Tributes flow for ‘true leader’

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Heather Chalmers

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.

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