Maribyrnong Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee (MRAPAC)

Committee Overview

The Maribyrnong Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee (MRAPAC) provides Council with strategic advice on reconciliation and Australia’s First Nations people. The MRAPAC is Chaired by the Maribyrnong City Council Mayor and membership is made up of at least 50% Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and service providers who have a significant role in supporting the First Nations community within the City of Maribyrnong.

Committee role

  • Meeting four times per year
  • Working with Council staff to develop and implement Council’s Reconciliation Action plan
  • Advising Council staff on the development of Council’s strategic policies and plans
  • Working with Council staff to develop and deliver key events i.e. Reconciliation week and NAIDOC week
  • Raising issues for Council to consider in its advocacy role on behalf of this community
  • Promoting positive images of Australia’s First Nations people through opportunities created by Council

The MRAPAC Terms of Reference(DOCX, 25KB) define responsibilities, composition, and expectations of members.

Membership vacancies

To ensure MRAPAC members feel valued and empowered to contribute their knowledge and expertise Council offers the following:

  • Members can request a cab charge voucher to cover the costs of travelling to a MRAPAC meeting. 
  • Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander members who are attending MRAPAC meetings and are not being paid to be there as part of a paid role can apply for honorarium of $50 per meeting (only available until December 2019). 
  • Members can request assistance from Council to prepare for meetings (i.e. verbal briefing over the phone). 
  • Members are encouraged to invite other Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander people to attend MRAPAC meetings as Observers (Observers will be asked to complete the Observer Application Form(DOC, 52KB)).

Current members

Sharyn Wordie

MRAPAC Photo Sharyn Wordie.JPG

Sharyn is an Aboriginal woman who was put into care as a baby and separated from her family and culture. She has lived in the inner west for 35 years and has been an active member of the Maribyrnong Reconciliation Group since it started in 2011. Sharyn attends the Melbourne Indigenous Church and participates in NAIDOC week flag raising celebrations, and Indigenous and reconciliation initiatives at the Braybrook Community Hub. Sharyn has lived experience of being an Aboriginal person living in the City of Maribyrnong, and has had to stand up for herself and her family on countless occasions when injustice was occurring.

Karen IngramMRAPAC Karen Ingram.JPG

Karen is a non-Indigenous local resident who is actively involved in the Local Aboriginal Network and a range of initiatives supporting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Karen works locally in health promotion and community development, and has been proactive in developing and implementing Reconciliation Action Plans across multiple organisations. She is the project lead for the Wellness Dreaming Project which trains aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers invested in the holistic wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, focussing on what is strong, not what is wrong, with community

Tanya Druce

MRAPAC Photo Tanya Druce.JPG

Tanya is a proud Wiradjuri woman (western NSW) who has lived and worked in the municipality for many years. Tanya has worked as speech pathologist for 30 years, and is currently employed at Program Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health team at cohealth. With strong professional and personal commitment to local Indigenous issues, she holds strong values of respect, courage, social equity and innovation. Tanya is committed to improving opportunities for the Indigenous community to engage in cultural activities in culturally safe and welcoming spaces, and providing a strong advocacy voice for Indigenous people to strengthen connections to culture and community

Ngardarb Francine Riches

MRAPAC Photo Francine Nbgardarb Riches.JPG


Ngardarb is an Indigenous artist and respected local Aboriginal Elder. She was born and raised on the West Kimberley Coast in WA and her people are the Arriyol clan of the Bardi/Djawi tribe. Since arriving in Maribyrnong she has been an active participant in the Reconciliation Group for many years and was Maribyrnong Citizen of the Year in 2014. Ngardarb runs an Aboriginal arts group called Scattered Tribes Art which focusses on reconnecting with country, story and each other as the heart of the healing process. Ngardarb brings a wealth of cultural knowledge and experience to the Committee. 

Sherry Balcombe

MRAPAC Photo Sherry Balcombe.JPG

Sherry grew up in Maribyrnong and is a Western Kuku Yalanji / Jabaguy / Okloa woman from Far North Queensland. She has a Diploma in Social Science specialising in Aboriginal Welfare, and currently works as the Coordinator of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. Sherry’s community involvement includes being an Independent Visitor for Aboriginal youth in jail, membership of the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll selection panel, councillor on the Catholic Aboriginal National body and Board Member on Yingadi Aboriginal Corporation. 

Helen FarquharMRAPAC-Helen-Farquar.jpg

Helen is a proud Wotjabaluk-Gunditjamara Indigenous woman living in Braybrook. She is from the Harradine - Clarke family who have been long known for speaking up regarding issues for the Indigenous community and is proud to continue this tradition for her people. Helen has a Certificate 4 and Diploma in Indigenous Welfare and was the first Indigenous cadet employed at Centrelink. She has worked as a Koori family support worker, Aboriginal community engagement officer, and in State and Federal Closing the Gap programs.

Cassandra Seery

MRAPAC Photo Cassandra Seery.JPG

Cassandra is an Associate Lecturer in Law at Deakin University and is honoured to sit on the Maribyrnong Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee as a community member. Her experience in Aboriginal Affairs - which spans across the public and not-for-profit sectors- includes working as a legal researcher with the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Team at Amnesty International Australia and as a Policy Officer in Aboriginal Affairs Policy (Social Policy and Self-Determination), with the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Vic). Cassandra is committed to assisting in the development of a strong, respectful and empowering relationship with the Aboriginal community.

Tony Riches

MRAPAC Photo Tony Riches.JPG


Since 1981 Tony has been involved in community service and ministries around Australia. This includes roles in hostels for child care support, Pastoring and community administration roles in the remote Kimberley community of One Arm Point and the Peoples’ church in Halls Creek, three years of Nation-wide evangelistic and church support ministries called Australia for Christ for 11 years. Tony was managing the AEC hostel work of Ebenezer Home which provided supported care for homeless young people. Currently Tony is the Pastor of the Melbourne Indigenous Church Fellowship and Chaplain to the Indigenous Players and families in the AFL. Tony also heads up training and development of a new organisation, Solid Chaplaincy Indigenous Youth Program.

Terms of Reference

You can download a copy of the Committee's Terms of Reference below.