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The Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group advises the government about northern Australia matters.

Established in December 2017, the group:

The group has met on:

  • 10 July 2019 in Karratha, Western Australia [72KB PDF]
  • 8 November 2018 in Mount Isa, Queensland
  • 17 April 2018 in Kununurra, Western Australia
  • 10 December 2017 in Darwin, Northern Territory
  • 1 September 2017 in Darwin, Northern Territory

To contact the Indigenous Reference Group email


The group comprises senior Indigenous leaders from the three northern jurisdictions. Members are selected for their high-level of expertise and experience across a range of industries, sectors and regions. They don’t represent specific organisations or communities.

Mr Peter Yu

Mr Yu is a Yawuru Man from Broome.

State: Western Australia


  • Board member of North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance.
  • CEO of the Nyamba Buru Yawuru Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate.

Mr Lawford Benning

Mr Benning is from Kununurra.

State: Western Australia


  • Chair of MG Corporation which represents the interests of Miriuwung and Gajerrong native title holders.
  • CEO of the Gelganyem Trust for the traditional owners of the Argyle Participation Agreement.
  • Board member of Binarri-binyja Yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation (Empowered Communities, East Kimberley).

Mr Joe Morrison

Mr Morrison was born and raised in Katherine and has Dagoman and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

State: Northern Territory


  • CEO of the Northern Land Council, 2014 to 2018.
  • Founding CEO of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance.

Dr Donna Odegaard AM

Dr Odegaard is a Larrakia woman.

State: Northern Territory


  • CEO of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia, Australia’s largest 100 per cent Indigenous owned television, radio and production network.
  • In 2016, awarded an Order of Australia for her contribution to protecting and preserving Indigenous cultural heritage, reconciliation and Indigenous broadcasting and media.

Mr Nigel Browne

Mr Browne is a Larrakia and Wulna man.

State: Northern Australia


  • CEO of the Darwin-based Larrakia Development Corporation, served as chair or board member for over a decade.
  • Previous roles include: Crown Prosecutor in the NT’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, working on Aboriginal Lands for the Solicitor for the NT, Policy Advisor in the NT Chief Minister’s Office.
  • Previous board positions: North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, Law Society (NT) and Australia Day Council (NT).
  • National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year in 2011.
  • Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education: Bachelor of Laws

Mr Colin Saltmere

Associate Professor Saltmere is an Indjalandji-Dhidhanu man.

State: Queensland 


  • Associate Professor at the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre, University of Queensland.
  • Managing Director of Indjalandji-Dhidhanu Aboriginal Corporation, Myuma and Rainbow Gateway.

Ms Vonda Malone, Queensland

Ms Malone is a Torres Strait Islander woman.

State: Queensland 


  • Created history in 2016 by becoming the first Indigenous female Mayor of the Torres Shire Council.
  • Awarded the prestigious McKinnon Prize for Emerging Political Leader of the Year in 2018.
  • The first Torres Strait Islander woman to work internationally with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner in Geneva.
  • Established and chairs the first community controlled primary health care service in the Torres Strait.
  • Received the 2001 Centenary Medal.

Education: Graduate Certificate in Australian Rural Leadership and Public Sector Management.

Ms Fiona Jose, Queensland

Ms Jose is a Kuku Yalanji and Torres Strait Islander woman.

State: Queensland 


  • Executive General Manager of Cape Operations, Cape York Partnership.
  • A leader of the Cape York Partnerships Empowered Communities initiative, board member of Bama Services and chair of the Jawun Advisory Group.
  • Non-Executive Director of Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Djarragun College and Cape York Girl Academy. On the council of the National Museum of Australia.
  • Won the 2015 Telstra Business Women’s Award, Queensland.
  • Named Queensland Not-for-profit Manager of the Year in 2012 by Australian Institute of Management.

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Last updated: 16 October 2019

Content ID: 42981