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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Evaluation Committee members

Indigenous AffairsEvaluations and EvidenceIndigenous Evaluation Committee
Thursday, 28 April 2022
Publication author(s):
National Indigenous Australians Agency
Chair of the Committee - Mr Jason Ardler

Jason Ardler PSMMr Jason Ardler PSM is an Aboriginal man of the Yuin nation, with cultural ties to the NSW South Coast.

For 20 years, Jason held senior executive roles in the NSW public sector, including seven years as the Head of Aboriginal Affairs NSW, where he led government strategy and reform in Aboriginal economic participation, community governance, land rights, culture and heritage, community safety, environmental health and service accountability. Prior to joining Aboriginal Affairs NSW, Jason was Executive Director Culture and Heritage in the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Jason has been a member of numerous national and state level councils, executive committees and working groups on Aboriginal affairs, state and economic development, public land management, and social policy reform.  He is also an experienced board member, currently appointed to the NSW Health Pathology Board.

In 2018, Jason received the Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service. He is a Fellow of the Australian New Zealand School of Government and in 2019, was awarded the Sir James Wolfensohn Scholarship to undertake an executive leadership program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge. Jason holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of NSW and is a Global Alumni of the Commonwealth Study Conference. 

In May 2020, Jason co-founded Thirriwirri, a 100% Aboriginal-owned consultancy with the purpose of supporting Aboriginal communities and others to work differently, confidently and effectively together to achieve the social, cultural and economic aspirations of Aboriginal peoples. In November 2020, he was appointed to the role of Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Indigenous Strategy and Services at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Independent Member – Dr Fiona Cram

Dr Fiona CramDr Fiona Cram is an Ngāti Pahauwera woman from Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr Cram is a prominent Maori evaluator with expertise in Indigenous led research and evaluation.

Dr Cram has a PhD in social and developmental psychology from the University of Otago. She has lectured in Social Psychology and has also been a Senior Research Fellow within the International Research Institute of Māori and Indigenous Education at the University of Auckland. In the middle of 2003, Fiona established Katoa Ltd, which is a Māori Indigenous research organisations as well as offering a range of research and evaluation training.

Dr Cram’s research interests are wide-ranging including Māori health, justice, and education. The over-riding theme of Fiona's work is Kaupapa Māori (by Māori, for Māori). Fiona is Editor-in-Chief of the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) new evaluation journal, Evaluation Matters - He Take Tō Te Aromatawai, published by the NZCER.

​Deputy CEO for Policy and Programs - Julie-Ann Guivarra​

​Julie-Ann is a proud woman of Aboriginal and​ Torres Strait Islander descent.

Julie-Ann was previously the Group Manager of the Recognition and Empowerment Group at the NIAA. She led the coordination of the whole-of-government processes for the implementation of the Government’s commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart as it relates to the enshrinement of a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution, Truth Telling, International policy and the Empowered Communities program.

Before joining the NIAA in 2022, Julie-Ann worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). She served as Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality and was Australia’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, Andorra and Equatorial Guinea. In this role, Julie-Ann became Australia’s first female Indigenous Ambassador. 

​Julie-Ann has also been posted to New Delhi and Geneva. In addition, she has multilateral experience, serving as the Counsellor (Agriculture) in the World Trade Organisation and has published several articles on trade issues.

Associate Professor Michelle Dickson

Associate Professor Michelle DicksonAssociate Professor Michelle Dickson, Darkinjung/Ngarigo Aboriginal academic and Director of The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, a research flagship centre in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She lives and works on Gadigal land (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia). 

Associate Professor Dickson has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing service delivery and health professions education for over 30 years.  She was formerly Deputy Head of School of the Sydney School of Public Health and previous Academic Program Director of the Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion.  In 2021 the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) awarded her for contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Health. 

Associate Professor Dickson focuses on privileging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing in education, research, evaluation, health and wellness. Her research partnerships include First Nations researchers and communities nationally and internationally.

Mr Tony Kiessler

Tony KiesslerTony Kiessler is a Central Arrernte man, social researcher and evaluation consultant with a focus on health, human services and social inclusion. He has worked extensively in Australia, Asia and the Pacific on program design, implementation and evaluation over the past 20 years.

Tony is a current Board Member of the Australian Evaluation Society (AES) and member of the AES Indigenous culture and Diversity Committee. Tony also holds a range of representative and advisory roles aimed at increasing Indigenous leadership, developing Indigenous professionals and supporting emerging talent, particularly in evaluation.

He is affiliated ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and his social research focus is Indigenous participation, engagement and accountability. He is a passionate advocate for empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to lead on Indigenous policy creation, implementation and evaluation.

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