2019 Western Australian of the Year Awards

Aboriginal Award Finalists

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The Aboriginal Award is presented in celebration of excellence in professional and/or personal achievements at a state, national or international level, contributing to the Western Australian community and recognition as an inspirational role model in the Aboriginal community.

Meet our 2019 Aboriginal Award finalists:

Glen Kelly

As architect of the Noongar Native Title offer and having served the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council as Chief Executive for a decade, Glen last year achieved his goal of seeing Australia’s largest native land rights claim formally registered.

The environmental scientist spent almost ten years sitting at the table with the State Government seeking funds, land, jobs, cultural access and heritage agreements for Noongar people before a landmark settlement was agreed in 2015 and formally applied by the Native Title Registrar in October, 2018.

The claim is widely accepted as the largest and most comprehensive agreement of its kind in Australia. Affecting 30,000 Noongar people over 200,000sq km, the settlement will provide Noongar people with long-term benefits and options for developing Noongar interests, as well as opportunities for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar people to improve economic, social and cultural outcomes for the community.

Glen sits on the Board of Reconciliation Australia and is a director of KPMG’s Indigenous Services advisory arm. He also serves on the Senate committee of Murdoch University, where he graduated in 1994. He is of the view that Indigenous culture contains many insights and values that will be of benefit to Western Australian society, particularly those concerning caring for country and the sustainable development of land.

Glenda Kickett

Glenda is a determined Whadjuk and Ballardong Noongar woman who has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years in Aboriginal-related areas of policy, management and community services.

She is a social worker by profession and lectures in social work and social policy at the University of Western Australia. Shortly, Glenda is due to finish her PhD on developing a cultural framework and model to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Glenda is currently working with key Aboriginal people to develop a peak body for Aboriginal children in care, an issue that is close to her heart as Manager for Aboriginal Therapeutic Services at the Australian Childhood Foundation, which provides support services for the recovery and healing of children traumatised by abuse, neglect and family violence.

Glenda can always be found behind the scenes at Aboriginal community events around Perth.

Her work with the NAIDOC Perth Committee helped make Perth the host city for the National NAIDOC Awards and National NAIDOC Ball in 2013. Under her leadership, NAIDOC week-events have grown beyond the expectations of the committee and the community to become a significant part of Noongar, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural activities in Perth.

Glenda continues to promote Aboriginal interests through her work as a director on the Board of Wungenging Aboriginal Corporation, and as chairperson of Glass Jar Australia – an initiative
of Netball WA that runs the Shooting Stars program to drive greater school attendance amongst Aboriginal girls in remote towns and regional communities.

Irene Stainton

As founding Chairperson of the WA Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Irene Stainton has been instrumental in guiding the Museum through a critical period in cultural relations. With over 25 years’ experience in the role, she ensures the WA Museum remains informed, authoritative and sensitive in all its dealings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As trustee of the organisation for multiple terms over two separate periods, Irene has championed efforts to engage more meaningfully with Aboriginal people. As a result, there’s been a significant increase in the number of Aboriginal staff employed, including the creation of a senior position to advise the Museum’s CEO on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters.

Irene’s other contributions to the community are equally significant.

She worked in child welfare for many years with the Yorganop Aboriginal Child Care Agency in Perth and is Manager of Aboriginal Affairs for Japanese energy giant INPEX Corporation, which operates the Ichthys LNG project in WA. In her role with INPEX, Irene is solely responsible for heritage matters, putting her in the unique position of a Noongar woman working with Elders, including males from other traditional lands.

Her efforts helped secure the Larrakia Ichthys LNG Foundation Trust – a $24 million benefits putting the Larrakia people in a stronger position to protect and preserve their heritage for future generations.

Dawn Wallam

As CEO of Yorganup and Chairperson of Nyoongar Outreach Services, Dawn Wallam is a proud Bibbelmun Wadandi woman of the Noongar Nation who has made a difference in the lives of Aboriginal children for over 40 years.

Dawn works alongside Aboriginal families to increase community and cultural knowledge in responding to the over-representation of Aboriginal children and families in the child protection system. Helping kids to flourish is central to every decision she makes, and is evident in Dawn’s campaigning for child welfare at all levels, including local, state, national and international forums.

In her CEO role, Dawn builds on Aboriginal communities’ strengths through key stakeholder engagement, working with the Department of Child Protection and Family Support, SNAICC, the Alliance for Children at Risk and the Children’s Youth and Family Agencies Association.

Her commitment to Aboriginal children is also evident in her involvement with Nyoongar Outreach Services, a community-based organisation established to provide culturally appropriate services to young, unsupervised people at-risk and in the criminal justice system.

Dawn’s tireless efforts were recently recognised at the 2018 Community Services Excellence Awards, where she was inducted into the state’s Women’s Hall of Fame this year for helping to improve the lives of Aboriginal chi

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