The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) Board advises the Minister for Planning, and Minister for Homes on policies and strategic direction and has defined responsibilities.
The AHO Board currently comprises nine members, including the Chairperson and the AHO Chief Executive (CE) who is an ex-officio member. The Board's primary role is to determine AHO policies – that the Minister ultimately approves – which enable the AHO, as part of DPIE, to implement and deliver accessible, affordable and quality housing strategies that meet the social and cultural requirements of Aboriginal people in NSW.
The Aboriginal Housing Office is subject to the control and direction of the Minister. In setting our strategic policy and direction, the AHO is assisted by an all-Aboriginal Board that advises the Minister on Aboriginal housing issues in NSW.
The Board's objectives are to:
- provide advice to governments about adequate housing
- advocate housing related matters on behalf of the Aboriginal community of NSW
- provide strategic direction for sustainable quality housing for Aboriginal people in NSW
- develop strategic alliances with key stakeholders, in particular, the Aboriginal community, government and non-government agencies
- review the AHO's performance against strategic plans and directions
- develop and uphold a culturally appropriate, professional and mutually respectful working relationship between the Board, the Executive and staff of the AHO
- develop and uphold a professional and mutually respectful AHO governance model embracing the role and responsibilities of Regional Aboriginal Housing Committees (RAHC)
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.
Beverley Manton is the longest serving AHO Board member and is a proud Worimi woman who is passionate about Aboriginal Community Development, Indigenous Rights and working to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
Beverley has worked in the NSW public service for more than 10 years as a Senior Officer Grade C in the NSW Department of Employment, Education and Training, where she was Manager of Aboriginal Programs across the mid north coast and western NSW.
Beverley held the position of Chair of the NSWALC for 5yrs and was the elected Counsellor for Mid North Coast Region for the Aboriginal Land Council, and was the NSWALC representative at United Nations, working to advance national and international Aboriginal rights. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council.
On two occasions Bev presented papers to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, addressing issues affecting Australia's First Nations People, and fishing, land and water rights.
She was an appointed to the Prime Minister’s Council for Homelessness in 2010 for the Gillard Government.
Beverley has also served on the following Boards: the Westpac Aboriginal Advisory Board, NAB Indigenous Advisory Group, including their Reconciliation Action Plan, the Geographical Names Board NSW, the Red Cross Aboriginal Advisory Council, the Ministerial Advisory Panel for Child Sexual Assault and the Worimi Conservation Lands National Park Board.
She was also finalist in NSW Woman of the Year in 2008.
The New South Wales Government appointed Beverley Manton as the Elder in Residence in her capacity as a Board Member to the Aboriginal Housing Office in 2022. This honorary and historic title has been bestowed in recognition of Aunty Bev’s long term service to the AHO and Aboriginal communities across NSW and her high level involvement at the State, Federal and International government levels.
Steven is a proud Kamilaroi man and Hunter based business owner with a background in engineering, construction, defence industry, vocational education, health and community enterprises and currently also serves on the Boards of WentWest PHN, Hunter Primary care and President of Itji-Marru Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.
Steven was a founding director of the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and has served on numerous Boards, Committees and Ministerial Taskforces over the past 20 years. Steven ensures that Aboriginal perspective and input are included at the highest level of governance and decision making, and brings an understanding and working knowledge of State and Federal reforms and agendas.
Joshua Gilbert is a Worimi man from Gloucester who has worked as the Director, KU Children’s Services and a Senior Manager at PWC’s Indigenous Consulting part of the business.
Joshua has been involved in a range of community and government projects, including the development of business plans for Aboriginal businesses in the native food sector.
He has met with Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Local Councils and Traditional Owner groups to gain free, prior informed consent for the potential national heritage listing of over 5,500 rock art sites across the East Coast of NSW.
He is currently Student, Charles Sturt University and is also a qualified Accountant.
Suzanne Ingram is a woman of the Wiradjuri nation and is the Honorary Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health.
As a researcher, Suzanne's focus is on health communications and builds on an extensive background in communications practice and Aboriginal heritage research. She is interested in how health research data is returned to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Her experience brings to the AHO perspectives on the link between health and housing. Suzanne currently serves on the Board of the Black Theatre Company and Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Corporation, conducts advocacy for the Redfern Aboriginal Women’s Alliance (RAWA) and is a member of the Lowitja Institute Research Program Committee for Community Capability and the Social Determinants of Health.
Craig is a Sydney based architect and a proud Wiradjuri man with more than 20 years of experience across a diverse range of architectural sectors.
As a professional, Craig draws upon his cultural heritage, community and knowledge of what Aboriginal people often refer to as “Country”. Within a team setting, he brings this forth to inform spatial planning and architectural form with unique expression that finds resonance with all Australians. His cultural overlays often draw design thinking to the unexpected and provide positive outcomes focused on Aboriginal centred qualities, spatial unity and considered scales of social engagement.
His primary focus as a board member is to advise on sustainable outcomes for Australia’s First Nations People.
As a Wiradjuri Architect he is a passionate social advocate for the wellbeing of First Australians and seeks the realisation of culturally appropriate solutions that “Come from Country”. He is also a firm believer that design excellence for Aboriginal people could be achieved with the decolonisation of thinking and the revitalisation of contemporary Aboriginal design narratives.
Craig Taylor is a proud Wiradjuri man who has worked in the NSW Department of Education as a Senior Education Officer and Health and Safety Advisor and as the Chair of Albury Wodonga Health Service.
As Chair of AWAHS for the past 15 years and founding Board Director, Craig has played a significant role in expanding the operational capacity of health services for Aboriginal people and creating new services.
Craig is focused on ensuring Aboriginal people have access to culturally appropriate health services, with the goal of creating sustainable generational health outcomes.
I have a strong back ground in risk management and strategic governance and planning with over 20 years working in government and non-government roles.
Yvonne Weldon AM
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 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.