A proud Yindjibarndi woman from Western Australia's Pilbara region has become the most senior Indigenous person in the Australian Public Service.
Ms Jody Broun has been appointed by the federal government as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).
The agency is responsible for implementing government policies and programs designed to improve the lives of Indigenous people across the nation and works directly to support Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt.
Ms Broun said she felt "enormously privileged" to be appointed, and expressed her desire to build on the work the organisation had already completed, and is committed to working with communities in a "genuine partnership".
"I’m particularly looking forward to working in partnership with the Coalition of Peaks and all Aboriginal community-controlled organisations on the implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the Commonwealth’s Implementation Plan," Ms Broun said.
Ms Broun paid tribute to prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have inspired her, such as Lowitja O’Donohue, the first ATSIC Chairperson, and Sonja Stewart, the first Aboriginal CEO of the New South Wales Law Society.
"[They] led and paved the way, and others who are doing that right now...I think we all do this because we are committed to our mob and to better outcomes."
In announcing the appointment, Minister Wyatt described Ms Broun as a highly respected public servant who is passionate about driving positive change in Indigenous communities.
“Ms Broun will bring a wealth of experience across housing, health, education, justice, land and culture, and most notably working through the intricacies of Commonwealth and State and Territory relations in a number of senior roles in different jurisdictions," he said,
"I am immensely proud that the National Indigenous Australians Agency will be led by an Indigenous woman of Ms Broun’s calibre," Mr Wyatt said.
Since its establishment in 2019, the NIAA has led a number of projects including the final report for the Indigenous Voice and the recently announced $316 million Ngurra Cultural Precinct in Canberra.
However, the organisation's credibility was challenged in early 2021 when it faced questions regarding deaths in custody and funding allocation during Senate Estimates, while headed by a non-Indigenous CEO, Ray Griggs.
Mr Wyatt said Ms Broun's appointment was a step in the right direction, praising her as an "accomplished and talented Aboriginal woman".
“With a national network to leverage, I am confident she is the right person to deliver on the Government’s objectives to achieve the best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," he said.
The new appointment will mark Ms Broun's departure from her current roles within the New South Wales government as the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Housing Office and Group Deputy Secretary of Aboriginal Strategy and Outcomes with the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment.
Ms Broun will start her five year term with the NIAA on February 14.