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Meet the PowerMakers 2023

Our inaugural delivery of PowerMakers took place between 23-27 October 2023 in Cairns, Queensland.

Following a competitive process, 32 First Nations participants (see below) from communities across Australia were selected for PowerMakers from over 100 applicants.

Participants spent five days in an immersive experience learning about clean energy, community energy planning, advanced energy systems, project ownership and negotiation, and business management.

Meet the PowerMakers 2023

Scotty McDimy - Yanyuwa/Garrawa
Scotty McDimy
Lolin Motto - Darumbal/Juru
Lolin Motto
Donna-Lea Krause - Kabi Kabi/Butchulla
Donna-Lea Krause
Kabi Kabi/Butchulla
Charles Prouse - Nyikina/Bardi
Charles Prouse
Mareshah Bowie - Jirrbal
Mareshah Bowie
Levi Lovett - Gunditj Mara
Levi Lovett
Gunditj Mara
Rikka Lamb - Yuwaaliyaay
Rikka Lamb
Nathan Douglas - Eastern Arrernte
Nathan Douglas
Eastern Arrernte
Tegan Miller - Wiradjuri
Tegan Miller
Keicha Day Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta
Keicha Day Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta
Russell Bruce - Ngullingah Jugun
Russell Bruce
Ngullingah Jugun
Cameron Donald Smith - Bujiebara
Cameron Donald Smith
Vanessa Mene - Kulkalgal
Vanessa Mene
Aaron Matthews - Ngarinyin/Gurindji
Aaron Matthews
Matthew Cavanagh - Arrernte
Matthew Cavanagh
Rebecca Halliday - Birpai
Rebecca Halliday
Neil Purcell - Wajarri/Nanda
Neil Purcell
Kaneya Poudal - Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi
Kaneya Poudal
Allison Hoolihan - Gugu Bahun
Allison Hoolihan
Gugu Bahun
Leon Filewood - Ugar Umle, Moalgal, Kuku Yalanji, Koko Mini, Girramay
Leon Filewood
Ugar Umle, Moalgal, Kuku Yalanji, Koko Mini, Girramay
Nadine Brown - Wajarri/Nunda
Nadine Brown
Desmond Mongoo - Yamatji Nanda/Wajarri Yamaji
Desmond Mongoo
Yamatji Nanda/Wajarri Yamaji
Leslie Schultz - Ngadju
Leslie Schultz
Eddie Newchurch - Narungga
Eddie Newchurch
Antonia Burke - Yanyuwa/Garrwa
Antonia Burke
Kerry Colbung - Kokatha Mirning
Kerry Colbung
Kokatha Mirning
Jason Field - Walbunja/Yuin, Bidjigal/Dharawal
Jason Field
Walbunja/Yuin, Bidjigal/Dharawal
Douglas Milera - Narungga
Douglas Milera
Shirley McPherson - Yamatji/Widdi
Shirley McPherson
Lawford Benning - Mirriwoong
Lawford Benning
Gerald Bowie - Black pearl
Gerald Bowie
Black pearl
Gudjugudju Fourmile - Yidinji
Gudjugudju Fourmile


This is some of what they had to say:

Proud to be considered as a PowerMaker amongst these deadly brothers and sisters!

Magic is happening. Its just great to be in a room with brilliant minds carving out ideas for our First Nations mob to harness our land and to learn better ways to access power from the sun and wind that travels across our country reminding us of our connection to this ancient landscape. Thanks you to the team who are punching way about their weight on the topic of Indigenous involvement in renewable energy.

I had an incredible week soaking up all the information. When you get a group of Indigenous people in the room, you come out with Black Magic. This is a very complex journey – we must reach out and share it.

In the aftermath of the referendum, I am even more grateful to be a part of the First Nations Clean Energy Network’s inaugural Power Makers Program. Because renewable clean energy projects, if done ‘proper way’, will see Traditional communities as equity partners (not stakeholders), will promote self determination, create local sustainable economic opportunities AND in turn, help close the gap. Saying I’m very excited, proud and pumped to be here is an understatement!

I felt the need to send you guys a note of appreciation and great respect for the opportunity to be part of this project. Your ability to create such a wonderful friendly cultural learning environment is a testament of your strengths. Thank you.

A wonderful lived experience! Learning so much. PowerMakers is one of the best events I’ve been to for a long time.

PowerMakers is really powering our mob to drive change, and self-determination – and key to that is policy change.

I had a deadly week. The knowledge sharing was really powerful. A key takeout? Don’t accept beads in negotiation.

You learn from people in their journeys. It was a privilege and honour to hear some of your stories.

The best thing for me from this week is learning we’re powerful as one. I don’t have to ask anyone for my sovereignty. Our journey in clean energy is exercising our sovereignty.

Enabling change means having the right people in the room. My key learning from PowerMakers was about community engagement and bringing community along. We can set the foundation for the next ones coming through.

Ridiculously inspired! That sums up the week. I can’t wait to keep working together.

I had an unbelievable week. Everyone is motivated to the right cause. We need partnerships and ownerships to start our own power – this is the way to go. I never thought I’d learn any of this stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever learnt so much in a week.

I wanted to get negotiation skills out of this. I got it.

I’m sure we’re going to take back to our communities what we’ve learnt here.