Indigenous leaders to drive changes
■ Eight Aboriginal leaders have been appointed to help drive major reforms to the way infrastructure and services are provided to indigenous WA communities.
They will join Strategic Regional Advisory Councils being established in the Pilbara and Kimberley to advise the State Government.
The Pilbara SRAC members are Adrian Brahim from Port Hedland, Martu woman Kate George, Karratha’s Triscilla Holborow and Dampier’s Jason Masters.
Patrick Davies from Fitzroy Crossing, Martin Sibosado from Broome, Beagle Bay woman Mary O’Reeri and Brenda Garstone from Kununurra will be on the Kimberley SRAC.
Child Protection Minister Helen Morton and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman are heading the longterm process.
The State Government claims the move is necessary to improve education, health and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people living in regional and remote areas.
The Pilbara News caught up with two Pilbara SRAC members.
Mr Brahim was born and bred in Port Hedland and has spent much of his working life with Indigenous Affairs in the Commonwealth Government.
He was also the chairman of the Ngarda Ngarli Yarndu Regional Council for 10 years and spent much of his adult life in the Goldfields and the Kimberley.
He is part of the BHP Billiton community team.
Mr Brahim said it appeared SRAC members would be providing advice to senior management in government to look at policy programs and how services were delivered to indigenous people.
“Especially in the areas of employment, the opportunities I see are possibly doing land management settlement areas … which link back to people’s traditional cultures,” he said.
“By creating those processes and opportunities, it creates a pathway for people so there is a need for early education programs leading into training and employment as the focus at the end of the pathway.”
Mr Masters is a Guruma man born in Newman and raised in Roebourne and Hedland before finishing his schooling in Perth.
He has worked in courts and has taken on university studies as well as working with the Rio Tinto native title team before taking on his current role as executive officer of Kuruma Marthudunera.
Mr Masters said he believed supporting Aboriginal people’s economic participation was the key to the community becoming self-sustaining.
“I hope to assist my community to access the significant flow of benefits for regional development, which will create opportunities for Aboriginal people to participate in the mainstream economy,” he said.
“The idea of this reform and committee feels quite positive.”
Ms George who works in the Pilbara, and was the first Aboriginal woman admitted to legal practice in WA, and Ms Holborow, the owner of Aboriginal employment company REFAP, were unavailable for comment at time of print.
Pilbara SRAC member Adrian Brahim.