Professor Peter Yu AM – Chairperson

Vice President First Nation, The Australian Nation University

Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome with over 40 years of practical experience and advocacy in Indigenous social, cultural and economic development, including negotiating the Federal Government’s response to the 1992 Mabo High Court judgement and the Yawuru Native Title claim with the Western Australian Government. Currently, Peter is the inaugural Vice-President of the First Nations Portfolio at the Australian National University, Deputy Chair of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Board member of Watertrust Australia Trustee of the Princes Trust Australia, Council Member of the JANA Sustainability Advisory and Chair of the Australian Advisory Group to Rio Tinto.

Professor Brian Schmidt AO – Opening Address

Vice Chancellor and President, The Australian National University

Professor Schmidt is one of Australia’s most eminent scientists. Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside many other academic awards and distinctions, Professor Schmidt spent most of his academic career as an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before starting his tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of ANU on 1 January 2016. Professor Schmidt makes a significant contribution to public debate through the media, and via his membership of bodies including the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council. Professor Schmidt received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989, and completed his Astronomy Master’s degree (1992) and PhD (1993) at Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

The Honourable Tanya Plibersek – Meeting Address

Minister for the Environment and Water

Tanya entered Federal Parliament as the Member for Sydney in 1998. Between December 2007 and September 2013, she served as Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Housing, Minister for Social Inclusion, Minister for Human Services and Minister for Health and Medical Research and served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and of the Labor Party from 2013 to 2019. Tanya has a Bachelor of Communications (Hon) from the University of Technology Sydney and a Master of Politics and Public Policy from Macquarie University. She is passionate about protecting and preserving Australia’s natural environments for future generations.

Dr Josie Douglas

Executive Director of Policy and Governance at the Central Land Council, Northern Territory

Josie is a Wardaman woman based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). As well as work experiences with community-controlled organisations, Josie has extensive experience in policy and governance and has held executive management positions at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. She has also held senior research positions at CSIRO and Charles Darwin University. In 2017, she was awarded the W.H. Stanner Award for her PhD research on young people and intergenerational transmission and acquisition of ecological knowledge.

Dr Leslie ‘Phil’ Duncan

Adjunct Industry Fellow with the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University and member of the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) board

Phil is a Gomeroi man and an elected representative of the Gomeroi Nation Native Title Claimant Group with more than 38 years’ experience working with Indigenous people, communities and government. He was the first Indigenous Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, and first Indigenous Board member of the NSW Natural Resource Access Regulator. He is a member of Watertrust Australia, a National Indigenous Executive of Australian Freshwater Science Society, and a RAP Indigenous Advisory Council Member for LION Pty Ltd. For his services to Indigenous research, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University.

Click here to view Dr Leslie ‘Phil’ Duncan’s presentation.

Professor Deborah McGregor – Keynote

York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Deborah is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, cross-appointed with Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environment and Urban Change at York University. She is at the forefront of Indigenous environmental justice research as well as Indigenous research theory and practice. Deborah’s work has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, climate justice, and Indigenous research theory and methodologies.

Click here to watch Professor Deborah McGregor’s presentation video.

Mr Dana Tizya-Tramm

Director Arctic Circle Strategies, Canada

Dana has served the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) and the Gwich’in Nation for over six years as a council member and four years as Chief. During this time, Dana has defended the Peel Watershed Land Use Planning provisions, which protects over 77,000 km2 of contiguous land as decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. Dana has also challenged the Trump administration in 2017 to protect the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Dana has also co-chaired the Gwich’in Council International (GCI) and led the GCI on the Sustainable Development Working Group for the Arctic Council. As Chief, VGFN passed the internationally recognized climate declaration Yeendoo Diinehdoo Ji’heezrit Nits’oo Ts’o’ Nan He’aa (After our time how will the world be?) declaration, which inspired other international declarations and was the first in Canada by a modern treaty first nation. After leading a complete reorganization and modernization of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government, Dana then took up office as a TIME 100 Next rising international leader, Clean 50 Emerging Leader, and Up Here Magazine’s Northerner of the Year and continues addressing inter-governmental challenges across Canada, the cultural schism between first nations and non-first nations, and conflict in the modernization and cultural revitalization faced by indigenous peoples in modern society today. He is also the Chair of the First Nation School Board and the Director of Arctic Circle Strategies, where Dana is shaping a new generation of leaders.

Click here to watch Mr Dana Tizya-Tramn’s presentation video.

Mr Paul Girrawah House – Welcome to Country

Senior Community Engagement Officer, First Nations Portfolio, The Australian Nation University

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallaballooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups. Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ – Murrjinille. Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge. Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU. Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.