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First Milparanga for emerging leaders  

27 April 2022

From the vast Central Australian Desert to the tropical islands of the Torres Strait, the first Milparanga Emerging Leadership cohort was as much a leadership as a culturally immersive experience for the 25 participants.  

The 6-day 6-night program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People at the beginning of their leadership journey. And Program Manager Grant Cameron said it was a success. 

‘It wasn’t just the first of the newly designed Milparanga programs, it was also our largest ever with 25 participants – and that alone is proof that our mob’s emerging leaders are really taking on the opportunity to learn and grow,’ he said. 

The new program design meant activities and conversations were tailored to participants’ needs and allowed them to reach their full potential.  

‘The themes for the program were caring for Country, both land and sea, self and others, truth-telling, culture and inclusion, which created thought-provoking yarns during the week,’ he said. 

‘Hearing the different perspectives from our mob from across the Country was a revelation for some in the group, sharing of what is working and what needs work within communities was inspiring and empowering to say the least.’ 

The delivery of these programs wouldn’t be possible without our extensive network, Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands, committed sponsors and partners.  

Led by Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Associate Michelle Deshong, participants gained insights into governance from Yarrabah Shire Council members and Mayor Ross Anderson and learnt how to advocate for a cause in the context of caring for the sea from ARLF alumnus and ocean scientist Dr Adam Smith. 

They also heard first-hand how Milparanga alumna Dawn Harrigan translated leadership skills from the program and her deep passion to care for Country to her role as a ranger for Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation. 

The Milparanga Emerging Leadership cohort has formed a strong bond that will last a lifetime and join an ever-growing group of alumni is immensely powerful. 

According to Grant Cameron, the success of the program was as much a joy for staff as for participants. 

‘Seeing the personal growth of the cohorts is what inspires me to do my job, watching mob show up on the first day quiet and nervous and watching their confidence grow and listening to their impact yarns is so empowering for the group, myself and our team.’ 

‘If we, our sponsors, delivery partners and staff can play a small part in developing stronger, smarter, and more capable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders then our future is well cared for!’