East Arnhem Regional Council introduces new President and Deputy President

East Arnhem Regional Council is pleased to announce Cr Kaye Thurlow of Gumurr Marthakal Ward, as the new President of East Arnhem Regional Council.

East Arnhem Regional Council Councillors voted to appoint Councillor Thurlow as the new President during the Ordinary Council Meeting on the 27 March 2019, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of former President Banambi Wunungmurra.

Elected as a Councillor in the inaugural 2008 NT Shire Council elections representing the Gumurr Marthakal Ward, President Thurlow is now serving her third term in Council, during which time she has also served as Deputy President. President Thurlow has been Acting President since the 10 December 2018 when the former President resigned.

President Thurlow is a retired school Principal with extensive teaching experience across the NT, who has called East Arnhem Land home for 40 years. Kaye’s community interests, spanning 50 years, lie in supporting cross-cultural links between the people of Elcho Island and the broader East Arnhem Region. Kaye provides on-going voluntary assistance to individuals and families at Galiwin’ku, covering financial and business matters, as well as assisting older Yolngu women with transport to hunting, especially those connected with Dharrwar Homelands.

President Thurlow commented, “I’m honoured by the challenge and responsibility that my fellow Councillors have entrusted me with in guiding us through the next two years. 

I am especially conscious and humbled of the fact that I have been chosen to drive this incredible team, themselves a group of exceptional strong leaders, acknowledging that whilst I am not born of this country, I am accepted into the cultural fabric of our community and people.

I will continue, as I have for the past 50 years, to be an active voice in the empowerment of Yolŋu people, servicing our community, and advocating on their behalf for continued growth and development” said President Thurlow. 

Newly elected Gumurr Miwatj Ward Councillor Djuwalpi Marika was elected unopposed to the position of Deputy President during the same meeting. Deputy President Marika was declared as one of two new Councillors to the Gumurr Miwatj Ward on the 22 February via a by-election, and is serving his inaugural term with East Arnhem Regional Council. Cr Marika is a senior member of the Rirratjiŋu Clan of North East Arnhem Land, a prominent community leader, and current member of the Yirrkala Local Authority and Miwatj Health Board.

“It is a privilege to be part of Council and be a voice to the people of our Region. I hope my experience in local government bring new innovative ideas and plans which will inspire my community and our next generation of leaders. Most importantly I want to strengthen the pride and dignity of our people.

Above all else, I pledge to be a role model of Yolŋu djamarrkuli, my children and my grand children and to be a big voice to my community” said Deputy President Marika.

The Deputy President role is a two year appointment, however due to the period of time before the 2021 NT Council Elections, Council resolved to appoint Deputy President Marika for the remaining sitting period. 

“On behalf of Council staff and executive, I congratulate both Councillors on their appointment, and look forward to working with them in support of their new leadership roles and their contribution in delivering strong and quality services to the people of East Arnhem Land” said Acting Chief Executive Officer Barry Bonthuys.