Release type: Joint Media Release


Celebrating Outstanding Indigenous Academics and Staff


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

Outstanding indigenous scholars and staff are meeting in Canberra this week at an event that celebrates indigenous participation in higher education and help to improve participation levels.

 To begin the week’s events, eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were presented with Indigenous Staff Scholarships of up to $38,000 at an Indigenous Higher Education awards ceremony last night.

 Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the scholarships are part of the Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education.

 Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fraser, presented the Indigenous Staff Scholarships on behalf of Senator Evans at the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council dinner last night.

 The Indigenous Staff Scholarships were presented to:

  • Ann-Maree Hammond from the University of Southern Queensland;
  • Mr Luke Halvorsen from the Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle;
  • Ms Catherine Taylor and Mr Wayne Applebee from the University of Canberra;
  • Mr James Charles and Ms Elizabeth Cameron from the University of Newcastle;
  • Ms Cheree Dean from Charles Sturt University; and
  • Ms Jonelle Green from La Trobe University.

 Professor Steve Larkin, Chair of the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council, also announced the 2010 and 2011 Elders awards for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Elders who have made an outstanding contribution to the higher education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 The 2011 Elders awards were presented to:

  • Aunty Ruth Hegarty from the Australian Catholic University;
  • Aunty Rosmund Miriam Graham from Griffith University;
  • Aunty Joan Vickery from Monash University and University of Melbourne; and
  • Ms Rose Guywanga and Reverend Doctor Dinyini Gondarra from Charles Darwin University.

Waymamba Gaykamangu, a retired lecturer from Charles Darwin University, was presented with the 2010 Elders award.

 The Awards coincide with an IHEAC hosted forum of Indigenous PhD holders, being held at the Australian National University. Minister for Innovation Senator Kim Carr congratulated IHEAC on its initiative.

 “I appreciate the huge effort that has been made to assemble this eminent group of people,” Senator Carr said.

 The forum is exploring student experiences in gaining doctorates, research training and research careers. Participants are sharing ideas on how to improve university access and participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 “The Forum provides an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD holders, a unique group who have experienced the entire Higher Education system from start to finish, to share their experiences and help inform the Government’s review,” Senator Carr said.

Discussions will help inform the Australian Government’s Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. The review panel, chaired by Professor Larissa Behrendt, is due to report in early 2012.