Our Bold Path for Governance, Leadership and Conciliation

A Statement from the Red Dust Role Models Board.

As an organisation actively engaged in Reconciliation, the Red Dust Board has committed to governance reform which will lead to a minimum 50% First Nations ownership, membership and control by 31 December 2025.

Over the years, Red Dust Role Models Limited has grown by integrating diverse voices from both First Nations and non-First Nations peoples. The work of Red Dust is inspired by the Northern Territory-based work of our late founder John Van Groningen (JVG) in the 1990s. John embodied the spirit, values and essence of the modern Reconciliation movement – a process we actually prefer to call Conciliation – the creation of a relationship between parties, rather than the reconciling of an existing relationship.  

Since JVG founded Red Dust, it has evolved and grown by drawing on a diverse range of First Nations and non-First Nations voices throughout its history. Our diversity has been our strength.

Recent evolution has seen the establishment of Community Advisory Groups with representatives from the remote communities we partner with along with a First Nations Leadership Group comprising senior First Nations staff who advise the executive and board from time to time.  

Following recent discussions at board level it was resolved that Red Dust take the next step in its governance journey by publicly committing to an increase in First Nations representation at board and membership level to a minimum 50%.  

These changes will be finalised no later than 31 December 2025.

We recognise the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that values Indigenous perspectives and promotes equal opportunities for all. In addition to our Board, we are proud to highlight our First Nations leadership team. Comprised of employees drawing on the diversity of the communities they represent and their collective lived experience, they play a vital role in guiding our work and impact within our organisation.

Furthermore, our Community Advisory Group comprising Indigenous leaders from the remote communities we serve will play a crucial role in guiding our initiatives, ensuring that our programs and strategies are culturally appropriate, responsive, and aligned with the needs and aspirations of the communities we work with.

We believe this change will reflect our organisational identity and the spirit of our journey. We are an inclusive and collaborative entity that recognises and privileges the voices of First Nations people while recognising and valuing the contribution of all who choose to walk and work with us. Ours is a journey that requires a broad range of skills, lived experience, expertise and compassion and by valuing all these contributions we are a stronger and more impactful organisation.  

This transition will support our ongoing commitment to our mission – to enrich lives, improve health and strengthen the future of Indigenous youth and families. With programs created and delivered using our unique ‘Community-as-Family' model of health and well-being, we aim to strengthen economic empowerment and create pathways for sustainable economic engagement within remote communities.

We believe that by working collaboratively and embracing diversity at all levels, we can achieve greater outcomes for our people, our stakeholders, and the communities we serve. Red Dust Role Models remains steadfast in our dedication to promoting meaningful relationships, driving social impact, and advancing Conciliation efforts in Australia.  

We look forward to sharing the progress of our transformative journey of collaboration, guided by our values – real, ready and respectful.

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