Ms Andrea Mason OAM
Ms Mason is a visionary leader with many accolades to her name including 2016 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, 2017 Northern Territory Australian of the Year and in the same year, Alice Springs Centralian Citizen of the Year.
A Ngaanyatjarra and Karonie Australian woman from Western Australia, Ms Mason has built a reputation and career grounded in deep respect for the voice and collective determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She is driven to shine a light on the challenges that communities face and to elevate solutions from within these places, just as she did co-chairing the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council from 2017-2019, where she advised on key policy areas including the Closing the Gap Refresh.
During her renowned career, Ms Mason has worked in Indigenous Affairs in both the public and community sector, working in a variety of roles from executive through to support. Her biggest career highlight so far has been working with the women of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) region in central Australia, as CEO of NPY Women's Council.
As CEO from 2009-2019, she saw first-hand a service, support, advocacy and influencer model designed by those living with disability, as well as supporting their family members. She saw family members and people with disability using their voice to ensure services met their needs, as well as how advocacy can be used by members to raise issues, keep systems accountable and navigate governments and institutions.
Ms Mason feels strongly that the principle of truth telling, made known through the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017, can offer other Australians who are seeking to be heard a way to harness change. Bringing stories from the fringe to the centre, is one way the nation can be held to account and to inspire change.
During her life, Ms Mason has experienced discrimination, racism, affirmation action, special measures and positive discrimination. She has also experienced the ordinary rights of being an Australian Citizen. It is through these experiences that she has seen the enabling power of listening with an intent and how to see a world beyond ambivalence and inaction.
As a Commissioner, Ms Mason will listen deeply to people with disability and their families as they share their stories concerning violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, including members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.