Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Indigenous Youth Leaders 2005 Announced

Promoting issues of relevance to young Indigenous Australians will be the focus for the 17 members of the Howard Government’s National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG) 2005-06.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon Sussan Ley, today announced the new NIYLG members who will have the opportunity to raise issues important to them and their communities, directly with the Howard Government.

“This year’s members are exceptional individuals who are already recognised as leaders within their communities, and their contribution to the NIYLG will ensure issues of real importance to young Indigenous Australians will be heard,” Mrs Ley said.

“The members, aged 18 to 24 years, come from a diverse range of backgrounds in terms of employment, location and interests and will be able to bring their own unique experiences and issues to the table through this year’s NIYLG.

“I am especially delighted to be able to make this announcement so soon after the excellent work by last years NIYLG who made their presentation to Government at the end of June”.

“We have full-time and part-time students from both university and TAFE, employees from the government, business and community sectors, as well as parents and volunteers.

Mrs Ley said members are drawn from across Australia including from urban, regional and remote locations.

“NIYLG is providing the opportunity for the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to share their views on issues of importance and to gather the views and experiences of other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their community.

“Being part of this group also empowers young Indigenous people to develop their leadership skills and create a bridge between Indigenous communities and the Government.”

“I wish this new group all the very best for what should be a thoroughly rewarding year in which they can make a lasting contribution, and have their voices heard by the government,” Mrs Ley said.

National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group 2005-06

Members Biographies

Australian Capital Territory
Northern Territory
Western Australia
New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory

Steven Brown, 23, Mawson

Steven works as a Public Servant with the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC). He has been actively involved in the Canberra community as an Indigenous mentor with the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation and the Deadly Mura Program, where he was required to supervise children and mature-aged students. He is interested in drug prevention and support programmes for young people in the community.

Brendan Church, 24, McKellar

Brendan is an Indigenous Home School Liaison Officer with the Department of Education and Training (DEST) in the ACT. He is also a volunteer ambassador for the DEST National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (NIELNS) as a result of his high profile in the Canberra community. Brendan was a finalist in the 2005 Young Canberran of the Year Awards. He is interested in education, participation and youth detention and incarceration.

Northern Territory

Ngaree Ah Kit, 23, Leanyer

Ngaree works as a Public Servant with the Northern Territory Government. In 2004 she was a member of the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s Round Table for Young Territorians, where she undertook a project on youth gangs and presented her findings to the Chief Minister. She is interested in education, leadership, crime and drug use.

Jason King, 21, Santa Teresa Community, via Alice Springs

Jason comes from a remote community in Central Australia. He moved away from family to gain work experience, and is currently employed as an Aboriginal Health Worker with the Santa Teresa Community Council. Here, he has assisted to organise activities for young men that aim to promote a healthy lifestyle. Jason has also sought training in youth suicide prevention as a result of living in a community where suicide has been a major problem. Jason is interested in health issues such as suicide and substance abuse.

Camille Lew Fatt, 22, Anula

Camille works in International Marketing at Charles Darwin University and is studying graphic design part-time at TAFE. She has been involved in many government and community activities for young people over the years, including the Aboriginal and Islander Tertiary Aspirations Program (AITAP) and the Northern Territory Indigenous Youth Summit in 2001. Camille would like to explore issues around Indigenous education, health and crime.


Jenelle Jennings, 18, New Town

Jenelle, a young Palawa woman, is currently working with the Office of Aboriginal Affairs as an Administrative Assistant. She participated in the National Youth Roundtable 2003. Jenelle is passionate about issues affecting Aboriginal young people in Tasmania, such as education, substance abuse, domestic violence, employment and reconciliation.

South Australia

Chris Wilson, 22, Christie Downs

Chris is currently working as an Associate Lecturer/Academic Advisor as well as studying for a Bachelor of Archaeology (Honours) at Flinders University in South Australia. Chris attended and presented a collaborative paper at the Fifth World Archaeological Congress in Washington DC. Through NIYLG, he would like to explore Indigenous cultural identity, education and mental health issues.

Western Australia

Melanie Collard, 19, Bunbury

Melanie is a young Noongar woman from the South West community of Western Australia. She is currently employed as a Teacher’s Aide with Noongar Employment and Enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation (NEEDAC) Ltd. Melanie is regarded highly in her community and is involved in many sporting and community activities. Melanie is passionate about creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Ishmahl Croft, 24, Fitzroy Crossing

Ishmahl works as a Project Officer with Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture and the Kimberley Land Council. Ishmahl’s interests include cultural identity, youth leadership and education. He is particularly interested in developing leadership skills in young people in remote communities so that they can access a better education.

Jo-Anne D’Cress, 22, Maylands

Jo-Anne is currently working as a Health Promotion Officer with the Drug and Alcohol Office of the South Australian Department of Health. She has participated in many youth leadership forums and is seen as a role model in her community. Jo-Anne is interested in Indigenous health, including drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancies.

Jahna Lynas, 21, Newman

Jahna is currently working as a Human Resource Advisor with the BHP Billiton Iron Ore Company. Jahna was selected as the under 18’s representative as part of the official Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) delegation to attend the United Nation’s third prepatory committee for the special session on children, held in New York in 2001. Jahna is interested in representations of indigeneity and cultural equality, protection of youth from exploitation and abuse and human and child rights.

New South Wales

Michael Galluzo, 19, Narrandera

Michael is studying at the Australian National University in Canberra for a degree in Arts/Law. Michael has been actively involved in his community through the Narrandera Shire Council and has participated in the International Youth Parliament in Sydney. Michael is interested in the restoration and promotion of traditional language and culture.

Brad Welsh, 24, Newton

Brad is currently working as a Program Officer with the NSW Department of Community Services and is studying Graduate Law at the University of NSW (Brad has completed a degree in Bachelor of Community Welfare – Aboriginal Studies). Brad is very active in the Redfern community and has been involved with the local Land Council since he was 18 years of age. He has completed a Certificate II in Leadership and is very involved in the Redfern All Blacks Football Club. Brad would like to see Indigenous young people take a more proactive role in addressing issues that affect them.


Brendan Bishop, 24, Mackay

Brendan works as an Indigenous Student Support Officer for the Central Queensland TAFE in Mackay. He is actively involved in his community through football and the Mackay 2005 NAIDOC Committee and plays the didgeridoo at churches, schools and NAIDOC celebrations. Brendan was the Mackay Apprentice of the Year in 2004. Brendan is interested in Indigenous employment, alcohol abuse and education.

Tonya Booth, 22, Cranbrook

Tonya is currently working as an Aboriginal Land Management Facilitator with the Burdekin Dry Tropics Board. Tonya was the North Queensland Trainee of the Year in 2003 and has participated in the National Youth Roundtable 2003 and the ‘Which Way You Mob’ Youth Forum in 2003. Tonya’s would like to see more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders involved in natural and cultural resource management. She is also interested in Indigenous literacy and numeracy levels, employment, suicide and violence

Jayde Fuller, 20, Alexandra Hills

Jayde works as an Indigenous Youth Worker with the Department of Child Safety, Inala Area Office. She is also in her fourth year of study at the University of Queensland where she is undertaking a Bachelor of Arts Double Major in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Jayde has been involved in many government and community activities and has been a guest speaker for several community events. Her interests include adolescent pregnancy, education and juvenile justice.

Emma-Louise Jeffrey, 19, Rockhampton

Emma is a trainee youth worker with Capricornia Training Company Ltd. in Rockhampton. She is actively involved in her community through the All Blacks junior rugby league club, the Foundation for Young Australians and was a Miss NAIDOC entrant in 2004. Emma is interested in community development, juvenile justice, health and education.