MDAS welcomes new Board members

A full complement of Board members in place

North-west Victoria’s key Aboriginal health service now has a full complement of Board members to guide it through its ongoing reform agenda.
The Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) has drawn upon the skills and knowledge of local community members to appoint nine Board members, as follows:
• Damien Murray (Chairperson) (Kerang) – 3 year term
• Jenene Murray (Deputy Chairperson) (Mildura) – 3 year term
• Vicki Clark (Swan Hill) – 3 year term
• Steven Hancock (Kerang) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM)
• Debra Chaplin (Swan Hill) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 AGM
• Sharon Johnson (Mildura) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 AGM
• Shantelle Thompson (OAM) (Mildura) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 AGM
• Thelma Chilly (Robinvale) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 AGM
• Jemmes Handy (Mildura) – casual vacancy to the November 2021 AGM
“We have a strong Board of directors that is energised and passionate about self-determination and representing the breadth, diversity and strengths of all the local Aboriginal communities we serve,” MDAS Board Chair Damien Murray said.
“We welcome our new directors and look forward to our Board working strongly together, across our Mallee communities, to ensure MDAS provides the services our Mobs deserve.”
The appointment of a full contingent of MDAS Board members comes as the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) concludes its contract with MDAS, which focused on the implementation of a major reform project over nine months. Reforms implemented include a membership drive, a successful AGM with a competitive election for the Board, the recruitment of a new CEO, and a new constitution for MDAS. Work has also been undertaken to significantly strengthened controls for finances, assets and operations.
VACCHO will continue to work in partnership with MDAS in the future.
The current MDAS Board will continue to work together in its current composition until the MDAS Annual General Meeting in November, 2021, when routine Board Member renewal will take place in line with the MDAS constitution.
Pictured: MDAS Chairman Damien Murray
Board member profiles
Damien Murray (Chairperson) (Kerang)
Damien has lived in Kerang for approximately 43 years and represented Kerang in different pursuits including football, cricket, golf, lawn bowls and basketball. Damien has spent most of his working life serving the Kerang and Swan Hill Communities, but is passionate about the welfare of Aboriginal Communities across the Mallee.
Jenene Murray (OAM) (Deputy Chairperson) (Mildura)
Jenene is a proud Wiradjuri woman from central New South Wales who has worked and lived in this community for 26 years. Jenene has an extensive working knowledge of the education sector and has been employed in this field for over 25 years. Jenene is currently employed as the Koorie Education Coordinator for the NWVR Mallee area.
Vicki Clark (Swan Hill)
As a professional Aboriginal woman, I believe in self-determination that empowers Aboriginal organisations and communities to strive for a fair and just service into homes for all families. My appointments through my professional career are diverse and ones which has held high responsibility and consideration of many complex needs from a community perspective.
Steven Hancock (Kerang)
Steven was born in Tamworth, New South Wales, but has lived in Kerang, Victoria, for more than 40 years. He’s passionate about the local community and is a keen lawn bowls competitor, having held numerous leadership positions within the sport. He is proud to serve on the MDAS Board.
Debra Chaplin (Swan Hill)
Debra has been an active member of her community for many years, and worked in many areas on different levels. She bases her decisions on passed lived experience and mistakes, always for the betterment of her culture and community. Debra regards her greatest achievement as her children and grandchildren, as walks in her mother’s footsteps as a proud Aboriginal woman.
Sharon Johnson (Mildura)
Sharon is a proud Senior Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHW/AHP) of 26 years and is registered with AHPRA.  Sharon grew up in Melton, Victoria until the age of 15 when her parents moved back to Charleville, Queensland. She lived and worked in the Northern Territory for the 20 years before moving to Mildura with her family in 2019. Sharon works across many fields but is also on the Mildura Council Aboriginal Action Committee (AAC), the Mallee Regional Partnership Group, and is the first Aboriginal person to be appointed by the Health Minster on to the Mildura Base Public Hospital Board.
Thelma Chilly (Robinvale)
Thelma Chilly is a proud Aboriginal woman who has ties to the Wiradjuri, Muthi Muthi, Wemba Wemba and Yorta Yorta nations. Born in Robinvale, Thelma has worked with Aboriginal communities in the Mallee for more than 33 years and is a strong advocate for our Koori Community. Thelma was placed on the 2010 Women’s Honour Roll and was a finalist in the Dreamtime Awards in 2018.  Thelma has a strong knowledge/ background in family violence prevention and has now worked for State Government for almost 14 years. Thelma is qualified in Community Development and Planning from Swinburne University and is currently responsible for the Local Aboriginal Networks in the Mallee.  Thelma remains passionate about her communities.
Shantelle Thompson (OAM) (Mildura)
Shantelle Thompson is a proud Barkindji and Ngyampaa woman, three-time jiu-jitsu world champion, and mother of five, who was recently awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for services to the Indigenous community of Victoria. Shantelle is strongly connected and committed to her community, and is proud to join the MDAS Board. Shantelle combines and brings her lived, learned and earned experiences to everything she does. She is speaker, mentor and the founder of Kiilalaana.
Jemmes Handy (Mildura)
Jemmes Handy is well known for her work in health and justice services in the Mildura region over the past 30 years, where she has helped to develop culturally appropriate policing and health services. Jemmes has worked in the education sector on both sides of the river and has also been a volunteer on the Aboriginal Community Justice Panel. She has received numerous high-profile awards for her contribution to Indigenous communities in Victoria, including a Public Service Medal.

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MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: "Self-determined, healthy, robust and culturally strong Aboriginal communities across the Mallee region."

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120 Madden Avenue Mildura
Phone (03) 5018 4100

70 Nyah Road Swan Hill
Phone (03) 5032 8600

9 Nolan Street Kerang
Phone (03) 5412 6004

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