Council welcomes new members

Council is pleased to welcome four new members to serve a three-year term; John Austin, Jason Briggs, Melinda Kennedy and Nicholas Stewart.

Monday, 24 October 2022 at 2:17 am

Council is pleased to welcome the following members who will each serve a three-year term.

John Austin

John is of Gunditjmara/Djab Wurrung descent from Western Victoria and Gunai/Kurnai family connections in Gippsland.

John has many years experience working in communities across Australia and Victoria. John has a rich understanding of the issues faced by Victoria's First Nations peoples including socio-economic challenges.

John has a keen interest in matters such as negotiations with private land owners for access by Traditional Owners to undertake cultural practices and the return of Ancestral Remains and Secret or Sacred Objects.

Jason Briggs

Jason is a proud Boon wurrung and Wamba Wemba man. Jason is an experienced legal practitioner, working with diverse First People’s communities across Australia. This experience has included working with communities across a range of legal, cultural and social environments, requiring an in-depth understanding of social, political and economic issues impacting upon these diverse communities.

As one of the first Indigenous Solicitors to establish and operate a legal practice as a Principal Solicitor in Victoria, Jason is experienced in a range of legal areas, including: criminal law, commercial law, native title, cultural heritage, litigation and human rights.

Melinda Kennedy

Melinda is a Wadawurrung woman, business owner and lecturer at Deakin University.

In recent years, Melinda was appointed to the Barwon Ministerial Advisory Group. The Victorian Government established the Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee (Barwon MAC) in early 2019 to facilitate a community-led approach to the future management and protection of the Barwon catchment. The MAC has worked in partnership with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and local communities to understand the threats to the river, how to better manage these threats, and how to enhance and protect the river system.

Melinda holds her Masters in Indigenous knowledge systems in the Australian tertiary-built Environment.

Nicholas Stewart

Nicholas is a proud Wemba Wamba and Dhudhuroa man.

With over 20 years experience in the cultural heritage industry, working primarily in the northwest of the State. Nick is driven by the need to protect his culture and maintain recognition for the ways of his old people. 

Nick has completed his Cert IV - Cultural Heritage Management (La Trobe Uni) and is currently employed by the North Central CMA as a Project Officer and Indigenous Facilitator.