New AHO Board members and Chair appointed

Share this

The AHO welcomes the appointment of two (2) new Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) Board members, Kim Whiteley and Yvonne Weldon AM who will join the existing Board members whose terms have been renewed.  

The AHO also welcomes the appointment of existing AHO Board member, Damien Barnes, as Chair of the AHO Board.

The AHO is governed by a Board of Aboriginal members who provide advice to the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, The Hon. Rose Jackson MLC, on Aboriginal housing issues in NSW.

Following the appointment of Damien Barnes as Chair, Beverley Manton – who has been acting in the Chair role – reverts to her previous role as AHO Board member. The AHO thanks Aunty Beverly Manton, our longest-serving Board member and Elder in Residence, for acting in the Chair position.

Click here to read more about the AHO Board and its members.

Damien Barnes – AHO Chair


Damien Barnes AHO Chair


Damien has been appointed as Chair of the AHO having served as an AHO Board member since 2015.  

He is the founder and Managing Director of YIMBA Legal & Consulting. He is the Chair of Westpac’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, a Member of Westpac’s Stakeholder Advisory Council, a Director of Supply Nation, Chair of Nguluway DesignInc Pty Ltd and an Australian Representative on the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA) Partnership Council. He has been a Director of The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, a Member of the NSW Law Society Indigenous Issues Committee and a founding Member of Ngalaya Indigenous Lawyers Association.

Damien has more than 30 years’ experience in law, commercial management and engineering, providing advice on a range of areas including; infrastructure, construction, transport, energy and resources, renewables, environment and planning, Indigenous Business, land access, native title, cultural heritage, RAPs, ESG and dispute resolution. His employment experience includes; King & Wood Mallesons, DLA Piper, UGL, McDermott CBI, O’Donnell Griffin, Power Minerals, NTSCorp and local and state government.  
Damien is a Bidjara man from the Carnarvon Ranges in central Queensland with family connections to Woorabinda QLD. He provides extensive pro bono assistance to Indigenous communities and organisations. He holds an Executive MBA, a Law Degree, a Civil Engineering Degree and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Leadership.

Yvonne Weldon AM – AHO Board member


Yvonne Weldon

Yvonne is a proud Wiradjuri woman. She was born and raised in the inner city of Sydney but maintains strong ties to her homelands of Cowra and the Riverina areas of New South Wales.

Yvonne Weldon is an independent Councillor for the City of Sydney and the first Aboriginal Councillor in the City's 180-year history.   
Yvonne has a strong commitment to housing and ensuring that stable, suitable and sustainable housing options are not only planned for but are delivered and are available. A robust housing sector is pivotal to ensuring that housing options for Aboriginal people are addressed with real tangible investment and outcomes.  

From a young age Yvonne developed a strong passion and commitment to bringing about positive change for Aboriginal people and communities. A life-long activist, Yvonne has 30 plus years' experience working in key government and Aboriginal organisations driving positive reform in land rights, justice, health, education, and child protection.  

Yvonne served 13 years on the Board of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, is Deputy Chair of the NSW Australia Day Council, a Board member of Domestic Violence NSW and the Aboriginal Women & Children’s Crisis Service. 
She was awarded the 2022 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year and in 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Adult Volunteer for the South Sydney Region. Yvonne was awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to the Indigenous community of New South Wales in the 2022 Queens Birthday Honours List.  Yvonne is a published author and proud mother and grandmother.

Kim Whiteley – AHO Board member


Kim Whiteley is a distinguished Indigenous leader, renowned for her impactful contributions and strategic vision. Born in Wellington on Wiradjuri country and a descendent of the Warramunga clan group families from the Bogan River in Central West NSW, Kim has dedicated her career to advancing the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

With a wealth of experience from grass-roots service delivery to Strategic executive leadership in corporate policy formulation and organisational strategy, Kim has navigated complexities related to rural, remote, and regional service delivery with a focus on addressing disparities and improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Her extensive portfolio spans across healthcare, workforce, education, justice and Aboriginal Land Rights, reflecting a holistic breadth of commitment to First Nation well-being.

Currently serving as the leader at the helm of Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC), an Indigenous Health Workforce program and subsidiary of global entity Aspen Medical, Kim advocates for community-centred solutions to fortify sustained outcomes. Her leadership is characterised by a results-oriented approach, emphasising collaboration, both strategic planning and engagement, and empowering others through the concept of self-determination for optimal success.

In addition to her strategic acumen, Kim's visionary approach and culturally-informed leadership extend to directorships and governance at local, state, and national levels. She was elected as the inaugural Co-Chair for the Department of Health, Agency of Clinical Innovation Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Network. Kim served as a former Commonwealth NSW/ACT PHN Aboriginal Network Chair and on various local and regional hospital boards and has represented NSW Department of Communities and Justice Aboriginal staff throughout her esteemed career.

Beyond her professional achievements, Kim is revered for her unwavering dedication to enhancing Aboriginal community controlled strategy and empowering others. Her visionary leadership continues to drive positive change, making her a pivotal figure in the pursuit of equitable outcomes and community well-being. Kim Whiteley exemplifies excellence in Indigenous leadership, seamlessly combining strategic expertise with a profound commitment to cultural sensitivity and the betterment of Aboriginal people and communities.

AHO Board Members

From 11 December 2023, the AHO Board consists of:

Damien Barnes (Chair)
Steven Adams
Joshua Gilbert
Suzanne Ingram
Craig Kerslake
Beverley Manton
Craig Taylor
Yvonne Weldon
Kim Whiteley

About the AHO


The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) is a statutory body established under the Aboriginal Housing Act 1998 (NSW) to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to affordable, quality housing.

Find out more about the AHO.

Share this
  • acknowledge

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work and pay our respects to the Elders, both past and present.

Apology to the Stolen Generations