The Paul Ramsay Foundation is proud to announce the formation of a First Nations Advisory Council to continue to build its learning and understanding and further develop the Foundation’s engagement to better serve its purpose.

The Foundation Board resolved in November 2020 to form the Council and has been working intensively since then with the inaugural co-Chairs Tony McAvoy SC and Foundation Director Natalie Walker to develop the Council’s remit.

Both are highly credentialled and respected individuals that will provide great insight to support the Foundation’s pursuit of its goal to break cycles of disadvantage in Australia, which are felt more strongly in First Nations communities than any other in Australia.

We are committed to empowering communities to thrive and want to work in ways that are community-led, thoughtful, impactful and evidence-based.

This Council is one way through which we seek to build our learning and understanding and develop deeper engagement to help fulfil our purpose over time.

Ms Walker said she was excited that the Foundation was establishing the Advisory Council and looked forward to playing a lead role.

“The path to breaking cycles of disadvantage in Australia is complex and demands creative engagement, listening to communities and working with them for solutions that will stand up over time,” she said.

“The Foundation has dedicated itself to this task with a clear focus on education and training, transitions to employment and building thriving communities, and I am proud to be working with it to help drive a better future for all Australians.”

Mr McAvoy said he was pleased the Foundation had taken proactive steps to ensure that the voices of Aboriginal people would help steer the Foundation’s future focus and investments in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Genuine partnership and engagement with local communities is critical if we are to end the appalling disparity that exists for First Nations people in terms of educational outcomes, employment, incarceration rates and other key indicators,” he said.

“The success of this work relies on building trust and respect, creating partnerships that can support innovative, evidence-based initiatives and I am happy to work with the Foundation to help achieve this.”

The Foundation will continue to work with the Co-Chairs and community to achieve the Council’s purpose. Recognising the long-term scope of its mission, the Foundation continues to review and work on its strategic approach, with the Advisory Council to consider this in due course.


Tony McAvoy SC

Tony McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont and he is also a native title holder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland. Tony is a barrister and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2015. He has developed a strong native title practice and has successfully appeared for claimants in several land claims. He has also acquired significant experience in the areas of environmental law, administrative law, human rights and discrimination law, coronial inquests and criminal law. Between 2011 and 2013, Tony was an Acting Part-Time Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Tony was also Co-Senior Counsel assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory in 2016-17.


Natalie Walker

Natalie Walker MAICD is a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Daintree Rainforest and holds degrees in Psychology and Law. Natalie has dedicated her career to contributing to reforming social and economic policies to make our country a better place for those experiencing vulnerability.  As founder of Inside Policy, a privately-held advisory firm, Natalie advises governments on a range of social and economic policy matters. She was previously the chief executive officer of Supply Nation, an organisation focused on increasing the participation of Indigenous business in the supply chain of Australia’s largest companies. Natalie has held roles at KPMG Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission and in the Queensland Government. Natalie sits on various boards including Goodstart Early Learning, Life Without Barriers, Jawun and the Telstra Foundation. In 2002, Natalie made an intervention to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples on the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people in Australia’s criminal justice system. In 2012, Natalie was named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence. In 2018, Natalie was appointed by the Prime Minister as Australia’s representative to the Business Women Leaders Taskforce of the G20.


About the Paul Ramsay Foundation

We seek to identify and partner with individuals, communities and organisations working to break cycles of disadvantage and create an Australia where people can realise their potential.

The late Paul Ramsay AO established the Foundation in 2006 and, after his death in 2014, left the majority of his estate to continue his philanthropy for generations to come.

His commitment to good works has allowed us to support the for-purpose sector with grant commitments of more than $600 million made since 2016 across more than 120 grants, to partners committed as we are to achieving lasting change.


Media Contact: Pia Akerman, 0412 346 746