Our Leaders

We come together as leaders from ten regions across urban, regional and remote Australia to drive change.


Inner Sydney

The recent participation of the younger generation in the La Perouse Aboriginal community has been inspiring to me. I believe my community is in a great position to continue to work towards exercising self-determination and develop health, education, housing and employment opportunities into the future. I see Empowered Communities as the vehicle that will drive this development in Inner Sydney.

I am of Dharawal (Botany Bay and Illawarra, New South Wales) and Dhungutti (Macleay Valley, New South Wales) descent and my work as the CEO of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council means I am very involved in my community. I am excited about what is coming with Empowered Communities; I am excited that our community will get a say in our future.


North East Arnhem Land

I am a born-and-bred Northern Territory Indigenous woman. I have a background working in Indigenous affairs in very remote Australia and currently work with the Yolngu of North East Arnhem Land, as the CEO of the Yothu Yindi Foundation and the Director of the annual Garma Festival.

I aspire to create a future where Indigenous Australians have the same level of wellbeing, life opportunities and choices as non-Indigenous Australians. I believe that Empowered Communities has the potential to create this change by focusing on education, economic development and increased wellbeing through a grassroots, upward, regionally specific approach.


Cape York

My grandfather’s country is Kuku Yalanji and my grandmother is from the Torres Strait. My father and our family spent most of our younger years growing up in the Miallo/Cooya Beach region. Most of my adult life, I have worked hard to bridge the unemployment gap through enabling Indigenous people to have the capabilities needed to gain meaningful employment in any industry. I have a passion for education and know that a quality education for our young people will set them up for a better future.

It’s been a privilege for me as one of the next generation of Indigenous leaders to be working with leaders of Empowered Communities. The strength and example of our old people and elders in Cape York and their triumphs give me the courage to do what’s needed by focusing on individuals and families and working at a regional level to achieve outcomes that give people a life they will value.


National Chair Empowered Communities

For most of my life, I have been based in the East Kimberley and I currently serve as the chairman and executive director of Wunan Foundation. I have an exciting vision of a better future for Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley—a future beyond welfare and government dependency.

In the past, I have worked to progress this vision through initiatives like the ATSIC Regional Council’s ‘future building’ strategy and through reforms in the Aboriginal housing and infrastructure sector. I see Empowered Communities as the structure that will break the cycle of passive welfare dependancy and create fundamental change in my community and other communities across Australia.

Anthony Watson


West Kimberley

Anthony Watson is a Nyikina, Mangala, Jabirr Jabirr, Yawuru and Karajarri man and the Chairperson of the Kimberley Land Council.

 With more than 35 years’ experience working across the Kimberley, he has contributed to his community through leadership, program development and maintenance of language and culture.

As the Chairperson of the KLC, Mr Watson has been instrumental in driving the recognition of Kimberley Aboriginal people’s native title rights, as well as people’s ability to use and enjoy those rights for the benefit of their communities and future generations.

tyronne garstone


West Kimberley

Tyronne is a Bardi man, from Broome, WA. He has spent the majority of his working life within the Indigenous sector progressing employment and training, social and economic development, native title, Indigenous leadership and capability building.

Tyronne is CEO of the Kimberley Land Council and is keen to provides strategic leadership, brokering new opportunities and relationships that deliver sustainable outcomes for the next generation of Indigenous people in the region and beyond.

Tyronne is a strong advocate for Indigenous rights and advancement. He is also committed to developing genuine relationships and partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through mutual
understanding, knowledge sharing and respect.


Goulburn Murray

I am a Yorta Yorta man who was raised on the banks of the Dungala at Cummeragunja. I understand the aspirations of the great Yorta Yorta leaders who came off Cummera to advocate the rights of our people. For me it has been natural to advocate for a more prosperous future, protecting the rights of Yorta Yorta people and other Aboriginal nations.

Since the early 1970s, I have been active in Aboriginal rights and advancement of our people. Starting with my experiences trying to negotiate the criminal justice system, I could see that to make a genuine difference in the lives of our young people required us to move beyond the cycle of bureaucracy and crisis intervention to building a real vision of a positive future for our community. For me, Empowered Communities is an opportunity to negotiate a shared vision for the future of an inclusive and respectful Australian society, including in my region of Goulburn-Murray.


Central Coast

I am a proud Gomeroi woman from Moree NSW. I moved to the Central Coast with my family when she was just a little girl. I am a powerful advocate for Aboriginal people through my work, participation and involvement in my local community. My primary focus is to empower Aboriginal people through access, education, training, employment and participation. We are working very hard with our community to drive real change on the Coast.

I am the Executive Director of Barang Regional Alliance; the Empowered Communities backbone here on the Central Coast. I am the current Co-Chair of the New South Wales Coalition of Regional Alliances. I have also been the Chairperson of Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services for over 8 years.


Inner Sydney

I was born and raised on The Block. After the death of a teenager at the hands of the police in the Redfern riots in 2004, I wanted change. I became heavily involved in my community and wanted more for my people.

Through my work at the Tribal Warrior Association, I have seen the Redfern Aboriginal community make so much progress. Through Empowered Communities, however, I believe that by forming an alliance with LaPa and coming together as the Inner Sydney region, we have the ability to change even more lives. I believe in the strength of our communities and the importance of being involved in my community. I am a life member of the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League Club and coordinator of the monthly Family Day on The Block.



Ngarrindjeri Ruwe



East Kimberley

Des Hill is a Miriuwung man and has worked for several local organisations in the East Kimberley over many years.

Des is currently Chairperson of Binarri-binyja Yarrawoo, Chief Executive Officer of Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation and Director at the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service. He was previously the chairperson of MG Corporation, on the board of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd, and worked for the Kimberley Land Council.

Des is the Empowered Communities Leader in the East Kimberley region.

Wayne Miller

Far West Coast, SA

Wayne is a Wirangu man living in Ceduna, is married with three young girls and is the CEO of Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation.

Wayne is passionate about youth leadership and ensuring his community are empowered to make decisions through choice not chance.

Wayne is a member of the South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council, and also advises the South Australian Government on factors contributing to Aboriginal reoffending stop the revolving door on our prisons. Wayne is a Board Member of the Far West Community Partnerships and is a member of the Local and Regional Indigenous Voice Co-Design Group.

Liza Balmer

NPY Lands

Liza Balmer has a rich understanding of  service delivery to the NPY Lands having worked at NPY Women’s Council for more than 20 years, ten of those years as Deputy CEO. Liza began her time at NPYWC with her foundation work on the award-winning Child Nutrition Program and has help to lead some of NPYWC’s most significant achievements during her employment.

Liza’s career has included more than 25 years of research, policy and experience in service delivery. She has participated on various boards and committees nationally, and was previously an independent Director on the ANROWS Board. Other commitments have included Chairperson, NT Family and Children Services Advisory Council and member of the inaugural expert panel for the development of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

Mark Jackman

NPY Lands

Mark is the General Manager of Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation (RASAC) and the Co-Chair of NPY Empowered Communities interim Steering Committee.

Mark has extensive experience working with remote Australian Indigenous communities having lived and worked in the NPY Region for over 18 years. Mark’s previous roles have included Government Business Manager, Services Coordinator and police officer. He has extensive experience working in partnership with local community, all levels of government and the not-for-profit sector. Mark has a close working relationship with the Anangu people and service providers that operate in the region. His long-term relationships and presence locally have resulted in extensive knowledge of local Anangu culture.