New Chair and Deputy

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New Larrakia Nation leaders

At the recent AGM Richard Fejo announced he wouldn’t renominate for the LNAC Board and would step down as the Chairperson, a role which he’s been in for four years. We are pleased to announce Jerome Cubillo has taken over as the Chairperson and Wayne Kurnorth as Deputy.

“Richard has been such an amazing advocate for LNAC and has worked hard to make Larrakia Country feel like home for all of those who live in Darwin. He’s been selfless in the way he gives of his time and energy to everyone. I am nervous but also very excited to step into the role because of the big shoes that Richard has left behind” said Jerome at a handover ceremony today.

Richard has made no secret of his desire to see a new generation of Larrakia leaders emerge. “Our new board can lead us into a more prominent tomorrow” he said in the LNAC Annual Report. “They are younger, have skill and knowledge and better business minds. They have the energy and drive we need to keep going and growing”.

A new generation of leaders 

Jerome has been on the board since 2019 and in the Deputy Chairperson role for almost 12 months and has been under Richard’s guidance and support to get ready to take on the Chairperson role. “He’s always had a real willingness to see young people to learn, develop and grow. Since I joined the board it’s been evident that Richard wanted to find young Larrakia people to come on board and start to learn about good governance and how we can support the nation to continue to thrive and grow” said Jerome.

Wayne Kurnorth has a great deal of experience with the LNAC and was on the board during the difficult decision to go into administration and during the rebuilding of LNAC while in administration in 2017 and 2018. “That was a time of learning from the ORIC appointed CEO Robert Cooper, Richard as Chair, and the independent board members. We set the strategy for Larrakia Nation and worked towards where we are now” said Wayne.

More for members in the future 

Both Jerome and Wayne agree that LNAC is now ready to focus more on the needs of its members. “The Nation had to focused on building itself back up through the programs and services that have been provided to the broader Darwin region to bring in new funding opportunities and to create jobs for Larrakia and Aboriginal people. While we will continue to deliver those services, we can shift our focus and give back to Larrakia members which I am really excited about” said Jerome. “We know that members want more events and activities that focus on Larrakia people, so I am really looking forward to delivering more community events that gives back to our members” he said.

Wayne said there is more space in the organisation to begin to explore what members want and what is feasible for the organisation. “We are ready to look at what programs we can run for the benefit of Larrakia people and also what programs can be run for the benefit of the Darwin and Palmerston community. I believe we need to maintain the community based programs, but now we can expand and shift our focus back on Larrakia and how we can use Larrakia Nation to support our people”.

A strong board sets LNAC is a good position 

Jerome says he is really excited about working with the board. “We have some new faces who bring fresh eyes and energy, and we have the experience of returning faces. Deputy Chairperson Wayne Kurnorth has been on the board before and brings experience as does Bilawara Lee who has come back, and Carol Quill who has renewed her term. James Parfitt is a new face, as is Steven Dawson who works as a Larrakia Land and Sea Ranger and is a young up and coming leader. We have a couple of really solid independents in Naomi Anstess and Garrett Smith. It is a great board and a really exciting time for Larrakia Nation”.

The past has paved the way for the future

“I want to acknowledge the hard work done to set the foundation of Larrakia Nation today” said Jerome. “Previous boards brought us through a dark period for Larrakia Nation where there was disfunction and disunity in the community and amongst our members, but the Nation’s previous Board and its staff have worked hard to bring back the rise of Larrakia. That is testament to individuals such as Richard and previous board members who have given our external stakeholders confidence that Larrakia is back

“We’ve seen more unity and harmony amongst our members, and we are a lot stronger when we are working together. There are some exciting things on the horizon like the Larrakia Cultural Centre where we can deliver language programs and show our art, culture and history in the one centre which is going to be amazing for future generations”.