Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Young Indigenous leaders to advise Government

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today announced this year’s members of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group (NIYLG).

“Fifteen Indigenous leaders aged between 18 and 24 years have been chosen to speak with and advise the Australian Government about the things that are important to them and their communities.

“They will also have the opportunity to develop their personal leadership skills and help to promote the positives of being a young Indigenous Australian.

“Members come from all states and territories including Injinoo near Cape York in Queensland, Launceston in Tasmania, Balcatta, near Perth and Redland Bay, south of Brisbane.

“They come from a diverse range of experiences, including:

  • Cody Morris, who is studying medicine at Adelaide University;
  • Jacinta Mack, who last year was awarded a place on the Dean’s Honour Roll at Edith Cowan University in Perth;
  • Jirra Harvey who gained an academic scholarship at the University of Melbourne;
  • Toby Adams who was a finalist for the Queensland Indigenous Student of the Year.
  • Euroka Gilbert, a father of four who works with the ACT Youth Council and the Ngunnawal Land Council;
  • Bindie Fitzpatrick who founded a cross-campus forum for Indigenous students at Sydney Secondary College; and,
  • Simon Flagg who is working on the Bringing Them Home project for the National Archives of Australia.

“I was very impressed with the 2003 NIYLG members, who discussed a range of issues including cultural identity, strategies to support young Indigenous entrepreneurs, education and information networks for young Indigenous people, strategies to support young Indigenous athletes, and how to involve young Indigenous people in community decision-making processes.

“I look forward to meeting the new group when they come together for the first time in Canberra in August. They will then work on community projects with the support of the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services until they meet again next year to present their findings,” Mr Anthony said.

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A list of 2004 members and their biographies is attached.

National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group 2004

Mr Toby Adams from Alexandra Headland, QLD

Toby has completed his Certificate III in Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast and was a finalist for Queensland Indigenous Student of the Year. He now works as a Sales Executive for Novotel Twin Waters and plays senior basketball in the Queensland league. He is active in the Sunshine Coast Indigenous Youth Leadership Group and is keen to discuss school retention and role modelling.

Ms Kylie Ann Cassidy from Umina, NSW

Kylie is of the Wiradjuri people and has been prominent in the Indigenous community on the Central Coast for many years. She balances caring for her three year old daughter on her own with study and employment in the local primary school as an Aboriginal Support Worker. She is keen to address lowering suspension and expulsion rates in school for Indigenous students, increasing community involvement in addressing education issues, and drug, alcohol and sexual awareness.

Mrs Purdey Cox from Redland Bay, QLD

Purdey has been a young leader is her community for many years. She has participated in the Soroptimist International Leadership Conference, the Yarn Up 2 Indigenous Youth Conference, was a Young Endeavour sailor, and has won numerous achievement awards. She now works for Aboriginal Hostels and volunteers at the Goori House Addiction Treatment Centre. Purdey wants to focus on leadership, role models, employment and health issues.

Miss Briana Enoch from Kuranda, QLD

Briana is studying for a Diploma in Indigenous Ministry and works as a Teacher Technical Assistant. She has been active in the Goondiwindi community, organising its 2003 NAIDOC Week activities including a dinner and concert with Anthony Mundine and Lionel Quartermaine as guests. She is seeking to develop best practice models for Indigenous youth participation and development.

Mr Simon Flagg from Lara, VIC

Simon is employed as a Project Officer with the Bring Them Home project for the National Archives of Australia. Simon successfully participated in the Victorian Aboriginal Leadership Program, which resulted in his learning much about his identity and culture and enhanced his standing among his peers as being a leader in the making. Simon became a father in his teens, to which caused him to grow up very quickly.

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Mr Euroka Gilbert from Ainslie, ACT

Euroka is a Youth Worker (Custodial) with ACT Youth Justice. He has been actively involved in the local community through the ACT Youth Council and the Ngunnawal Land Council. His is interested in the disproportional incarceration rates of indigenous youth, their housing, health and wellbeing, and sovereignty. As a father of four, he is conscious of how decision and actions that are taken or not taken today will impact on the future of his children.

Miss Jirra Harvey from Northcote VIC

Jirra is a leader in her community and a student of media having gained an academic scholarship to study at the University of Melbourne. Jirra is interested in portraying positive images of Indigenous young people, which may go some way to help combat self-esteem problems and internalised racism which leads to substance abuse and crime.

Ms Shulyn Hunter from Broome WA

Shulyn has been an active young leader in her home town of Broome for many years. She works as an Administrator with the Broome Development Commission, with her local CDEP as a broadcaster for Indigenous local radio, and volunteers on local sporting and tourism committees. She is particularly interested in housing and homelessness; education, training and career building; Indigenous media; and the economic development of the Kimberley region.

Mrs Jacinta Mack from Balcatta, WA

Jacinta is of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal heritage and currently works for the Kuyk Kirim Torres Strait Islander Centre in Perth. Last year she was awarded a place on the Dean’s Honour Roll at Edith Cowan University, and as a high school student won an exchange scholarship to the USA. She is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and is working on a number of ATSIS funded projects.

Miss Nala Mansell from Mowbray, TAS

Nala has been a full-time Youth Worker for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for three years, and has been an organiser for many community activities. These include the Yula Tali dance group for primary age indigenous girls, high school and young mothers support groups, and an annual Mutton Birding cultural camp. Nala balances this with being the sole parent of a 3-year old daughter. She is keen to discuss homelessness, alternatives to imprisonment, land rights, self-determination, Aboriginal sovereignty, and education and training.

Mr Cody Morris from Findon, SA

Cody is studying Medicine at Adelaide University. He would like to focus on recruitment and retention of Indigenous students in Tertiary education. Cody was poorly advised at school about his ambition to get into Medicine. However, following excellent results including a Caltex Best All-rounder Award he achieved his goal. He would like to see improved training of careers advisors so that poor advice is not given to other Indigenous students resulting in their not continuing their education.

Miss Dora Nona from Injinoo, QLD

Dora works as a Purchasing Officer for the Bamaga Island Council. She is a member of the Injinoo Youth Council and attended the Which Way You Mob youth forum in Cairns, organised by the Aboriginal Coordinating Council of Queensland. She is especially interested in employment and training for Indigenous young people.

Miss Wyomie Robertson from The Narrows, NT

Wyomie is a Senior Project Officer with the Australian Government. Wyomie was active in the Brisbane Youth and Community Combined Action Program, inspiring young people to engage in their community. She is using her degree in Applied Health Science (Indigenous Primary Health Care) in the government sector to improve the wellbeing of her people. Wyomie is interested in identity, self-esteem and self-knowledge.

Mr Bindie Stewart-Fitzpatrick from Campbelltown, NSW

Bindie recently completed Year 12 at Sydney Secondary College Black Wattle Campus (formerly Glebe High School), where he was Vice Captain of the School Council. He founded a cross-campus forum for Indigenous students at the three campuses of the Sydney Secondary College, and in 2003 gave a presentation to the 900 delegates of the NSW State Equity Conference. He is passionate about developing strategies to keep Indigenous youth in school.

Ms Tessima Taylor from Wyndham, WA

Tessima has lived in the Kimberley region all her life and works for the Shire of Wyndham. She has been active in many Shire youth groups and including setting up and running the Wyndham Young Womens Group. Tessima is keen to discuss a range of issues affecting remote communities, including opportunities for youth and women, the importance of the family structure, and education and health issues.