The City's advisory panel

The City's advisory panel

Information and advice

Council appointed the first City of Sydney Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel on 15 December 2008. Made up of community and industry professionals, the panel's members are from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and live or work in the local area.

Each member brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the table.

The panel provides advice on matters of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It also reviews City of Sydney policies and protocols and makes a positive contribution to the organisation's relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, groups and leaders.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel meets 6 times a year.

2013/14 panel

In 2012 the City called for nominations and recently announced the members of the next Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel.

Meeting updates

Meeting notes on the information discussed at panel meetings is available online.


For more information about the City's advisory panel, please contact the coordinator:

Aboriginal Community Development Officer
02 9265 9333

Patricia Adjei

Patricia Adjei is a Torres Strait Islander and Ghanian woman from Sydney. Patricia has Bachelors of Arts and Law from UNSW. Trish currently works at the Copyright Agency and Viscopy as the Indigenous Communications Coordinator and legal officer. During 2010, Trish worked at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva as the 2010 Indigenous Intellectual Property Law Fellow. This position provided valuable insight into the traditional knowledge division’s work that is being done as the Secretariat for the international normative process on the draft international instruments on Traditional knowledge. Prior to that, Patricia worked at the Arts Law Centre of Australia from 2006-2009.

Lindon Coombes

Lindon Coombes is a proud Aboriginal man whose family comes from Brewarrina in north west NSW. He has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over a decade in a range of positions in the NSW Government covering a range of areas such as culture and heritage, natural resource management, education, prevention of child sexual abuse and oversight of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council system. He has worked for ATSIC and has spent a number of years as Senior Advisor to successive Ministers holding the NSW Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.  He was previously the CEO of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal education provider - Tranby Aboriginal College in Glebe and is now the CEO of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and Co-Chair of Weave Youth, Family and Community Services based in Waterloo.

Tracey Duncan

Tracey Duncan is a proud Gamilaroi woman who has lived in and worked in the Sydney community for the past 18 years. Tracey worked for the City of Sydney for seven years as Cultural Development Officer at Redfern Community Centre followed by tenure as Aboriginal Community Development Officer. She currently works as the Aboriginal Project Officer with the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW. Her background is in the visual arts and she feels she can make a positive contribution to the work of the Eora Journey.

Merindah Donnelly

Merindah Donnelly is a Wiradjuri woman from the Gamillaroi community in Tingha. At 14 years of age she moved to Sydney to pursue a professional career in classical ballet. Merindah succeeded in attaining one of the highest internationally recognised dance qualifications with the Royal Academy of Dancing. She has sought to become an effective spokesperson and ambassador for human rights attending international conferences on Indigenous people's rights, self-determination, social justice and climate change, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Merindah currently works as the Indigenous program officer for the Australia Council for the Arts.

Kathryn Farrawell

Kathryn Farrawell has lived in Glebe with her husband Darrell and 3 children for about 30 years, after moving from Rockhampton, Queensland. Kathryn's grandmother Ruby was a Kaarnju woman from Cape York, and her father Reginald Dodd was a Biri man from north Queensland. Her grandmother, father and mother Katie, were detained on Yarrabah, Palm Island Mission, and Woorabinda Reserve under the Queensland Aboriginal Protection Act. Kathryn was an Aboriginal education assistant at Glebe Public School for 16 years and is an accomplished artist, who was a finalist in the 2009 Dobell Art Prize for drawing. She also loves to be involved in community art projects.

Norma Ingram

Norma Ingram is a Wiradjuri woman from Cowra NSW and has lived most of her life in the inner city Redfern. She has worked across all sectors in various employment situations and at Senior Management and lecturing positions at the NSW Premiers Department and Cabinet, Redfern Waterloo Authority; QANTAS, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), TAFE and a number of Aboriginal organisations. She is currently the Aboriginal Coordinator for TAFE NSW Eora and Ultimo Campuses. Norma has a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University, a Diploma in Education, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. She believes that education and a healthy lifestyle is vital for Aboriginal people if they are to have a positive future. She has developed and implemented a program which focuses on developing skills and a healthy lifestyle to assist Aboriginal women in gaining meaningful employment or business focus. This program has been implemented within the Aboriginal communities as well as TAFE. Norma is involved in community programs and is a great networker. She uses every occasion to share her culture with others. As a well respected Elder in the Aboriginal community, Norma delivers Welcome to Country and believes that it is also an important part of Aboriginal Reconciliation and a way of educating people about Aboriginal issues. Norma is the Chairperson of the Wyanga Aboriginal Elders Program. Working with Elders continues to remind Norma that their stories are vital to the continuation of Aboriginal culture and must be passed on, particularly to the younger generation.

Lachlan McDaniel

Lachlan McDaniel is a Wiradjuri man who grew up in South-West Sydney. He attended Macquarie University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. During his studies, he attended the University of Calgary in Canada where he spent 6 months studying Canadian Indigenous Studies, History and the Treaty system. More recently, Lachlan pursued his interest in Indigenous self-governance by spending January of 2013 at the University of Arizona studying a Continuing Education Certificate in Indigenous Studies. Following graduation, Lachlan worked as an Indigenous Student Support Officer in the Tertiary Education sector before moving to Recognise, the people’s movement for Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

Christopher Lawrence

Chris Lawrence, a keen marathon runner, from the Noongar people and originally from Perth, has a Masters in Applied Epidemiology from the Australian National University, and has been previously recognised with an Australian-American Fulbright Scholarship (2008-09), a European Educational Program in Epidemiology, a Career Development Award (Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW) and a National Health & Medical Research Council Capacity Building Grant. He has previously worked with the Congress (NT), Redfern (NSW) and Derbarl Yerrigan (WA) Aboriginal Medical Services. Chris is currently a Research Fellow with The George Institute for Global Health and is enrolled in a PhD at the University of Sydney. Chris's PhD focuses on health research among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples exploring ways to improve their health and wellbeing; and to find long term practical ways by using good nutrition, a balanced diet and regular exercise to reduce onset of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Mayrah Sonter

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Mayrah Sonter is a communication specialist with over 10 years’ experience across a range of roles. Mayrah is an accomplished producer across TV, Radio and Events and has an extensive background in media. Mayrah began her education at Redfern Public School where she was a school captain before completing her secondary education at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney. Mayrah has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Communications) and is currently completing a Masters of Journalism through the University of Technology, Sydney. Mayrah now works at Vibe Australia as the Head of Events where she has worked on the Vibe 3on3 Basketball and Hip Hop Challenge, the Vibe Alive festivals, the Deadly Awards, the Inaugural City of Sydney NAIDOC event and the Healing Foundation’s 5th Anniversary of the Apology. Most recently, Mayrah has been the field producer for series 3 of Move It Mob Style and is also a Director at the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). Mayrah is very passionate about giving back to the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and will bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the panel.

Liza-Mare Syron

Liza-Mare is a descendent from the Birripi people of Tuncurry northern NSW. A Graduate of the Victorian College of Arts (Acting). Liza-Mare is a founding member of Mooghalin Performing Arts, an Aboriginal Sydney based company. Liza-Mare worked for many years in education and training in the arts as performing arts coordinator at the Eora Centre for Visual and performing arts in Redfern. Liza-Mare is currently the Senior Aboriginal Cultural Development Officer at Arts NSW. Her other qualifications include: Doctor of Arts (USyd), Master of Creative Arts Research (UOW); Master of Adult Education (UTS); and Certificate in Playwriting (NIDA). Liza-Mare is widely published in the areas of actor training; Indigenous theatre practice; inter-cultural performance; theatre and community development; and arts in the community. Liza-Mare has received the following awards: the Marlis Thiersch Prize for excellence in English-language articles in the broad field of drama, theatre and performance studies; the Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies (ADSA) 2010; the Phillip Parsons Prize, for Performance as Research (ADSA) 2005. Excellent Service to Public Education and Training award 2005 (NSW Department of Education and Training); Australia Day Award for Community Event of the Year 1998; The Mary’s Place Project (South Sydney Council).

Last updated: Monday, 22 December 2014