Marni Tuala is a proud Bundjalung and Wonnarua woman who grew up in far northern NSW and comes from a long line of healers. A mother of five jarjums, Marni brings a unique perspective to her roles at CATSINaM, having studied both midwifery and the law.
Marni works clinically as the Aboriginal liaison midwife at The Tweed Hospital and is passionate about improving the cultural safety of the health system. Marni says her own experiences of health services as a young pregnant woman were not ideal, and inform her drive to improve the cultural safety of services.
Throughout studying a law degree, Marni decided to become a midwife to develop the expertise and credibility to drive system-wide reform of healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children. Marni holds a Masters in Primary Maternity Care and is currently completing a Masters of Law. Marni says that having background legal knowledge is helpful for her work in governance and policy, both with CATSINaM and broader work.
Marni is passionate about her responsibility to her community to provide role modelling, mentoring and enjoys contributing to the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery workforce through nurturing the next generations and developing a safe system for them to work. Marni has been an active member of CATSINaM since 2013, and also sits on multiple committees and advisory groups, including the Australian College of Midwives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee and The Commonwealth Breastfeeding expert referencing group. She is excited about the future for CATSINaM, as it builds from a solid foundation.
Venessa is Ait Keodal, Sumu Torres Strait Islander who also has family lines to Keith South Australia. Venessa is currently the Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Management Unit at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. She has over 21 years of extensive experience in metropolitan, rural and remote areas throughout Australia. Working in national and Queensland state-wide industry development; management; service delivery; sustainable community development; and clinical practice. She specialises in adapting Western management systems and sector development to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and practices. Her work experience includes nine years of strategic industry development at the national level and before this an additional seven years’ experience in Queensland state-wide development. She started initially as a practitioner, going on to management, training, mentoring, consultancy, research, lobbying, governance and development. Some highlights from her career include: lobbying for 12 years for the National Remote and Indigenous Services resource allocation for aged care service which is currently in place today; development and implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Strategy; and advocating for Indigenous languages recognition and revitalisation which has recently had an increase resource allocation and commitment from government. She’s currently a board member with the National Congress of Australia’s First People, Committee Member on the Queensland Premier’s Social Cohesion Committee, and former national board member on the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.
She has a passion for national and local sustainable holistic development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries.
Roxanne is a Palawa woman who was born and raised on Gubbi Gubbi land in southeast Queensland. She completed a double degree in Nursing and Health Science (Paramedics) from the Queensland University of Technology. Roxanne completed her graduate nursing year on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. She then undertook further training in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. She relocated to Canberra in 2017 to commence postgraduate study in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Roxanne is passionate about child and infant health, with a particular interest in the epidemiology and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children admitted to PICUs in Australia.
Renee is a Gubbi Gubbi woman from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. She is CEO of Gidgee Healing, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service that provides services to about 7,000 Aboriginal people living across a vast area of north-west Queensland, from Mt Isa to the Gulf.
This role is the culmination of more than 20 years of experience as a clinician and working in senior management roles in metropolitan and remote areas. Renee became interested in health as a young girl, growing up with grandparents who regularly attended health services because of chronic illnesses. Renee felt comfortable with the world of healthcare, and so was interested when family members who were Aboriginal Health Workers suggested she might also like to consider taking on the role. During her eight years as an Aboriginal Health Worker, Renee came to understand the importance of quality healthcare in preventing the sort of chronic conditions that her family members experienced. She then studied to become a nurse, wanting to extend her clinical practice and knowledge, and worked at Mt Isa Hospital as a nurse for five years.
She was drawn back to primary healthcare because of its potential for prevention and early intervention, working in service planning and management roles at the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane. In 2018, Renee was delighted to return to Mt Isa and take up her current position. She joined the board of CATSINaM to help represent the needs of Aboriginal communities in north-west Queensland, and also to pursue her interest in developing the cultural safety of services and healthcare professionals. Renee says that taking on this role with CATSINaM has been helpful for her professional and personal development.
Ted Murphy is a Jinaburra man from Dahmongah (north of Brisbane). He has lived in the Northern Territory since 1997 when he commenced work in Kunberllanjnja as men’s health nurse at the invitation of the community government council.
Ted’s background includes working in health for the past 25 years as a clinician, educator and manager. This experience has covered several areas as diverse as Remote Health, Critical Care, Prison Health, working for the Northern Territory Department of Health, the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Charles Darwin University.
Harbouring a keen interest in governance, Ted is the former Deputy Chair of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education Council, former Chair of the Humpty Doo Primary School Council and has served many terms on the Aboriginal Health Workers Registration Board of the Northern Territory.
Ted is currently a Senior Nursing Subject Matter Expert for the Northern Territory Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program.