New Chair and Deputy for nation’s largest Aboriginal organisation

New Chair and Deputy for nation's largest Aboriginal organisation

August 18, 2011

The 267th meeting of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council has elected a new chairperson and deputy chairperson for the nation's largest Aboriginal organisation.

Stephen Ryan, Councillor for the Central Region, is the new chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

Deputy Chairperson is Craig Cromelin.

The appointment of Chairperson Ryan and Deputy Chairperson Cromelin follows the NSW Aboriginal Land Council's state-wide elections earlier this month to choose nine individuals for the Governing Council.

Chairperson Ryan is a Wiradjuri man who lives in Dubbo in central NSW. He has been a long-time fighter for Aboriginal land rights, and has already served a four term on NSWALC, from 2007-2011.

His past employment and appointments cross the breadth of Aboriginal affairs in NSW, including in the areas of family violence prevention, Aboriginal housing, legal and justice services, native title, Aboriginal Culture & Heritage, and land management.

Chairperson Ryan is a former chairman and current member of the Dubbo Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Chairperson Ryan said he looked forward to guiding NSWALC over the next two years.

"Land rights in NSW is not perfect, but it's without doubt the best model in the nation. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues on the Governing Council, and my brothers and sisters in the NSW Aboriginal land rights network more broadly.

"I also look forward to guiding NSW's peak Aboriginal body, and the largest Aboriginal organization in the country.

"NSWALC has a wide range of responsibilities, and the next two years represent an opportunity to strengthen our organization, make our model work better, and form a lasting and productive relationship with government, in particular the O'Farrell Government.

"It's also an opportunity to find ways to advocate the interests of our members, and to continue the excellent work of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council over the past four years.

"As our old people have told me, we've got a system, it might not be perfect, but we have to make it work, and in particular we have to make it work for our Boories (children)."

The new Deputy Chairperson of NSWALC, Craig Cromelin, is a Ngiyampaa man from Murrin Bridge, in Wiradjuri country on the banks of the Lachlan River.

An artist and former cotton picker, carpenter and welder, Deputy Chairperson Cromelin describes himself as a "jack of all trades".  He is a member of the Murrin Bridge Local Aboriginal Land Council, and has also recently completed a four-year term on the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, from 2007-2011.

Deputy Chairperson Cromelin has held several managerial positions, including Chairperson of the Murrin Bridge Aboriginal Advancement Corporation, the Murrin Bridge LALC and the Wiradjuri Regional Land Council.

He is also one of the driving forces behind Murrin Bridge Wines, Australia's first and only Aboriginal winery.

"I look forward to the role of Deputy, in particular assisting our new Chairperson and working in collaboration with our re-elected and new Councillors," Deputy Chairperson Cromelin said.

"I also look forward to working hard over the next four years to represent the views and interests of my members of the Wiradjuri region.

"Land rights in NSW has entered an exciting new era, and I look forward to working as part of a great team to face the many challenges that confront our network."

CEO of NSWALC, Geoff Scott said the outcome was another positive step forward for Aboriginal people - and Aboriginal land rights - in NSW.

"Chairperson Ryan and Deputy Chairperson Cromelin bring to the table a wealth of experience representing the views and interests of Aboriginal people.

"They also both bring a new energy to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, and our organisation has immense confidence in their ability - and that of our new Governing Council - going forward.

"We've made confident strides over the past four years, and I'm certain our next term will be just as industrious for the 20,000-plus Aboriginal members we represent.

"NSWALC quite literally is self-determination in motion. We're heading in the right direction, with the right people in place to make positive change a tangible reality."

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Media contact: Amy McQuire  - 0428 924 069