Linking Leaders Newsletter - Issue 3

Welcome to the Linking Leaders newsletter


Hi Everyone

I have just joined the team at FaHCSIA and have been inspired by the great feedback you have provided on the Indigenous Leadership Program. So thank you for sharing your views.

We have had a great start to the 2010-11 Program having already delivered National, Regional/Targeted, Remote Service Delivery and Stolen Generation programs for men and women, with others planned for 2011. It is fantastic to see community leaders from across the country taking a step in their journey by attending the Leadership Program.

In this our third edition of the newsletter you will hear from a number of our past participants who are continuing on their leadership journey, including Glen Barry and Christine Young. They have valuable stories to share about their leadership activities. Torres Webb also shares with us his Advanced Leadership Opportunity experience in Vanuatu. Remember to contact our team if you see a leadership opportunity that you would like to pursue.

We also have an update on the National Indigenous Knowledge Centre. It is great to see how the community is engaged to develop ideas which strengthen and support Indigenous culture and knowledge. I encourage you to follow the development of the Centre and become involved where you can.

I hope you are also inspired by the leadership journeys of those featured in this newsletter. Don't forget that through your leadership we can build strong leaders committed to building good lives for themselves, their families and communities.

We look forward to hearing more from you and your journey.

Robyn Calder
Branch Manager
Indigenous Leadership Delivery
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

"Leadership is a choice not a position. We can make this choice at any time in our lives."

Stephen Covey

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Leadership Profile

Over 1300 men, women and youth have registered to attend the 2010-11 National Indigenous Leadership Program run by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). They will join the thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have experienced positive changes in their lives through participating in our programs.

Meet Danny Teece-Johnson from Moree, NSW

Danny Teece-Johnson 2007 Indigenous Men’s Leadership Program

Danny Teece-Johnson, a Kamilaroi man from Moree NSW, has been studying and working in film for nearly 10 years. After releasing his award winning short film 'Mah' Danny moved into documentary filmmaking working alongside, and being mentored by, some of the countries best filmmakers including Pat Fiske, Mitzi Goldman, Catherine Marciniak, David Vadiveloo, Fabio Cavadini and Mandy King. Danny is passionate about telling unique stories that challenge, confront and question injustice, racism and poverty in Australia and around the world. Danny also part owns and runs Gondwana Productions and has just been commissioned to make a feature documentary for Shark Island Films.

"Since finishing the leadership program I was inspired to make my passion my fulltime job, so I started to make that happen and a year after the program I started my own production company and have since produced and directed television and film for ABC, SBS, NITV and Foxtel. I guess one of the best things to also happen to me during my time in the leadership program is that I met my best mate Barry Lenihan, who has been a great influence on my life."

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Evaluation Case Studies workshop, Brisbane

Participants of the Evaluation workshop.

In June 2010, an evaluation workshop was held in Brisbane with 20 past participants of the Indigenous Leadership Program (ILP). These participants were selected from across Australia to represent different states, genders, ages, communities and life experiences. The aim of this workshop was to gain information from past participants about how the ILP has shaped their leadership journey and for them to share their experiences since completing the program. It was also an opportunity for participants to bring forward suggestions about how to improve the program for future participants and to find out what they saw as the most effective parts of the ILP.

Over the two days participants shared their stories with each other and were able to support and motivate each other on their leadership journeys. It was a great opportunity for networking and to connect leaders from different walks of life.




Indigenous Youth Mobility Program

The Indigenous Youth Mobility Program (IYMP) provides support to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who choose to move away from their homes in remote communities to gain qualifications to increase their chance of getting a good job. Participants who complete the program either return to their home community for work or seek work elsewhere.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians from major towns and cities can also participate in the program if they relocate to another IYMP Host Location to take up an apprenticeship, or to undertake a Vocational Education and Training or university course. The program helps with the costs associated with accommodation, education and training and focuses on assisting participants to obtain Certificate III qualifications and above.

IYMP also provides mentoring and other practical support to help participants in the program to complete their studies. IYMP helps build literacy, numeracy, financial literacy, independent living and other life skills for young Indigenous Australians.

IYMP is open to youth aged 16 - 24 years. For more information, email or visit: Indigenous Youth Mobility Program

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Leadership Activities

Participant leadership activities showcase people working with community at the local and regional level to share skills and build a stronger leadership base.

Leader: Glenn Barry, 2009-10 Indigenous Men's Leadership Program
Activity name: ‘Yarning Circle through Art’, ‘Didge-I-Dentity’ and ‘Connecting Spirits.’

Students performing the Guri Indanami Welcome Dance at the ‘Connecting Spirits’ workshop.

Glenn ran three programs, 'Yarning Circle through Art', 'Didge-I-Dentity' and 'Connecting Spirits', for students in and around Brisbane as part of his leadership activity.

The common thread of workshops was based around cultural connection and allowing the youth to gain knowledge through interactive learning. He received strong support from many agencies and was able to deliver sessions on cultural awareness and in 'Didge-I-Dentity', teach young boys about their culture and solidify their identity through artwork on didgeridoos.

His activities involved a lot of planning, reflection and working with other leaders in the community. Glenn says that the skills he learnt on the Indigenous Leadership Program aided him in implementing these workshops and inspired him to share his new knowledge with others.



Leader: Christine Young, 2009-10 Indigenous Women’s Leadership Program
Activity name: Teaching Australian Indigenous History

Christine Young (second from left) and American students.

Christine coordinated an intense four week course for international students based around Australian Indigenous history and the culture of the Butchulla people in QLD.

She employed local Butchulla people to teach international students about their language, artwork, song and dance.The first week of the course focused on learning about the true history of Australia, prior to and after European settlement. The final three weeks were spent visiting traditional Butchulla sites and included a field trip over to Kgari (Fraser Island) which is Butchulla country. The students were able to experience and learn about a unique Aboriginal culture and Butchulla traditions.

This was a pilot course and first of its kind in Australia. Four American students participated and it was so successful that Christine has been asked to run it again in January for up to 15 students.


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Advanced Leadership Opportunities (ALOs)

Torres Webb, Youth Challenge Australia - Vanuatu

Torres Webb in Vanuatu

Taking part in the Youth Challenge Australia inaugural Indigenous Youth Leadership Program was an amazing experience. When I first heard that I was one of five chosen from 120 applicants, I felt quite honoured to represent my country, community and fellow Indigenous Australians.

On arrival to the little village of Ekipe, Vanuatu where I was about to spend the next six weeks of my life, I was greeted by shy, smiling faces and an overwhelming sense of friendliness.

Our main project within the community was to build a double classroom. We all know education plays an important role in providing people with more options in life, but the children in Ekipe do not have the same opportunities as we do here in Australia. It made me realise how fortunate we are and I feel that our children need to make the most of the opportunities they are given.

While working on the construction of the classrooms, I was amazed to see how everyone in the village came together to work as a team, from small children aged five, right through to grandparents. I even saw a 90 year old man who was still strong enough carrying sand in an onion sack from the beach to the work site to mix with the cement.

One of the highlights from my trip to Vanuatu was seeing how independent, self sufficient and self reliant the community was. There were no Community Development Employment Projects schemes, welfare payments or assistance from the Vanuatu Government for many of the things that we take for granted such as schools, community buildings, access to running water from a tap at your house etc.

We also worked on small team projects, focusing on themes that were identified by the community itself, which we presented to the youth and wider community. We were all more than happy to pass on our knowledge and experience in the hope of empowering the youth of Ekipe to create sustainable change and learn new skills that would be of use to them in the future.

The six weeks I spent in Vanuatu have definitely given me a sense of accomplishment completely different to anything else that I have ever experienced before. From the labour intensive work of building a classroom for the Ekipe primary school students to working with the youth in the community on various small team projects, these were all valuable experiences which I will never forget. I hope this program runs for many years to come, as I see it as an invaluable opportunity for young Indigenous Australians who hope to become leaders within their communities, region, state or country, to really develop their skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Elizabeth Miller tells us about her experience at the Hawkesbury-Nepean Aboriginal Women's Conference - Healthy Rivers Healthy Community

Elizabeth Miller

I would like to say how much I enjoyed the conference. I found it very inspiring and I learnt so much. I now have a broader perspective and more knowledge on how to care for the water, plants and animals along the water systems, which are so important for the environment. I have also gained a broad understanding of land rights and how they can be used to protect our waterways, rock art and sacred sites.

The various presentations explored the work the women are involved in and highlighted the current and future strategies they have in place to further enhance involvement within their communities and the broader population. The women were very knowledgeable.

I loved being with other Indigenous women and listening to their stories. As a member of the Stolen Generations, and not growing up in the Indigenous culture, I've never experienced Women's Business so I'm always a willing participant whenever there is a yarning circle or a chance to be with the Elders. I think it is important at all Indigenous events to sit in a circle and have the Elders and other participants tell their stories as it is a great way to learn. On a walk through the Stolen Generations gardens I felt honoured to be asked to lead a ceremony of dedication to the Stolen Generations.

This was a great opportunity for me to further my learning's. While the Indigenous Leadership Program showed me how to think about, plan and set up programs, this conference allowed me to see Indigenous women with passion, vision and belief in what they are doing. I found it very empowering.

Torres and Elizabeth are both past participants of the Indigenous Leadership Program and applied to attend these events as an Advanced Leadership Opportunity (ALO). ALOs aim to extend the capacity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community individuals showing leadership potential and past participants of the FaHCSIA Indigenous Leadership Programs. FaHCSIA partners with other organisations, such as Youth Challenge Australia, to provide these opportunities. As opportunities arise we will let you know how you can apply.


'When we have the courage to speak out - to break our silence - we inspire others in our communities to speak up and voice their views.'

Sharon Schuster

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FaHCSIA’s Indigenous Leadership & Engagement Group Update

The Indigenous Leadership & Engagement Group (ILEG) within FaHCSIA works across many areas with strengthening Indigenous leadership only being one area. We have responsibility for some major initiatives nationwide.

National Indigenous Knowledge Centre

A National Indigenous Knowledge Centre was proposed in each of the Indigenous, Sustainability and Creativity streams at the Australia 2020 Summit held in April 2008, emphasising that a centre could:

  • help establish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as an integral and valued element of the Australian national identity (Indigenous stream)
  • harness Indigenous knowledge about the environment and promote sustainable management of country (Sustainability stream)
  • allow efficient use of digital technologies to document, record and share knowledge and culture, and establish a national cultural authority to protect Indigenous culture, language and heritage (Creativity stream).

The former Prime Minister announced a feasibility study to examine the idea of a National Indigenous Knowledge Centre. The Policy and Strategy Branch within the ILEG has the job of overseeing the project.

Consultations with communities and major collecting institutions were conducted from January to May 2010. The final report is expected to be delivered to the Government by the end of November 2010.

The views of Indigenous communities and organisations, the wider Australian community and cultural institutions have been sought on ways to strengthen and support Indigenous culture and knowledge. The study is also looking at world's best practice and identifying how any proposals relate to existing institutions and services.

More information can be obtained from the Indigenous Knowledge Centre website.

Update on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation (the Foundation) is a national, Indigenous-controlled, not-for-profit organisation established to support community-based healing initiatives to address the traumatic legacy of colonisation, forced removals and other past Government policies. To achieve this, the Foundation focuses on three core areas.

  1. Support and capacity building - identifying and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing initiatives, at the community level and in response to community needs, by providing funding and capacity development.
  2. Healing promotion, education and training - facilitating the promotion and education of healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, including skills training in the prevention and treatment of trauma, and fostering a supportive public environment for healing.
  3. Research and evaluation - contributing to an evidence base for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing through community-driven and culturally-appropriate research and evaluation.

Healing Foundation Gathering

The first national Healing Foundation Gathering, "let's talk healing", was held in Townsville on 25 to 27 June 2010. The Gathering brought together community healing practitioners and initiatives from around the nation and showcased best practice healing programs.

The Gathering celebrated the Foundation's vision of strong spirit, strong culture, strong people. Participants had the opportunity to meet the people who are delivering healing programs and discuss how these programs can assist individuals in their journey of healing. Some of the programs showcased included: traditional healers; spiritual healers; therapeutic healers; cultural renewal activities and life skills programs. Guest speakers included Professor Judy Atkinson, James Morrison from the Stolen Generations Alliance, Lorraine Peeters from the Winangali Marumali program, Charles Passi from the Torres Strait, Dr Pat Dudgeon from the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association, and traditional healer Pantjiti McKenzie.

Further information can be found on the Foundation's website.

Healing Initiatives Funding Applications

On 7 May 2010, the Foundation announced its inaugural grant round of $2 million for local community-led healing projects to help people to overcome the underlying causes of trauma and prevent the cycle continuing. Applications received by the deadline, 30 June 2010, are assessed by an independent team of assessors. The shortlisted applications will be considered by the Program Advisory Committee who will make recommendations to the Healing Foundation Board. For more information on the selection process, please contact the Healing Foundation: email, or phone (02) 6273 0722.

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples Update

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (the Congress) was launched in May 2010 and since that time the interim Executive has been working to establish the various policies and processes that need to be in place before the organisation begins full operation in January 2011. It’s a busy time and some of the things that have been taking place have included a national community ‘road-show’ providing information on how the Congress will work; its membership structure; and its roles and functions. Numerous community organisations around the country provided the National Executive with an opportunity to share information and to receive feedback.

The Congress consists of four main components: a National Executive; a National Congress consisting of three Chambers; an independent Ethics Council; and an Administrative or Executive Support Unit.

Members can be individuals or organisations and belong to one of three Chambers in the National Congress.

  1. Chamber 1 - national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies or peak bodies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at regional, state or territory, or national level.
  2. Chamber 2 - all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
  3. Chamber 3 - all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 18 years and older.

Membership is growing quickly and people are preparing for the first gathering of the National Congress in the first part of 2011. To attend the gathering you must be a member and nominate to attend as a delegate of your Chamber. To see the nomination deadlines for delegates, go to the National Congress website.

Elections for the new National Executive will take place in 2011.The part-time Executive members will be elected at the gathering of the National Congress while election of the Co-Chairs will be open to all members to vote on regardless of whether they are able to attend the gathering of the Congress or not. Nominations are currently being taken for positions and you should check the National Congress website for closing times.

The head office for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, in the Old Black Theatre building in Redfern, Sydney NSW has been completed. A small staff is providing support to the Congress and further recruitment is underway.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will play a vital role in advocating for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights, holding governments to account and working towards securing the economic, social, cultural and environmental future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer Mr Lindon Coombes says, “This is the start of a turning point in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, when we can once again send clear and strong positions, by a collective voice, on issues important to us.”

For further information visit the website National Congress of Australia's First Peoples or email at or alternatively, contact the CEO directly on 02 8211 2717.

Meet Business Management team members!

L-R back row: Roslyn Evans, Becky Crafter and Mira Bogojevic L-R front row: Cheryll Bowyer, Susan McLeod and Christine Dorman. Absent: Pauline Hill, Kirsty Schmidt and Simone Mitchell

The Business Management Section in the Indigenous Leadership and Engagement Group is made up of two teams; the Events Team and the Finance/Administration Team.

The Events Team are responsible for making the travel and venue arrangements for the Indigenous Leadership Program as well as targeted, regional and one off events delivered by the Group. Last year alone they arranged travel and accommodation for over 1000 people from all over the country to attend Leadership workshops.

The Finance/Administration team look after all corporate issues for the Group, including budgets, contracts, reporting and human resources. Their hard work allows the Group to continue to develop and deliver the programs and policies aimed at increasing the leadership capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

'Life is there to figure out, not to stop or block you. Don't let problems knock you down and keep you down, get back up and keep going. Learn from them.'

Participant, 2004-05 Indigenous Women's Program.

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Get involved

Certificate II & IV in Indigenous Leadership

FaHCSIA in partnership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre will be offering Certificate II - 25 places and Certificate IV – 15 places, to FaHCSIA past participants to attend the accredited Certificate in Indigenous Leadership.

The Certificate II and IV in Indigenous Leadership is a seven day residential course and aims to give students the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to commence and be involved in pivotal roles in Indigenous Leadership.

Further information regarding program dates, applications and eligibility will be sent out to past participants of FaHCSIAs Indigenous Leadership Program.

If you see something that you feel would enhance your leadership journey, please send in a submission outlining the event details, the kind of support you require and how you believe it will benefit yourself, family and community.

For more information on Advanced Leadership Opportunities, contact the Leadership Development team on 1800 724 185 or email

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Remember to keep in touch

Have you recently changed your contact details? Please notify us by sending an email to or phone 1800 249 873.

Keeping in touch with other participants is a great way to network, share experiences and learn what each other is doing. Have you been in contact lately?

We are listening to YOU

We appreciate your feedback on our leadership development workshops, and use the information you provide to improve what we do.

Level 5, 16 Bowes Street, Woden ACT 2617
PO Box 7576 Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610
Leadership FREECALL: 1800 249 873

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