Emerging Leader 2013 – 2014
Janine Coombs has taken on a number of significant leadership roles in her community in the area of native title, but she has also dedicated herself to promoting social and emotional issues.
Regarding native title, she has recently been elected as Chairperson of the Baregi Gadjin Aboriginal Land Council and the Federation of Traditional Owners in Victoria, and she has been approached to participate in the National Trust Aboriginal Advisory Committee.
She believes that building and reclaiming cultural foundations are critical to survival and she is privileged to promote these foundations, and is determined to leave a legacy for generations to come.
With regards to promoting social and emotional issues, Janine is a single mother and carer to her daughter who has battled with an eating disorder for several years. She recently attended the first-ever Australian conference on eating disorders – and was able to present an Aboriginal perspective on issues related to this serious matter, including the lack of cross-cultural training and awareness provided to both GP’s and other specialist allied health professionals. Her voice was the only Indigenous voice at this conference, resulting in a number of more speaking role requests.
For Janine, this experience has reinforced the need for a stronger Aboriginal voice in this area.
She has also been approached to speak at the National Mental Health Conference about her experiences as a carer and a consumer of mental health services (Aboriginal and mainstream).