Meeting Name

First Nations Advisory Committee



12 December 2023

Time 6:11PM


Level 12 Boardroom, 126 Church Street Parramatta + MS Teams



Committee Members

·     Jayne Christian (Chairperson)

·     Raelene Billedo

·     Julie Clarke Jones

·     Roslyn Fogg

·     John Robertson


Council Staff

·      Rodrigo Gutierrez - Community Capacity Building Manager

·      Sarina Solar - Community Capacity Building Lead

·      Karen Maber – Dharug Keeping Place Officer

·      Chris Patfield – Place Manager Parramatta Square

·      Mel Ah Chong – Project Officer, Place Services

·      Craig McMaster – Director of Riverside Theatre

·      Catherine Swallow – Programming & Curatorial Manager Riverside Theatre

·      Katie Papagianis – Change Manager, City Strategy

·      Maxime Boutaghou Courtemanche – Project Team Lead, City Strategy

·      Gwen Hughes – A/Governance Manager



·      Bronwyn Purvis – Partnership Lead, ABC

·      Kylene Anderson – Indigenous Lead & Employment Manager, ABC

·      Melanie Grills – First Nations Projects Lead, ARUP

·      Hannah Slater – Australasian Arts & Culture Business Lead, ARUP

·      Amanda Leer – Director Place Strategy, Murawin



Apologies / Leave of Absence

·      Bruce Gale (Deputy Chairperson)

·      Edwina Crawford

·      Issac Roberts

·      David Moutou - Group Manager Social & Community Services

·      Councillor Bob Fitzgerald – Blacktown City Council



Melissa McIsaac


HPRM Reference









Gwen Hughes, A/Governance Manager, joined the Committee to provide advice regarding Committee membership and quorum under the Terms of Reference. Gwen Hughes retired from the meeting at 6:13pm.


Acknowledgement of Country


The City of Parramatta Council acknowledges the Burramattagal Clan of The Dharug, the traditional owners of land of Parramatta and pays its respects to the elders past, present and emerging.




The Committee noted apologies from Edwina Crawford, Bruce Gale, and Issac Roberts.


Disclosure of Interests


There were no disclosure of interest for this Advisory Committee meeting.


The Committee noted that Jayne Christian, Julie Clarke Jones, and Roslyn Fogg are engaged in ongoing consultancy work with Council, however there were no specific conflicts for the Agenda items.


Rodrigo Gutierrez agreed to obtain further governance advice regarding managing potential conflicts of interest with members undertaking ongoing additional consultancy work for Council.



Note: The Chairperson amended the order of business to proceed with Agenda Item 7.


Draft Guidelines for Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square


The Committee received a presentation from Chis Patfield, Place Manager Parramatta Square, and Mel Ah Chong, Project Officer Place Services, regarding development of the Draft Guidelines for Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square, to inform community activation and event use of the space.


The Committee noted that this matter was first presented at the October 2023 meeting, and considered the latest consultation insights regarding the draft Guidelines. The Committee provided feedback recommending to stress the importance of “ownership” rather than “custodianship” in the Guidelines, and that the booking process should include providing sufficient notice regarding how the space is intended to be used.


Bronwyn Purvis, Kylene Anderson, Melanie Grills, Hannah Slater, Amanda Leer, and Craig McMaster joined the meeting at 6:28pm, and Catherine Swallow joined the meeting at 6:34pm, during discussion of Item 7.



The Committee requested to return to discussion of Item 7 when Julie Clarke Jones joined the meeting in-person.


Note: The Chairperson resumed the order of business to proceed with Agenda Item 5.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Relocation to Parramatta


The Committee received a presentation from Bronwyn Purvis, Partnership Lead, and Kylene Anderson, Indigenous Lead & Employment Manager, on behalf of the ABC, regarding the relocation of staff offices to Parramatta in 2024.


The Committee noted the overview of ABC’s initiatives and commitments regarding indigenous employment and workplace strategy, and were requested to provide guidance on appropriately recognising local First Nations peoples in the design and opening events for the ABC Parramatta offices.



·          The presentation will be circulated to Committee Members for further consideration and feedback following the Meeting.


Bronwyn and Kylene Emerson retired from the meeting at the conclusion of Item 5.


Note: The Chairperson amended the order of business to return to Agenda Item 7


Draft Guidelines for Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square


The Committee further considered the draft Guidelines for Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square, and the process for developing of the Guidelines and determining the usage for Dharug Circle.


The Committee asked questions for staff clarification, and raised concern that the intent for Dharug Circle had changed from the originally consulted concept of a space under Dharug control for Dharug use, to being intended for broader community event hire. The Committee provided further feedback on the consultation and communication process through the project.


·          Council officers will circulate the presentation and draft Guidelines for Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square, for further consideration following the meeting.

·          The Committee were encouraged to provide any additional feedback or to organise a meeting on the project directly with Chris Patfield.

·          The Committee recommended for Council officers to organise a follow up meeting in mid to late January 2024 regarding the change in intended use for Dharug Circle, and to invite Julie Clarke Jon/es, Jayne Christian, Corrina Norman, Leanne Watson, and Michelle Desailly.


Chris Patfield and Mel Ah Chong retired from the meeting at 7:06pm at the conclusion of Item 7.



Note: The Chairperson resumed the order of business to proceed with Agenda Item 6.


Riverside Theatre Renewal: Draft Connecting with Country Guidelines


The Committee received a presentation on the Riverside Theatre design competition from Craig McMaster, Director of Riverside Theatre, Catherine Swallow, Programming & Curatorial Manager, and Council’s external consultants who have been engaged for the project, Melanie Grills, First Nations Project Lead, and Hannah Slater, Australasian Arts & Culture Business Lead, from ARUP, and Amanda Leer, Director Place Strategy, on behalf of Murawin.


The Committee were advised that Council is preparing the Connecting with Country Guidelines as part of the project brief, and noted the State Significant Design Excellence competition timeline through May 2024. The Committee will be engaged throughout the design competition process, including a proposed review of the competition brief in early 2024, and midpoint review where the Committee will be requested to give feedback to teams on their design scheme.


The Committee considered the proposed concept for the Guidelines, including the strategic criteria which competitors will be required to address, being developed in alignment with Council’s First Nations Strategy. The Committee provided feedback recommending for shortlisted competitors to have the opportunity to be on Country and speak with local custodians to gain a firsthand understanding of the location, before preparing the designs. It was confirmed that a site visit and walkthrough will be held at the start of the competition, and that project teams must include a Connecting with Country Consultant.


Katie Papagianis and Maxime Boutaghou Courtemanche joined the meeting during discussion of Item 6.


·      The Committee recommended to undertake further consultation and engagement regarding what ongoing project governance with community will occur.

·      Council officers will organise a meeting with ARUP and Murawin in early 2024 to undertake initial listening regarding what to incorporate in the competition brief. The Committee were invited to advise of additional non-members who should be included in the session.

·      Council officers confirmed that budget has been established to compensate where Committee Members will be asked for extraordinary consultancy input during the project.


Craig McMaster, Catherine Swallow, Melanie Grills, Hannah Slater, and Amanda Leer retired from the meeting at 7:50pm at the conclusion of Item 6.



Parramatta 2050: Global City Vision


The Committee received a presentation from Katie Papagianis, Change Manager, and Maxime Boutaghou Courtemanche, Project Team Lead, regarding developing Council’s Parramatta 2050: Global City Vision.


The Committee noted that the Vision will seek to build on the work for developing Council’s First Nations Strategy, and were invited to raise initial considerations for developing a long term vision and advocacy document for Parramatta. It is intended to seek Council endorsement for the completed Vision in mid-2024.


The Committee recommended to ensure that First Nations culture is maintained and recognisable within the local area for future generations, and the importance of caring for Country, including through improved integration of green spaces within the global city vision, and regenerating the Parramatta River.



·          Council officers will recirculate the key visioning questions for further consideration by the Committee. The Committee were encouraged to provide feedback through the survey link or directly to Katie Papagianis.


Katie Papagianis and Maxime Boutaghou Courtemanche retired from the meeting at 8:23pm.


Other Business


The Committee raised the following matters during Other Business:


·          The Committee received the following updates from Karen Maber, Dharug Keeping Place Officer:

·         Work is continuing to establish the governance and operational framework for the Dharug Keeping Place Working Group. A page is being developed for Council’s Website to inform the community about key activities and developments.

·         Arrangements have been made for the Australian Museum to return 21 boxes of cultural materials, for showcase at the Keeping Place. An official ceremony for the return will take place in Dharug Circle on 14 February 2024, followed by a private ceremony in the Keeping Place. The Dharug Keeping Place reference group have also approved for the depositing of community cultural materials, for safe keeping and sharing of stories.

·      The Committee considered operational matters for meetings, including catering provisions, the number of items to be put for discussion on the Agenda, the frequency of meetings, and to consider marking celebrations as part of Committee business.

·      Julie Clarke Jones raised concern with the report prepared by Council for the Government Architect NSW website on the development of Parramatta Square, due to identified inaccuracies regarding First Nations input. The Committee noted that this matter had been raised with Rodrigo Gutierrez, and that Council staff will be rewriting the report.

·      Julie Clarke Jones raised concern with the opening ceremony for the Parramatta Aquatic Centre, due to lack of acknowledgement for Dharug specialist contribution to the project.



·      Rodrigo Gutierrez will provide feedback on behalf of the Committee to Governance to consider increasing the meeting frequency when the Committee Terms of Reference are next reviewed.

·      Rodrigo Gutierrez will follow up with Governance to determine if there are any outstanding Meeting Minutes which require Committee confirmation.

·      The Committee recommended to include time as part of the Meeting Agenda for the Committee Members to privately discuss any important matters, without Council officer attendance.

·      The Committee requested to confirm the 2024 meeting dates as soon as practicable, to ensure member availability.



Next meeting date: 13 February 2024


Meeting Closed:  8:53PM