New Board Appointed to NSWALC Housing Ltd

30 January, 2020

New Board Appointed to NSWALC Housing Ltd

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is pleased to announce the appointment of an independent Board to lead NSWALC Housing Ltd (NHL).

Established in 2019, NHL is Aboriginal controlled and NSWALC is the sole shareholder.

Appointments to the Board 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.

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

“The new board members come from areas such as real estate, employment, banking, law and social housing.

I am delighted that such high calibre professionals have agreed to steer the direction of this exciting new company.”

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.

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.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.