First Nations Advisory Panel

The Six City Region is home to the world’s oldest living continuous culture.

An Aboriginal man and woman collaborate at a computer.

Aboriginal peoples from many nations have nurtured and protected these lands as their custodians for more than 65,000 years. The Commission actively listens to First Nations peoples throughout the development of the Six Cities Region Plan and City Plans. 

The Greater Cities Commission has a 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, the Greater Cities Commission First Nations Advisory Panel members help identify strategic issues in the planning system that work against First Nations peoples' aspirations and provide advice regarding system-level change to address those challenges.  

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

The First Nations Advisory Panel was established as an extension of our engagement program. If you are interested in being part of our engagement program, including opportunities for First Nations engagement, please contact us.

Meet our Panel members

Headshot of Steven Adams
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. 

Headshot of Elle Davidson
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. 

Headshot of Kristy Masella
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.

Headshot of Miri Raven
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. 

Headshot of Ash Walker
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. 

Children arrange shells into an artwork with a First Nations educator