Aboriginal Affairs loses a committed policy maker

Aboriginal Affairs loses a committed policy maker

The Deputy Chairperson of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Councillor Tom Briggs has paid tribute to the life and work of Allen Hedger, who passed away last week.

Councillor Briggs said the Aboriginal community had "lost one of our greatest advocates, a friend and mentor. NSWALC's Governing Council and staff offer their deepest condolences to Allen's wife Jennifer, sons Joe and Jake and daughters Trisha and Cagney.

A professional public servant, Allen had over 25 years experience in the public service working in Aboriginal policy.

He worked with Aboriginal Hostels Limited, the Aboriginal Development Commission,

ATSIC's National Centre for Legal and Preventative Services in Sydney before becoming the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the State's Aboriginal Housing Organisation in 2005.

Allen was very passionate about his work and he was a compassionate man. I had a great deal of respect for him because of his dedication and commitment towards achieving social justice for his people.

As a Bundjalung man, he demonstrated time and again a sense of loyalty and integrity to his colleagues, his family and his whole community. When he gave a commitment to do something you knew it would get done.

He was a mentor, friend, guide to many of our people who have gone on to be leaders and elders in our community.

I know the respect in which he is held by the Aboriginal community. Allen Hedger was man of strong personality with intense zeal and vitality - a fighter for the rights and betterment of his people.

He was tireless as an advocate for his people and despite his ailing health he never gave up his commitment to his mob. Allen was a strident advocate for those of our people incarcerated in the prison system and the ongoing tragedy of our young people dying in police and prison custody was something he spoke about relentlessly.

Allen had a great ability to talk through issues with government policy makers and officials alike.

On behalf of NSWALC and the Aboriginal community of this State, I extend our condolences to the Hedger family and friends.

Allen Hedger will be honoured and remembered by our people all over New South Wales.

Tom Briggs
Deputy Chairperson

27 April 2010