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Awarded by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, this award is specifically for an Aboriginal woman who has promoted reconciliation and cohesion by improving relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This could include Aboriginal women working in any sector or field such as business, government, community or academia.

Ms Dana Clarke


Dana is a proud Worrimi Aboriginal woman who has worked in Aboriginal health, domestic violence prevention, child protection, sexual assault and mental health for over 25 years. Dana was appointed the Chief Executive Officer for Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation in 2005. Burrun Dalai provides services to children and their families and carers to achieve the best possible life outcomes by raising Aboriginal children in a safe and nurturing environment which keeps them connected to their community and culture, while maintaining their family identity and family relationships. Dana has successfully grown Burrun Dalai to become the largest rural service provider of Accredited Aboriginal out-of-home care and family support services in NSW, only one in five in NSW, to achieve re-accreditation with the Office of Children’s Guardian. Dana is recognised within the industry and her community for her passionate advocacy for the needs of Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care.

Ms Kirstie Parker


Kirstie is a Yuwallarai Aboriginal woman originally from north western NSW. With more than 25 years of experience in community leadership, management, journalism and communications, Kirstie has been a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and a constructive contributor to national dialogue about issues relevant to all Australians. She’s a Director of Reconciliation Australia, and was elected Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a role that saw her co-chair two important national non-partisan campaigns for equality: the Close the Gap Steering Committee around Indigenous health and life expectancy; and the Change the Record Coalition around Indigenous incarceration and experiences of violence. Kirstie helped to forge an unprecedented alliance of Indigenous and ethnic organisations behind a successful community campaign supporting the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and remains a key influencer in the process to meaningfully reform the Australian Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their rights. Since October 2015, she has been the CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) based in Redfern, which delivers life-changing programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially youth.

Mrs Rhonda Radley


Rhonda is a Birrbay woman from Port Macquarie. She is passionate about her connection with the land and promotes reconciliation and cohesion by sharing her cultural knowledge through stories, dance and language. Rhonda sits on the Local Aboriginal Land Council Board, Werin Aboriginal Medical Service, and the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. Rhonda is a member of the Gathang Language Group where she advocates for Aboriginal Languages to continue to be taught, integrated and spoken. She is also the Elder in residence at the University of Newcastle, TAFE campus. Rhonda has started a movement called Djiyagan Dhanbaan, meaning Strong Sister. This movement creates opportunities for Aboriginal and non Aboriginal women to come together. Djiyagan Dhanbaan showcases artistic expression such as culture, music, language and dance to the wider community. Rhonda identified that Aboriginal women residing in Port Macquarie were asking for opportunities to connect with the land, language and culture, and this story has been captured in an ABC Open documentary Aboriginal women stepping into their power.

Miss Nikita Ridgeway


Nikita is an advocate for women in business, and is recognised as a successful business woman and entrepreneur both within her community and nationally. Nikita is the founder and owner of Boss Lady Creative Design Agency, as well as founder of Dreamtime Ink Australia, the world's first All Australian Aboriginal tattoo company, which has created a world-wide platform for Aboriginal tattoos. Co-founder of the National Indigenous Basketball Championships, Nikita has also co-founded Redfern Records Entertainment, and the National Indigenous Hip Hop and RnB BUMP Awards. Nikita was recently featured in the International BBC Series 30 Business Women Under 30 and is nominated for the ASIA Forbes magazine series featuring 30 Under 30 Influential People in the Asia Region. Nikita created the 2015 South Sydney Rabbitoh's Indigenous Jersey. Nikita is a strong role model for youth with an urge to give back to the people that have supported her.

This award is not subject to public voting.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019