The Paul Ramsay Foundation is pleased to announce the full membership of its First Nations Advisory Council as it continues to build its understanding and engagement to work with partners and better serve its purpose.
PRF has been working intensively to form the Council and establish its remit to provide advice that assists and informs how our approach and investments will help break cycles of disadvantage, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Chaired by Director Natalie Walker, the Council members are:
- Fiona Jose
- Tony McAvoy SC
- Kristy Masella
- Hayley McQuire
- Rachel Perkins
- Ian Trust AO.
PRF CEO Professor Kristy Muir said the Council had already proved valuable in providing insights to underpin the Foundation’s work with communities and more broadly.
“We’re focused on breaking cycles of disadvantage, acutely aware that these are felt more strongly in First Nations communities than anywhere else in Australia,” Professor Muir said. “We are committed to working with our partners in ways that are thoughtful, community-led and evidence-based to achieve sustainable and powerful impact, and are grateful to the Council for helping us achieve this.”
Ms Walker said she was excited by the range of backgrounds and expertise that Council members would bring to guide PRF’s vision, understanding and engagement.
“The Foundation has a clear strategic focus on education and training, transitions to employment and building thriving communities,” she said. “These are critical issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but we cannot achieve real impact in breaking cycles of disadvantage without listening to communities and working with them.
“The Council members and I are proud to be working with PRF to help ensure it is guided by the voices of Aboriginal people so we can create strong partnerships that support innovative, evidence-based initiatives for a better future.”
First Nations Advisory Council Membership
Chair - Natalie Walker
Natalie Walker MAICD is a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Daintree Rainforest and holds degrees in Psychology and Law. Natalie has dedicated her career to contributing to reforming social and economic policies to make our country a better place for those experiencing vulnerability. As founder of Inside Policy, a privately-held advisory firm, Natalie advises governments on a range of social and economic policy matters. She was previously the chief executive officer of Supply Nation, an organisation focused on increasing the participation of Indigenous business in the supply chain of Australia’s largest companies. Natalie has held roles at KPMG Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission and in the Queensland Government. Natalie sits on various boards including Goodstart Early Learning, Life Without Barriers, Jawun and the Telstra Foundation. In 2002, Natalie made an intervention to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples on the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people in Australia’s criminal justice system. In 2012, Natalie was named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence. In 2018, Natalie was appointed by the Prime Minister as Australia’s representative to the Business Women Leaders Taskforce of the G20.
Members (in alphabetical order)
Fiona Jose is a proud Aboriginal (KuKuYalanji) and Torres Strait Islander woman. She is the CEO of Cape York Partnership, which drives a reform agenda improving the lives of Indigenous families in the Cape York region. She oversees 12 entities and businesses under the Cape York Partnership including the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, two schools anchored in Indigenous culture, the Cape York Leaders Program, and Bama Services, a landscape and civil construction company. She joined Cape York Partnership in 2010 where she held senior management positions following more than 15 years of experience in management, business development, and government relations in aviation and education. Fiona is one of ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders driving structural change through the national Empowered Communities initiative. She is a Council Member of the National Museum of Australia; Board Director of the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital Health Service; was the 2015 Telstra Business Women's Award - Queensland for Purpose and Social Enterprise. Fiona’s enthusiasm, dedication and expertise were also recognised when the Australian Institute of Management named her Queensland Not-for-profit Manager of the Year in 2012.
Tony McAvoy SC
Tony McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont and he is also a native titleholder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland. Tony is a barrister and Australia’s first Indigenous Senior Counsel. He is Co-Chair of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia, and was recently Counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Youth Detention in the Northern Territory. Between 2011 and 2013, Tony was an Acting Part-Time Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. In July 2022 he was elected as a director of the NSW/ACT Aboriginal Legal Service. He has developed a strong native title practice and has successfully appeared for claimants in several land claims. He has also acquired significant experience in the areas of environmental law, administrative law, human rights and discrimination law, coronial inquests and criminal law. He has supported the Foundation with advice on consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as relevant to the Foundation’s criminal justice investments.
Kristy Masella is a Murri, South Sea Islander woman from Rockhampton, Darumbal country in Central Queensland. She has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for more than 30 years across many portfolios in New South Wales, Queensland, ACT and the Northern Territory. Kristy is the Managing Director of the national Indigenous recruitment and training company, AES, which empowers Aboriginal people through employment and community development. Prior to this role she was the head of Social Justice for Aboriginal Affairs NSW and led a major review of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Kristy has been named one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac. She is an award winning Author and was a Finalist for the 2021 NSW Woman of Excellence Award and the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. Kristy has a background in journalism, holds a Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of NSW specialising in Indigenous rights and is a Harvard scholar. She is the Chairperson of Tranby National Indigenous Education and Training; Director of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation; Deputy Chairperson of Wunanbiri Incorporated, one of the most successful independent Aboriginal community preschools in NSW; Executive Council member of Just Reinvest, and; a Member of the Redfern Aboriginal Alliance. She was a member of the inaugural Committee of Sydney University’s National Centre of Cultural Competency to establish the Community Council, is a former co-chair of the NSW Reconciliation Council, and was a Finalist for the NSW Justice Award.
Bio coming soon.
Rachel Perkins is of Arrernte/Kalkadoon and German/Irish immigrant heritage. In 1992, she founded Blackfella Films, a production company committed to culturally significant stories, led by Indigenous creatives. She is a director and producer of award-winning television drama and documentary films. Outside of her film work, Rachel supports the First Nations Heritage protection Alliance on reform of Indigenous heritage legislation and the progressing the Uluru Statement from the Heart as well as working in her Arrernte community on the resurgence of women’s cultural traditions. She has served on the boards of multiple government and NGO boards over the last three decades, including being a founding member of NITV. In 2020 she was listed as one of the ten most culturally powerful people in Australia by the AFR.
Ian Trust AO
Ian Trust is a Gija man whose family comes from the Halls Creek area of the East Kimberley and from the Walmatjari people around Fitzroy Crossing in the West Kimberley. Ian was a former Chair of the Wunan ATSIC Regional Council in the East Kimberley and Zone Commissioner for the Kimberley. Ian is a former director of Indigenous Land and Sea Council, Indigenous Business Australia, Kimberley Development Commission and the Kimberley College of TAFE. Ian is the current executive chair of the Wunan Foundation, National coordinator of Empowered Communities, a director of East Kimberley Job Pathways, a member of Wuggubun Community and Yurriyangem Taam Prescribed Body Corporate. Ian is also an Elder in Residence with the WA Department of Education and a mentor to emerging Aboriginal leaders through Jawun. Ian is a firm believer in Aboriginal empowerment through education and employment which he believes will enables Aboriginal people to live successful and fulfilling lives beyond what is currently available to many of our people in Australia.
Media Contact: Pia Akerman, 0412 346 746