated enterprises and community-based organisations involved in service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and a casual lecturer at Melbourne University School of Communication and Culture, Indigenous Studies Unit lecturing on developing partnerships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Organisations.

 

Lauren Letton

Ngarrindjeri (SA)
Narungga (SA)
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 coordination 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 Master of Business Administration (MBA) with the University of South Australia.

Professor Peter Anderson

Walpiri (NT)

Murinpatha (NT)

Inaugural Executive Director, Carumba Institute

Director, National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN) 

Professor Anderson is the inaugural Executive Director of the Carumba Institute. He is also the Director of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN), an ARC Special Research Initiative. Under Professor Anderson’s leadership, the Carumba Institute aims to transform both Indigenous research and Indigenous education. Central to these objectives are training and employment-enhancing initiatives as well as strategies to foster engagement and partnerships that matter to Indigenous people and communities.

In 2020, in partnership with QALT, he successfully achieved a global first accreditation for the Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) (Indigenous), which is a flagship education program for the Carumba Institute. This innovative professional development program is the first of its kind reflecting QUT’s leadership of the higher education sector’s ambitions to lift Indigenous participation, celebrate Indigenous excellence and recognise Indigenous contribution. 

Thomas Mayor

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.  

Jordy Mifsud

Gunditjmara (VIC)
Project Lead, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

I’m a proud Gunditjmara and Maltese woman, born on beautiful, sacred Eastern Maar land but currently residing on Bunurong Country. I'm passionate about culture, sport, creating positive change, supporting others, being a positive role model for our future generations, and seeking justice for Indigenous Australians and other disadvantaged groups and demographics.

Growing up being inspired by the strength and activism of my ancestors, I knew I had my own obligations to fulfil, by carrying on their legacies and fighting to make positive change for my people. Across my career, I've worked in several different sectors in Aboriginal affairs, and hope I'm able to create my own strong legacy for those that come after me.

I'm currently working at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in the Mental Health Royal Commission team as a Project Lead. 

Nareen Young

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 the 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 led 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.