Your guide to being a council member

The Central Land Council has elected Anangu youth worker Robert Hoosan as CLC chair and Warlpiri youth organisation leader Warren Williams as deputy chair at its meeting at Tennant Creek today.

Mr Hoosan is a former CLC field officer, police officer, health worker and Uniting Church chair from Aputula (Finke).

He and other elders take young men out bush for weeks at a time where they teach spear and boomerang-making at cultural healing camps “to fix our spirit up”.

He is proud of the many young people communities in the southern half of the NT have chosen over the past six weeks to represent them on the land council for the next three years.

“It makes me really proud that the community had the good idea to put young people on. One of them is only 20 years old – our youngest delegate ever. That’s good, but we still need to learn from the old people,” he said.

“We’ve got good delegates and staff, both men and women, and we’ve got to work together. The land council’s future looks bright.”

Mr Hoosan has been a member of the CLC’s 11-member executive committee since 2019 and was a delegate when he was younger. He is also a board member of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

“I love to listen to people and try to guide them, and I need them to guide me too. We delegates, the remote communities, are the land council.”

Mr Williams, a former assistant school principal who is the deputy president of the Central Desert Shire Council and chairs Yuendumu’s Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, plans to advocate for young people.

“We get them out to Mount Theo [outstation] where they learn their culture,” he said.

“We’ve been asking for a school there for a very long time because they also need to learn to read and write.”

Mr Williams also wants to focus on the repatriation of sacred objects and the protection of sites and act as a peace maker.

“I want to help people in our communities live in harmony.”

The election was carried out by the NT Electoral Commission.

This afternoon the CLC delegates will chose the remaining nine members of the executive committee and two members of the board of the new NT Aboriginal Investment Corporation.

6 April 2022

One of the most prominent workers who walked off Wave Hill Station in 1966 and helped spark the land rights movement has passed away – two days after the 55th anniversary of the historic strike.

“Cullum Wave Hill was a young man when he joined the strike,” Central Land Council chair Sammy Wilson said.

“He was one of the heroes of the land rights struggle and his sudden death at 85 years of age has left us all heartbroken.”

The CLC delegates, meeting at Mr Wave Hill’s home town of Kalkaringi, observed a minute’s silence at the news of his passing.

“He represented his community on our council for decades and came to greet us all at our meeting only yesterday,” Mr Wilson said.

“We all looked up to him and were hoping he would join us again this afternoon.”

CLC chief executive Lesley Turner said Mr Wave Hill will be missed deeply.

“As a CLC delegate, he was there for all the big milestones of our history. He was passionate about protecting his country and losing him is too sad for words,” Mr Turner said.

“Only last September, he and the other families of striking Wave Hill Station workers celebrated the recognition of their native title rights at Jinbarak, the old station homestead.”

The station was the site of the Wave Hill Walk Off, the strike led by Gurindji stockman Vincent Lingiari that marks the beginning of the land rights movement.

Former New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council CEO Lesley Turner will lead the Central Land Council for the next six months, while it embarks on a national recruitment campaign for a new chief executive officer.

Mr Turner, an Arrernte man from Alice Springs, will join the CLC after Easter for a handover with current CEO Joe Martin-Jard.

Mr Turner was a senior executive in the Commonwealth public service for many years before joining the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council in 2007.

He was appointed CEO of the land council in 2013.   During his term as NSW Aboriginal Land Council CEO he restructured the organisation with a focus on economic development and strengthening relationships with constituents and governments.

Mr Turner led the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service between 2017 and 2019.   His role as acting CEO of the CLC will begin on 23 April and the recruitment of a permanent CEO will start in May.

The executive of the CLC has formed a subcommittee to manage the process.  

Central Land Council delegates have elected Sammy Wilson as CLC chair and Barbara Shaw as deputy chair at their meeting at Yulara Pulka outstation near Uluru.

Mr Wilson, the chair of the board of joint management of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and owner/operator of cultural tourism company Uluru Family Tours, pipped Ms Shaw by four votes.

“It feels very special to be elected on my grandfather Paddy Uluru’s country,” Mr Wilson said.

“I think he would be very happy.”

Mr Wilson, from Mutitjulu community, vowed to pursue the Uluru Statement from the Heart with whoever wins the coming federal election.

“I will tell them we’re not about taking over the government. We want to sit down with them at the same table and be listened to.”

Ms Shaw was elected deputy chair with 41 votes, only the second woman in the CLC’s history to win the office.

“My election results shows that the Central Land Council is ready for change,” she said.

Ms Shaw is a youth worker at the Tangentyere’s Brown Street Youth Drop-in Centre and works with Tangentyere’s womens family safety group targeting domestic violence in Alice Springs town camps.

She represents the Northern Territory on the Uluru Statement working group, and has been employed by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.

Ms Shaw stood as a Green Party candidate for the seat of Lingiari in 2010 and 2013.

Elected CLC delegates from 75 remote communities and outstations across the south of the Northern Territory also voted for the members of the CLC’s executive and the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) advisory committee.

Mr Wilson thanked the outgoing CLC chair, Francis Kelly, for his six years of service and presented him with a kulata (spear) and spear thrower (mirru).

The CLC election was carried out by the Northen Territory Electoral Commission.

See the high resolution images of the election.

The Central Land Council welcomes the appointment of Marion Scrymgour, the Territory’s first female land council CEO.

CLC chair Francis Kelly said the appointment of a woman to the Northern Land Council’s top administrative position was an historic achievement and a win for equality.

“It’s another first for Marion, from first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the NT’s Legislative Assembly to first female land council CEO,” Mr Kelly said.

“I am sure she will be a good leader for the NLC and make them all proud.”

CLC CEO Joe Martin-Jard congratulated the NLC executive on having made a fine choice.

Mr Martin-Jard has known his new counterpart for many years and has come to highly respect her.

“Marion’s and my paths have crossed for two decades. I admire her tenacity and inclusivity and know how much she cares for Territorians from all walks of life,” he said.

“I am sure we will work well together. Marion will build on Joe Morrison’s positive legacy and provide the Northern Land Council with the stability it deserves.”

He said Ms Scrymgour has family ties to the CLC region through her father and, having worked in the NLC’s legal and land management sections in the 1980s, has first hand knowledge of the challenging work of the land councils.

“I look forward to working with Marion on tackling some of the common priorities of our constituents, none of them more urgent than sorting out the housing crisis in remote communities.”

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.

Ned Hargraves has a long and unfortunate history of threatening and aggressive confrontation documented over many years and he has been repeatedly banned from Regional Council, CLC & community meetings since at least 2011 due to his violent and disruptive behaviour.

In 2012 the CLC even offered (in writing) to assist him to seek counselling at the Men’s Health service at Congress to deal with his anger management issues but he sadly did not take up the offer.

On 7 December, Mr Hargraves attempted to enter a meeting of traditional owners at the CLC office with a camera person in tow. His country was not being discussed and the traditional owners present requested that he not be let in as they knew, given past behaviour, that he was attempting to disrupt the meeting.

Although he was advised that the meeting did not involve him and asked to leave, Mr Hargraves staged a scene, entered the meeting despite being asked to leave and ultimately only left when police were called.

His obvious attempts to set-up a confrontation for media purposes are shown up by the facts.

Mr Hargraves left the CLC premises with Police after CLC staff called them due to his violent disruption of the meeting.

Police were advised of his actions.

He has posted a heavily edited, self-serving and defamatory video – the CLC completely rejects his assertions and calls on him to make an immediate apology to the traditional owners at Yuendumu whose meeting he attempted to disrupt and the staff and contractors engaged by the CLC.

Francis Jupurrurla Kelly

In the name of the Chairman