Purchasing board role for Yorta Yorta woman Seona James

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Yorta Yorta woman Seona James is the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed to the Victorian Government Purchasing Board.

Ms James will be involved in making sure policies are set that oversee the procurement of non-construction goods and services across all Victorian Government departments and some public organisations.

Part of a large extended family from Shepparton, Ms James is the youngest daughter of Glenn James, the first Aboriginal umpire at a VFL level.

Focusing her career on Aboriginal engagement and relationship building, she was a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Economic Board from April 2017 to May this year and established her own business — Indigenous Cultural Connections — in March last year.

Ms James said she was honoured to join the VGPB, representing not only Yorta Yorta peoples but also wider Aboriginal communities.

‘‘Being the first Aboriginal woman on the VGPB is an opportunity to influence and create change within government processes, which will open the door for Aboriginal communities and business owners across the state,’’ she said.

‘‘My appointment demonstrates that Aboriginal people can and do have a presence in positions of influence and that our voices are heard and our culture is considered at all levels.’’

Ms James is one of three new members joining the board this month, contributing to a 50-50 gender balance.

‘‘Being an Aboriginal woman sends a message to all women, but particularly Aboriginal girls and women, that when supported we are strong, resilient leaders with important messages,’’ she said.

‘‘You should never be afraid to use your knowledge and your voice.

‘‘If my appointment to the VGPB motivates any woman, Aboriginal or otherwise, to be confident and strive to achieve then that is definitely the result I will be most proud of.’’