Applications open for 2020 Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors and council staff, passionate about bolstering their local government careers in NSW, are invited to apply for the 2020 Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship.

The Scholarship 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.

Dhanggati community leader and Councillor, Pat Dixon was a trailblazer who was passionate about giving Aboriginal people a voice through local government careers. She had a distinguished career of community service, serving as Deputy Mayor of Armidale, Vice-President of the NSW Local Government Association and much more.

Cr Dixon led the way in efforts to attract and retain Aboriginal candidates and electors. She also built strong networks among women in all spheres of government and across cultures, in the interests of ensuring local council leaders reflect the diverse nature of their communities – a challenge the local government sector continues to grapple with today.

Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship trustee and family member Mr Warren Roberts said this was a timely opportunity for LGNSW and the NSW Local Government Aboriginal Network to work with the Aunty Pat Dixon Scholarship and use the ‘Collaborate’ Program resources towards increasing the number of Candidates and elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councillors in the upcoming NSW Local Government elections in September.

Fellow trustee and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Cr Linda Scott said she shared Pat Dixon’s determination to ensure local councils reflected the communities they represented and provided employment, infrastructure, and services that enhanced the lives of everyone in the community.

Local Government in NSW has a greater level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander worker participation than other levels of government and the private sector. At 0.69% it is more than double the state average participation level.

“It’s thanks to the drive and resolve of people like Pat Dixon that we remain steadfast about the importance of all voices being heard within local government, indeed all levels of government. But we still have a long way to go,” Cr Scott said.

“We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in, and on, councils.”

The Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship is valued at $5000 for one or more scholarship recipients in a calendar year. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander NSW local government councillors or council employees are eligible to apply. Candidates must apply online by 6pm on 31 March 2020.

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.

The 2019 Scholarship winner was Courtney McEwen, of Nambucca Valley Council.

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