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First Nations Advisory Panel

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Our Six Cities Region is home to the world’s oldest living continuous culture. Aboriginal peoples from many nations have nurtured and protected these lands as their custodians for more than 65,000 years.  

The lands of the six cities are located on the ancestral and unceded homelands of the Awabakal, Bediagal, Birrabirrigal, Borogegal, Burramattagal, Darkinjung, Darramurragal, Dharawal, Dharug, Gadigal, Gahbrogal, Gamaragal, Garigal and Gayamaygal, Guringai, Gundungarra, Gweagal, Wallumedegal, Wandi Wandian, Wangal, Wategoro, Weymaly, Wodi Wodi, Wonnarua, Worimi and Yuin peoples. 

First Nations Advisory Panel

The Greater Cities Commission has established its inaugural First Nations Advisory Panel, chaired by Social Commissioner, Natalie Walker, a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Daintree Rainforest. The Panel is an important part of the Commission’s recognition of First Nations peoples’ ongoing custodianship of the land and the need to embed their wisdom and learnings into city planning. 

Through lived experiences, cultural awareness and knowledge as a First Nations person, the Greater Cities Commission First Nations Advisory Panel members will help identify strategic issues in the planning system that work against First Nations people's aspirations and will provide advice regarding system-level change to address these challenges. 

The Panel’s members represent the Commission’s thematic areas of focus – Social, Environment and Economic, and will contribute to the development of the Commission’s 2023 Region Plan and the six City Plans for the Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle City, the Central Coast City, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City, the Western Parkland City, the Central River City and the Eastern Harbour City.  

Meet our Panel members


Steven Adams

A proud Kamilaroi Man, Steven is a senior professional with a background in Engineering, Construction, Defence Industry, Vocational Education, Health and Community Enterprises. He is an Independent Director on the boards of NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, WentWest Ltd, Hunter Primary Care Ltd and President of Itji-Marru AECG. Steven’s former appointments include Empowered Communities, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and Engineers Without Borders Indigenous Advisory Board, and he has a working knowledge of federal and state reforms, including Closing the Gap initiatives, Primary Health Network and E-Health. Steven’s experience also includes his work as chairperson and non-executive director for more than 30 years across several community boards and private companies, as well as chairing a range of sub-committees.

Elle Davidson

A Balanggarra woman from the East Kimberley, Elle is Director of Zion Engagement and Planning and an Aboriginal Planning Lecturer with the University of Sydney. Her work combines her Town Planning and Indigenous Engagement qualifications and draws upon her skills in deep listening and building trust for working together with the community.

Elle uses her planning and engagement skills to facilitate a co-design process that leads to culturally informed outcomes. Ultimately, she aims to create a space for reviving and enabling culture to exist in a contemporary society.

Sean Gordon

A Wangkumarra/Barkindji man, Sean Gordon is a strong advocate of self-determination and social, cultural, and economic empowerment for Indigenous communities. He is the Managing Director and owner of Gidgee Group consulting and Partnerships and Chief Executive Officer of Awabakal Enterprise Ltd.

Sean recently served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, a leading NSW Land Council focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the NSW Central Coast community.

Kristy Masella

A proud Murri woman, Kristy an award-winning author, a journalism graduate from the University of Queensland, holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of NSW, and is a Harvard Scholar.

Kristy is currently the Managing Director for Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES). Prior to this, she was the head of Social Justice for Aboriginal Affairs NSW and led a major review of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. She has been named one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac. In 2021, she was a Finalist for the NSW Woman of Excellence Award, and for the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. In 2020, she was awarded the Chief Executive Women and Roberta Sykes Award.

Kristy was appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Australians to the Board of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation in 2022. She is also a Director of the ILSC subsidiary, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, which manages the Mossman Gorge Centre and Ayers Rock Resort. Kristy contributes to the sustainability, self-determination and economic independence of remote Aboriginal communities through her role as Managing Director of Yaama Ganu Art.

Kristy also assists many Aboriginal community boards, acting as Chairperson for Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education and Training; Treasurer for Wunanbiri Aboriginal Preschool; and supports several Redfern Aboriginal community boards.

Dr Miri (Margaret) Raven

A Noongar-Yamatji from Western Australia, Miri is a geographer with close to 20 years’ experience working with government, non-government organisations, universities and the United Nations on Indigenous knowledge related to biological resources and biodiversity conservation, Indigenous research (rights, health care and ageing), and food policy and food security, as well as Indigenous and human rights.

Miri works as a Senior Scientia Lecturer at UNSW Australia at the Social Policy Research Centre, and the Environment & Society Group in the Arts, Design and Architecture Faculty. She is also a Chief Investigator, alongside Prof. Daniel Robinson, on 'Indigenous knowledge futures: protecting and promoting Indigenous knowledge’, an Australian Research Council Discovery Project.

Ash Walker

A Dharawal/Dhurga man belonging to the La Perouse Aboriginal community in coastal Sydney, Ash Walker has worked as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, a corporate lawyer at Gilbert + Tobin and as Acting CEO of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council. Ash is also a Council Member at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor at the UTS Business School

Ash holds a Master in Business Administration (Distinction) from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales.

Learn about the Embedded First Nations Voice Region Shaper in the recently released Six Cities Region Discussion Paper.

Get involved

The Commission is committed to actively listening to First Nations peoples throughout the Region and City Plan development.  

If you are interested in participating in future events and conversations, please reach out to our Senior Engagement Manager – First Nations at engagement@gcc.nsw.gov.au

Youth Advisory Panel

Ensuring young people have a voice and shape the future of our Six Cities Region.

Draft Community Participation Plan

Our draft Community Participation Plan explains how the community can participate in planning processes.

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