New Boards Appointed to NSWALC Housing and NSWALC Employment and Training

New Boards Appointed to NSWALC Housing and NSWALC Employment and Training

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is pleased to announce the appointment of two independent Boards to lead NSWALC Housing Ltd (NHL) and NSWALC Employment and Training (NET).

Established in 2019, both companies are Aboriginal controlled and NSWALC is the sole shareholder. Appointments to the Boards of the companies come after an extensive merit based competitive selection process.

NHL is the final stages of its application to become a registered Community Housing provider and aims to increase housing opportunities for Aboriginal people including growing the number of well-managed and affordable housing.

NET aims to increase the number of Aboriginal people achieving economic independence through improving access to training and jobs in growth industries, as a Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) provider.

NSWALC Chair Anne Dennis said the Boards have high levels of expertise in a range of relevant fields.

“The new board members come areas such as real estate, employment, banking, the construction industry and the Land Rights network.

I am delighted that such high calibre professionals have agreed to steer the direction of these two exciting new companies.”

The NHL Chair Michelle Craig has long experience in the Aboriginal Housing sector, across government, provider and tenant support organisations.

“I am dedicated to improving housing for Aboriginal people in NSW, and we now have an excellent opportunity to continue the work in strengthening the community housing sector to meet the growing needs of Aboriginal communities,” she said.

Those growing needs can be served by a healthy social and affordable housing sector, an area Head of Real Estate, Industry Analytics and Insights at Westpac Institutional Bank Michael Gannon knows well.
“There is a significant shortfall in social and affordable dwellings for Aboriginal people, high levels of over-crowding and lower rates of home ownership. I look forward to contributing to significant improvements in housing outcomes across all areas,” he said.

Former CEO of UrbanGrowth NSW Barry Mann aims to use his experience in real estate and urban development to further NHL Ltd’s housing objectives.

“Housing for Aboriginal people is a complex area but with the right strategy, we can increase the options available across all housing tenures and all forms of housing need,” he said.

A stable home provides a solid foundation for employment aspirations, an area NSWALC Employment and Training aims to increase as a VTEC provider.

The NET Chair Glenn Johnston is a nationally recognised procurement expert who is also a Board member of Supply Nation and the AIATSIS Foundation.

He is passionate about Indigenous business engagement and creating Indigenous employment and career pathways.

“I firmly believe that assisting Indigenous businesses to grow and develop opens up a world of opportunity for increased Indigenous employment.

As a new VTEC provider, we are in a strong position to improve Aboriginal people’s access to training and jobs in growth industries in the state,” he said.

NET Deputy Chair Professor Mark McMillan is the Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Indigenous Education and Engagement at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and a long-time Board member of the Trangie Local Aboriginal Land Council.

“Education and training are vital to sustainable work and NET has the opportunity to create a truly locally relevant employment solution for Aboriginal people,” he said.

“Our point of difference is our connection to Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the Aboriginal communities we serve. We can make a powerful difference.”

Media Contact: Paul Cochrane 0437 543 626

NSWALC Housing Ltd Director Biographies 

Michelle Craig (Chair) has resided on the Central Coast for over 40 years and her family extend from the Worimi and Yuin Nations.  

Michelle has over 20 years’ experience working with Aboriginal organisations and communities across the government and non-government sectors. As a prior Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, Michelle led the re-instalment of an all Aboriginal Board to guide the strategic policy decision making of the agency and was key in ensuring ongoing autonomy during a number of public service restructures. Michelle has extensive experience in the Aboriginal housing sector and has an interest in the economic advancement of Aboriginal people and communities.

In addition to leading the AHO as Chair, Michelle is a member of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, former Board Member of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, Previous Member of the Panel of Experts NSW Going Home Staying Home Homelessness Service System Reform and has held various senior roles in housing, advocacy and policy.

In NSW there remains an ongoing demand for housing products and services that provide choice and opportunity for Aboriginal people and families, this is what has led Michelle to accept the position of Chair. With an ongoing interest to ensure that all Aboriginal people are able to choose the type of housing that suits their needs and acknowledging the opportunity provided by suitable land that may meet the housing needs of Aboriginal people now and into the future, Michelle is excited to lead the establishment of the new Housing Company Board.

Matt Clarke (Deputy Chair) is a proud Ngunnawal man from the Far South Coast of NSW.

Matt is currently the Deputy CEO of NESA (National Employment Services Association / NESA Solutions) and has over 23 years of combined experience in both employment services and Aboriginal Health.

Since 2013 Matt has led several national projects working across remote Aboriginal Communities in areas of employment services, capacity building, mental health and remote school attendance.

Matt is passionate about creating and advocating for opportunities for his people which has seen his projects supporting over 180 Aboriginal Communities nationally as well as the establishment of a national Aboriginal training and consulting team. 

Mike Allen (Director) is a long-time NSW resident having lived most of his life on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. He now lives in outer Western Sydney on the land of the Darug people.

Mike is the former longstanding Chief Executive of Housing NSW, now part of the Department of Community Services and Justice. He has accrued more than 40 years’ experience in social and affordable housing management and asset services, homelessness services, and community and Aboriginal housing.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding and meritorious services to the community and for his strong commitment to the values and principles of social housing.

Mike has been a Director on not-for-profit boards since 1989. He is currently a Director of Aboriginal Hostels Ltd, including Chair of the Asset Management Committee. He is also a Director and Deputy Chair of Afford (Australian Foundation for Disability) a major disability services provider.

Michael Gannon (Director) is an experienced Financial Services professional with over 30 years’ experience in Bank and Non-Bank Financial Institutions.

Michael is currently the Head of Real Estate, Industry Analytics and Insights for Westpac Institutional Bank and has worked for Westpac for the past 11 years. Prior to joining Westpac Michael held the role General Manager Corporate Services overseeing the business disciplines of Finance, IT and Risk for a Non-Bank Financial Institution.

Michael has a strong leadership background across a broad range of business disciplines and a personal and professional interest in social and affordable housing.

Duane Keighran (Director) was born and raised on Gumbaynggirr land in Coffs Harbour, NSW, and his family comes from the Gomeroi nation of the Namoi region of NSW.

Duane has been a property lawyer for almost 20 years and has provided advice to social and affordable housing providers in NSW as well as to developers who produce social and affordable housing.

He is currently a Partner and the Deputy Head of the Property & Development team at national law firm Colin Biggers & Paisley, which specialises in the property and development industry as one of its core areas of expertise.

Duane also has international best practice experience, having previously worked overseas on some of the world’s largest property developments and transactions by size and value, as a Partner of one of the world’s biggest international law firms. 

Barry Mannis an independent non-executive director with over 35 years’ experience in the property, investment, housing and construction sectors.    Barry was raised in regional NSW and has travelled extensively through regional and remote Australia. He has a strong interest in affordable, well designed and fit for purpose housing.

Barry was most recently the Chief Executive of the NSW Government urban renewal agency, UrbanGrowth Development Corporation.    He has previously held senior roles at listed developers Stockland and Lendlease and in local government.

Barry served as a Director and Vice President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, NSW for seven years and currently Chairs the organisation’s Building Regulation Advisory Panel.

Barry brings to the Board a wealth of experience in housing development and management in both regional and metropolitan NSW as well as a strong understanding of the listed and private development sector and State and Local Government.  

Renee Thomson (Director) is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Mt Druitt, with cultural and ancestral ties to Erambie, Cowra, the Riverina Region of Central NSW.

Renee has been involved in the Land Rights network since she was born, with strong family connections to NSWALC and direct involvement with the development of the Land Council.

She is the elected Deputy Chair of Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Sydney-Newcastle Region representative on the NSWALC Youth Council and founder of the Western Sydney Aboriginal Youth Leadership Network.

Renee is devoted to working hand in hand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure current and future generations have limitless opportunities in all aspects of life, to create positive social change for our people.

NSWALC NET Ltd Director Biographies

Glenn Johnston (Chair) is a proud Darug man from Western Sydney.

Glenn has more than 30 years of commercial, procurement and logistics leadership experience in both private and public sector and is a nationally recognised, passionate advocate for Aboriginal business development and employment.

He is a Director and Deputy Chair at Supply Nation and a Director of the AIATSIS Foundation Board.

Currently employed by Transport for NSW as the Director, Procurement Sustainability with a focus on the positive social, economic and environmental impacts that procurement can deliver.

Professor Mark McMillan (Deputy Chair) is a Wiradjuri man from Trangie, NSW.

He is a Professor and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Education and Engagement) and Chair of RMIT Academic Board at RMIT University.

In 2013 Mark was awarded the National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year award.

Mark has received his Bachelor of Laws from The Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from The Australian National University, a Master of Laws and a Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Arizona, a Certificate II in Indigenous Leadership from the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre and a Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Heritage, Language and Culture from Charles Sturt University.

In 2001 Mark was admitted to the Roll of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory as a Legal Practitioner.

His research interests are in the areas of human rights, particularly the expression and fulfilment of those rights for Indigenous Australians.

He is currently working on an ARC grant relating to ‘conduct of lawful relations’ from contact to Treaty. He intends on expanding his research outcomes to include the application of ‘constitutionalism’ for Indigenous Australians, with an emphasis on the use of current constitutional law for the protections envisioned for Indigenous people in the constitutional referendum of 1967.

Cecilia Anthony (Director) is the daughter and granddaughter of migrants from Sydney, NSW.

Cecilia is a strategy and engagement expert with specialist knowledge working with and for diverse communities across a range of policy areas, including education and employment. She is the Director of Cultural Perspectives, a consultancy focussed on work with Australia’s multicultural communities. At the core of her work ethic is the belief that all communities have a right to self-determination and to have their voices heard.

She is the elected co-chair of Reconciliation NSW, and a board member of the Evatt Foundation.

Cecilia has been involved in Aboriginal policy, advocacy and affairs for 20 years to support equity and advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW and nationally. She has worked in the area of Aboriginal employment as a senior public servant, ministerial advisor and as a freelance consultant.

Karen Cooper (Director) hails from St George in South West Queensland, part of the Kamilaroi nation.

Karen has been involved in establishing education, employment and training services in Aboriginal and remote communities for over 25 years.  Her professional background has assisted communities develop infrastructure and sustainability.

Karen has held senior roles leading the delivery of programs and services to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations.  She has engaged with all levels of government whilst working for public listed companies and the not-for-profit sector.

Karen, through her private consulting business, currently works with Boards and Senior Executive Leaders in developing and executing strategy, establishing governance frameworks and managing organisation risk.

Amanda McCarthy (Director) is a proud Mithaka woman based in Bathurst New South Wales, Australia.

Amanda has been involved with employment, training and development for over 10 years, using her background in human resources to drive Aboriginal Employment in both the private and public sector.

She is the Director Aboriginal People and Culture with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Chairperson of the DPIE Aboriginal Support Network.

Ms McCarthy is an elected board member of NSW Aboriginal Land Council Employment and Training Ltd.

Kate Russell (Director) is a proud Aboriginal woman from Lake Macquarie.

Kate has been involved in employment and education programs across the public, private and non-profit sectors both in Australia and overseas.

She is a member of Biraban LALC, a Director for the Diversity Council Australia and the Director – Diversity and Culture for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Through her personal and professional experience, she has seen that educational and employment pathways are key to economic empowerment.  She has strong HR generalist skills, good governance, experience across multiple levels of government, and a thorough understanding of the VET sector.