Two promising Aboriginal council workers have been awarded the Pat Dixon scholarship, established in honour of the Dhanggati woman who became the first Aboriginal woman elected to local government in Australia.
Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trustees are delighted to announce Marshandra Naden and Belinda Coe as the recipients of the 2020 Scholarships.
Trustee Warren Roberts, a relative of the late Pat Dixon, said this was a proud moment for the local government sector as it was the first time there had been two winners of the scholarship.
The announcement comes during 2020 National Reconciliation Week, which celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and is themed “In this Together”.
Ms Naden works for Warrumbungle Shire Council as an early childhood education trainee and will use the scholarship to undertake a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care while Ms Coe is an infrastructure services administrative coordinator at Lachlan Shire Council and will study a Diploma in Business.
“We congratulate Marshandra and Belinda on this scholarship, which will help them fulfil their career goals,” Mr Roberts said.
“Marshandra wants to be a role model for Aboriginal families in the childcare sector, and Belinda wants to study business so she can be in a position to take on a leadership role and drive cultural change within her council.
“I am sure Cr Dixon would be very proud of Marshandra and Belinda and their efforts to serve their communities through a career in local government,” he said.
Fellow Trustee and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Cr Linda Scott said the Pat Dixon scholarship was an important way for local councils to invest in the communities they represent, through employment and career development.
“I thank the family of the late Cr Pat Dixon for working with LGNSW to continue her legacy of promoting diversity in the workplace and supporting Indigenous elected representatives and staff,” she said.
Pat Dixon forged 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. She was also CEO of the Armidale District medical service and Chair of New England and North Coast State Housing.
Cr Wy Kanak, President of the NSW Local Government Aboriginal Network and Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trustee, urged other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors and council staff seeking to further their professional development to consider nominating for next year’s scholarship.
The scholarship is administered by LGNSW and is awarded each year to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillors or members of council staff in NSW to undertake further study, professional development or research. Recipients are determined by four trustees: LGNSW President 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.