A scholarship established to honour the first Aboriginal woman elected to local government in Australia has been granted to a promising young trainee from Nambucca Shire Council.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said she was delighted to announce Courtney McEwan as the recipient of the 2019 Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship.
The 19-year-old from Bowraville joined Nambucca Shire Council earlier this year as a trainee Business Service Officer and will use the scholarship to undertake a Certificate III in Business.
“Local Government NSW is proud to support our fantastic and diverse local government workforce in NSW,” Cr Scott said.
“We couldn’t be happier to name Courtney McEwan as this year’s very worthy recipient.
“I thank the family of the late Cr Pat Dixon, who showed such magnificent leadership in her region and beyond, for working with LGNSW to continue her legacy of supporting Indigenous elected representatives and staff.”
The scholarship, which is administered by LGNSW, is awarded each year to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillor or member of council staff in NSW to undertake further study, professional development or research.
Recipients are determined by four trustees: Cr Scott, Local Government Aboriginal Network President Cr Dominic Wy Kanak, Cr Dave Carter of Lachlan Shire Council, and Mr Warren Roberts, a family member of the late Pat Dixon.
“Pat was a proud member of the Dhanggati people, whose traditional country is the mountains and rolling hills between the coast and tableland around the Macleay River,” Cr Scott said.
Cr Dixon had a distinguished career of community service, serving as Deputy Mayor of Armidale, Vice-President of the NSW Local Government Association, Commissioner of the Local Government Grants Commission and as a member of the advisory committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters to the Federal Electoral Commission.
Other community-focused roles included CEO of the Armidale District medical service and Chair of New England and North Coast State Housing.
“Aunty Pat Dixon was a fantastic role model not only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but also for everyone who is elected to serve our communities and help deliver public good,” Cr Dominic Wy Kanak said.
“I know Aunty Pat and her family join us in welcoming Ms McEwan to local government, congratulating her on this scholarship, and in wishing her the very best for her studies and future career.”
Cr Wy Kanak urged other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillors and council staff seeking to further their education or professional development to consider nominating for next year’s scholarship.
Applications will open in early 2020.