Tributes flow for ‘true leader’
A Yamatji man who died this week after a long battle with illness has been described as one of the nation’s finest Aboriginal leaders.
Brian John Wyatt spent 11 years as chief executive of the Goldfields Land and Sea Council, based in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and went on to spend five years as chief executive of the National Native Title Council.
Throughout 40 years of experience in indigenous policy development and representation, he took the voice of indigenous people from across Australia to the world as a regular participant in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as well as the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Simon Hawkins described Mr Wyatt as a “great leader”.
“During the mining boom he was available to bring the miners together in a dialogue about how to improve relationships with indigenous leaders,” he said.
“During that process he was offered a significant opportunity in terms of work in the mining industry and he chose not to take it because he wanted to continue representing the Aboriginal people.
He was one of the true leaders in Australia.
“I worked with him for seven years on the Goldfields Land and Sea Council and also when he was chief executive of the National Native Title Council.
“He was always a great mentor who was generous with his time. “He will be sorely missed.” In a statement, Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson described Mr Wyatt as one of the nation’s finest indigenous leaders.
“Brian’s enduring legacy will be important reforms to the native title system and a record of thoughtful and strong leadership on indigenous social and economic development,” he said.
“From Australia’s mining communities where he worked on numerous joint initiatives to his contributions to the United Nations, Brian will be remembered for his humility, his ability to bring people together, his lifelong leadership in human rights and his intelligence and passion for indigenous affairs.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion also paid tribute to Mr Wyatt.
“Brian John Wyatt was a giant of native title in this country,” he said.
“He was a true fighter for native title and land rights across Australia, and a strong and wise leader.
“I am pleased to have worked with Mr Wyatt and value the advice and guidance he has provided.”
He is the father of actor Meyne Wyatt.