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Merinda Hansen


Merinda Hansen is a Yued woman born in Melbourne and raised in Perth.Merinda is an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer at Brookman Primary School in Langford and has been a Noongar Language teacher at several schools.

Merinda learnt Noongar language through Beryl Harp (deceased), and Charmaine Hayden who were both teaching Noongar language at Langford Primary School in the early 1990’s as well as Roma Winmar from Moorditj Noongar Community College. Merinda decided to become a language teacher and has been delivering Noongar language since then. Amongst teaching language in schools and at LAA, Merinda has raised 10 children with her husband of 23 years.

*Committee Member since 2004

Dawn Bessarab

Vice Chairperson

Dawn Bessarab is an Aboriginal woman of Bard (West Kimberley) and Yindjibarndi (Pilbara) descent. She is a senior social worker who graduated with her PhD in 2007.

Dawn is the Secretary of Langford Aboriginal Association and a Professional Director on the board of the Family Violence Prevention Legal Service.

Dawn has extensive experience across the Western Australian public sector, specifically in the area of Child Protection, family violence, alcohol and substance abuse and the criminal justice system. Dawn lectures regularly on Indigenous issues and has presented internationally and published on her work. Dawn is a cross cultural trainer and has extensive experience in developing and facilitating the delivery of programs in the area of parenting, governance and cross cultural training.

*Committee Member since 2008

Peta Sands


*Committee Member since 2020

Angela Ryder


Angela Ryder is a Wilman/Goreng Noongar woman originally from Katanning and has lived in metropolitan Perth her adult life.

Angela has worked relentlessly in the Aboriginal community for more than 30 years, with particular focus on empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the promotion of cultural, social and emotional wellbeing. Part of her work has included the delivery of the National Empowerment Project (NEP), Grief and Loss workshops, Cultural Awareness training and women’s leadership initiatives.

*Committee Member since 2000 to 2015; 2017 to current

Yasmin Abdullah

Committee Member

*Committee Member since 2019






Anne Oxenham

Committee Member

Anne Oxenham is a Nanda woman originally from Geraldton. She lived her early years in Ajana and went to school in Galena and Binnu. Anne moved to Perth in 1975 and went to Central TAFE for two years.After having various jobs in housekeeping, bar work and cooking, Anne is now Kitchen Manager at a petrol station in Kewdale.

*Committee Member since 2012


Raelee Cook

Committee Member

Raelee Cook is an Aranda woman from Central Australia. She is a ‘Commissioner of Oaths’ in the Northern Territory. She has lived in Western Australia for 33 years.

Raelee has a Certificate in Welfare Studies, Certificate in Community Services, and a Certificate IV in Business Administration.

Raelee has worked for community based organisations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia involving work with remote communities. She also worked for several Commonwealth government agencies. Raelee’s work experience includes Traditional Owners Land Claims, human resources, managerial supervision of staff, cross cultural awareness training and management of an Aboriginal Community Store in a remote area. Raelee currently manages her family owned trucking business.

*Committee Member since 2007


rob-brittainRob Brittain

Committee Member

Robert Brittain’s Aboriginal heritage comes from his mother’s side (Yarrans) from the Kellerberrin/Doodlakine area. Robert was born and raised in the Perth metro area but has lived in both the Pilbara (Exmouth and Roebourne) and Midwest (Dongara) regions.
Robert received an Indigenous Scholarship with Curtin’s Graduate School of Business and graduated with a Graduate Business Qualification and currently studying a Master’s In Business Administration

My work career began with Westpac for 15 years, in a number of roles such as Quality and Services Manager. I also worked in State Government, and left as a Senior Project role for the Office of Aboriginal Economic Development. My career changed to working for BIS Industries and BHP Billiton Nickel West in a variety of roles including Aboriginal Affairs. I have also been the Manager Communities for BHP Billiton’s corporate office in Melbourne. Currently, my role is a Business Development Superintendent for Carey Mining, focusing on building market position by owning, formulating and managing business development activities. Also, sourcing, developing, negotiating and closing business relationships in order to achieve financial growth for the company.

*Committee Member since 2015

Kathryn Ross

Committee Member

*Committee Member since 2020


Marie Pryor

Committee Member

*Committee Member since 2020