Joe Martin Jard

Joe Martin-Jard will become the Central Land Council’s first chief executive officer in the New Year, taking over from retiring CLC director David Ross.

In a unanimous decision, the CLC executive decided to appoint Mr Martin-Jard, a senior federal public servant who was born and raised in the Northern Territory.

The Alice Springs based regional manager in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will become only the fourth administrative head of the CLC in more than four decades.

“We are very happy that Mr Martin-Jard has accepted our offer. He has a good sense of humour, shares our values and is someone we can all work with,” said CLC chair Francis Kelly.

“He’s got what it takes to succeed in one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in Aboriginal affairs.”

Mr Martin-Jard’s most recent focus as a public servant has been on Aboriginal employment, economic development and community services.

He also brings experience from the private and non-government sectors to the new role, having held leadership positions in Darwin’s Danila Dilba Health Service and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT and managed a Top End labour hire company.

CLC constituents in the Barkly remember Mr Martin-Jard as ATSIC’s regional manager in Tennant Creek, where he oversaw major housing and infrastructure projects between 2001 and 2004 that created jobs and business opportunities for locals.

Of Kamilaroi descent, he holds tertiary qualifications in international and public sector management.

The appointment concludes a national search for a successor for Mr Ross, who has led the land council since 1989, interrupted by a few years as ATSIC commissioner and executive chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation.

Mr Kelly thanked Mr Ross for his four decades of excellent and dedicated service.

“Rossy has done so much for the CLC – we can’t really thank him enough. We will all miss him but he really deserves a break,” he said.

“He is not just an outstanding director, he is also our longest serving employee.”

Mr Ross started at the CLC in 1979, in a position then called council clerk, and went on to play a significant role in national Aboriginal policy, particularly in relation to land rights and native title.

Mr Kelly said two recent highlights of his leadership were the expansion of the CLC’s successful Aboriginal ranger and community development programs.

“Rossy enjoys enormous respect across the nation, as well as the trust and confidence of his team. The elected members and the staff look forward to carrying on his legacy by supporting his successor,” he said.

Mr Martin-Jard will commence in early February.

A handover period between the CEO and the director will ensure a smooth transition during a time when the CLC’s constituents will also elect a new council.