Aarnja’s delighted to welcome our new CEO, Maureen O’Meara. Maureen brings to Aarnja a true commitment to empowering Aboriginal people and communities to design their own future aspirations and goals.
She worked for the Kimberley Land Council at the time of the Crocodile Hole Report and was profoundly moved by the recommendations and the principles set out in this report, which included calls for greater Aboriginal representation, advocacy of Aboriginal rights and concerns, and community empowerment. Maureen says these aspirations, set out by senior Traditional Owners, are being realised through Aarnja’s work.
‘In the early days, the elders set out principles around self-empowerment and self-governance, and these really made sense to me. Now, all these years later we have Empowered Communities, which is about giving power back to Aboriginal people so we can make decisions for ourselves. I’m proud to be a part of this in my new role with Aarnja,’ Maureen says.
Maureen has a wealth of experience. She’s worked for the Department of Health in Western Australia and the Department of Health and Communities in the Northern Territory, where she was part of ground-breaking reforms. She’s served as the regional co-ordinator in both the East and West Kimberley for the Department of Housing and the chief executive of Emama Nguda Aboriginal Corporation. At a board level, Maureen is a director of the Bardi and Jawi Niimidiman Aboriginal Corporation and serves as director and chair of Aboriginal Housing—Community Housing Limited.
She’s looking forward to the challenge of ensuring that Aarnja and Empowered Communities are operating on a high strategic level, rather than a project-driven level. In the next six months, the biggest job will be assessing the organisations that have received IAS grant funding and measuring the effectiveness of their projects in the community to ensure that the funding is properly addressing community needs.
We’re thrilled to have Maureen onboard!