First Nations leaders announced

Seventeen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders graduated from the 2022 Milparanga Established Leadership Program in late May. 

After 9-days on program, the cohort was the first to complete Milparanga program designed and delivered specifically for First Nations applicants seeing themselves at an established stage in their leadership. 

The leaders began their journey on Country, paying respect to Traditional Custodians, engaging with nature, and learning from cultural intelligence leaders Banaam. Followed by media at Brisbane’s Triple A Murri Country, governance and advocacy training facilitated by political scientist and Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) Associate Michelle Deshong, the group finished with a workshop led by design-thinking and innovation expert Simon Banks and getting to know the ARLF’s leadership principles.

‘The Milparanga programs are unique in a sense as they are designed and delivered almost exclusively by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,’ ARLF Learning Director Andrea Hogg said. 

Striving to remove barriers of entry for people from all over the country, the program is for anyone with a passion and commitment to their work, community, Country and representing their people.

‘People on the Milparanga Established Leadership program have come from all parts of Australia,’ Ms Hogg said.

‘Where they live and what they do in their workplaces, the roles they play in their families are different, yet seeing them all together it was evident early on that they share a commitment to the progress they want to see in the future, and be a part of, particularly for positive outcomes for First Nations Peoples in this country.’

It’s a sentiment the Australian Rural Leadership Foundations shares and will address with its newest suite of programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Splitting the Milparanga program into two, one for emerging and one for established leaders, means participants at all stages of leadership maturity get the most out of the learning experience. It also gives way for mentoring opportunities between the cohorts further strengthening networks and collaboration amongst Indigenous leaders.

In 2023, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation will be introducing a third Milparanga program with an international focus. Milparanga International will be open to Indigenous alumni from any Australian Rural Leadership Foundation program. 

Learning Director Andrea Hogg said it was about looking more broadly at contemporary leadership in First Nations communities around the world. 

‘As humans we tend to look inward saying our system is the right one and the best it can be,’ she said. 

‘Leadership, however, comes with an obligation to broaden horizons and perspectives by looking at history and contemporary practices.’

‘We are fortunate to have the ability to facilitate these experiences through our partners and sponsors and connections within our own networks and the global network of leadership organisations.’

This program is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. It is supported by Thyne Reid Foundation and Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One initiative. 

Participant scholarships are funded by the National Indigenous Australian Agency, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation. 

2022 Milparanga Established Leaders 

  • Janine Dhu – Western Australia
  • Kylie Bishop – Australian Capital Territory 
  • Ulanda Gregory – Western Australia
  • Dean Jard – Australian Capital Territory 
  • Lisa Goodman – Queensland
  • Jordan Dwyer – Queensland
  • Neta-Rie Mabo – Queensland
  • Muriel Bin Dol – Townsville 
  • Sam Bliss – Queensland
  • Alfred Ochre – Queensland
  • Birrunga Wiradyuri – Queensland
  • Birrin Hooper – Australian Capital Territory
  • Nichole Robson – Queensland
  • Mathew Cooper – Victoria
  • Mitch Dunn – New South Wales 
  • Ailsa Lively – Queensland 
  • Lauren Rogers – Queensland
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