2020 scholarship winners Belinda Coe (left) and Marshandra Naden.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders working in the local government sector are being encouraged to tap into study and professional development scholarship opportunities opening up this week.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott said the annual Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship provided up to $5000 annually for indigenous people to develop their careers in council.
“It is as important as ever to ensure we have a local government sector that represents the diversity of communities it serves,” Cr Scott – a Pat Dixon Trustee – said.
“We want to see more first nation Australians elected to council, as well as serving the community as staff.
“This scholarship is just one way to help people undertake studies and progress their careers in ways that are important to them. It is open to staff as well as elected councillors.”
The scholarship is named in recognition of the late Cr Pat Dixon, the first Aboriginal woman elected to council in Australia.
Cr Dixon had a distinguished career of community service, serving as deputy mayor of Armidale and vice-president of the NSW Local Government Association.
Family member and Pat Dixon Trustee member Warren Roberts said the scholarship was an ongoing way of honouring Cr Dixon’s years of community service through her involvement in local government.
“Aunty Pat worked tirelessly for her community and was passionate about giving Aboriginal people a voice through local government,” he said.
“This scholarship helps equip future generations to carry on that legacy.”
Local Government Aboriginal Network Chair and Trustee Dominic Wy Kanak encouraged eligible people to take advantage of the opportunity the scholarship provided to further their professional development and careers.
“There are a range of of career options through the local government sector that not only contribute to the Indigenous community but also are highly rewarding,” he said.
Pat Dixon Trustee Cr Dave Carter said previous recipients had used the scholarship as an opportunity to take on a leadership role and drive cultural change within their councils.
For more information, including the application process, please view the applicant information sheet.
Applications close 5 March.