Giving voice to Indigenous women in agri-business

Republished from BP Australia's Discovery Magazine, Feb 2018

Leanne Miller’s dream is starting to take shape. She wants to enable Indigenous women to form a collective voice as they produce and successfully market Australian native bush food and botanicals that remains true to their traditional origin and contributes to people’s wellbeing.

A BP employee, her recent entrée into the inaugural cohort of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) Program provides her with a rare opportunity to turn her personal project into a reality.

The AFSE Program is a new social leadership program launched in 2016 by New York based foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies in partnership with the Australian Government. Led by the University of Melbourne, alongside national and international partners, the Fellowship aims to tackle the broader issues of social inequality and how parity can be achieved for all people, regardless of cultural background, race, gender, health or financial status.

Thanks to the Business Council of Australia (BCA) who is a partner of the AFSE, Leanne was nominated for the program but it was her employment background, experiences and proposal which helped earn her a place as one of 15 fellowships of the AFSE. In her part-time role as the Aboriginal Participation Advisor at BP Australia, she helps BP embed the delivery of its Indigenous Employment Strategy across the business. In her other job as the Project Manager of Koorie Women Mean Business (KWMB), she provides research and project development support for women and girls at the community level. Her background as a descendant of the Dhulanyagen Ulupna Clan, Yorta Yorta nation also brings a wealth of experience in Indigenous community development to the program.

As a fellow of the AFSE program, she is expected to use the program and its expertise, resources and networks, to launch and put into action her social change proposal over the course of 12 months. However, the work doesn’t end there; it’s a lifelong commitment for Leanne and the fellows that will see them continue to work on their projects with the communities to fundamentally improve future health and wellbeing.

We caught up with Leanne to find out more about her social change proposal.