Hailing from across the Territory, from Yirrkala to Yuendumu, 24 emerging Aboriginal leaders have started their journey with the innovative First Circles Leadership Program.
Since coming to Government in 2016, the Territory Labor Government has supported and grown the program, which aims to build leadership skills and bring new voices from remote communities to the Territory conversation on matters affecting Aboriginal Territorians.
Education, health services, infrastructure, housing and telecommunications will be among the topics discussed at the regional workshops, which take place in Darwin, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs between March and November 2023.
The year-long series of intensive workshops culminate in the group addressing all Ministers in the Northern Territory Government Cabinet, presenting ideas on policies, projects and initiatives that could positively impact their communities.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Selena Uibo:
“As a First Circles graduate, I know firsthand how important this program is in fostering the next generation of Aboriginal leaders. The program gave me an invaluable opportunity to hone my leadership skills and to work with Government at a grass roots level.
“I want to congratulate the 2023 cohort of First Circles members. I look forward to supporting new voices to join the conversation about how to improve lives in remote communities.”
Quotes attributable to First Circles member, Jessica Phillips, Maningrida
“Looking at past First Circles participants before I applied, I’ve heard very inspiring stories. I felt I had a story to tell. I want to share my journey with First Circles. This program is using our skills and knowledge to empower mob.”
Quotes attributable to First Circles member, Leon Kinthari, Wadeye
“I’d like to build up my skills by joining this program. It’s going to be a really big help for me. Some of the stuff that I need for my community is education and that includes young parents. The reason I’m here is to help the young ones and make a better community, a better place for everyone. I’d like to say to the young ones that are out there, keep attending education and reach your goals. You guys are the next leaders.”
2023 First Circles members:
Leah Narul Holt, WarruwiMichael Tedcastle, NganambalaDavid Jones, ManingridaJessica Phillips, ManingridaJacob Puautjimi, WurrumiyangaSheila White, Maddaingya Outstation – Daly RiverLeon Kinthari, WadeyeDhangatji Mununggurr, YirrkalaJessica Minay Wunungmurra, Gapuwiyak and Yalkun HomelandAlicia Marika, YirrkalaNoeleen Danjibana Lalara, UmbakumbaBrendan Wunungmurra, GapuwiyakNalita Palmer, Ltyentye ApurteIshmael Dickie Dickson, UtjuDianne Reid, WatiyawanuJordan Obrien, YuendumuErnestine Doolan, LajamanuLazarus Manbulloo, KalanoMaythan Long, KalkarindjiWesley Campbell, YarralinLiam Patrick, LajamanuAndrea Andrews, BamyiliStephanie Anderson, BorroloolaDerek Walker, Ali Curung