Announcing appointment of new Board Co-Chairs – Nolan Hunter and Debra Zanella

  • The new Co-Chair partnership stands ready to steer the next era of reconciliation action.
  • Gary Smith’s eight-year term concludes, leaving a lasting legacy of leadership and substantial achievements in advancing reconciliation.
  • Carol Innes stood down from her Co-Chair role in December 2023, after nearly eight years of outstanding service and leadership.
  • Nolan Hunter, Bardi Jawi Yawuru man from the Kimberley was appointed by the Reconciliation WA Board as Carol’s successor in the role of Aboriginal Co-Chair in December 2023.
  • He is now joined by Debra Zanella, with more than two decades of experience in the health and community service sectors, as the Board-appointed new Reconciliation WA Non-Aboriginal Co-Chair.

Reconciliation WA bids farewell to Co-Chair Gary Smith after his seven-year tenure, leaving behind a legacy of determination and reconciliation outcomes.

In a smooth transition, the Board now welcomes Debra Zanella as the new Non-Aboriginal Co-Chair, marking a new chapter in the State’s journey toward reconciliation.

Reconciliation WA Co-Chair Gary Smith expressed both his sincere gratitude to his former Aboriginal Co-Chair, Carol Innes and his support of new Co-Chairs Nolan Hunter and Debra Zanella.

“I thank my sister and former Co-Chair Carol Innes, who has patiently and generously taught me much of the reconciliation journey I have travelled so far,” said Gary.

“Following the referendum outcome, we are in a new chapter for the reconciliation movement.

“It is a perfect time for the organisation to both capitalise on the organisation’s work to date, and to deliver a re-energised approach.

“As this chapter closes, Carol and I leave the organisation with the excellent leadership of Co-Chairs Nolan Hunter and Debra Zanella and CEO Jody Nunn along with an excellent Reconciliation WA team developed over recent years.”

Reconciliation WA is delighted to welcome Debra Zanella as the organisation’s new Co-Chair, commencing Tuesday 9 April 2024.

Debra was unanimously appointed by the Reconciliation WA Board, and brings more than two decades of experience in the health and community service sectors.

“As I step into the Co-Chair role at Reconciliation WA, I am honoured to be part of this powerful movement that has important work to focus upon in the post referendum environment. We must harness the energy of the 6.2 million Australians who voted YES and those who are wanting to continue to understand how we can walk together to drive better outcomes in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ said Debra.

“We are in a pivotal time as we consider the future horizons of the reconciliation movement both here in WA and collectively across the nation. I look forward to walking this journey with my Co-Chair Nolan Hunter.”

“I’d like to thank and acknowledge Carol Innes and Gary Smith for their service and leadership, and I look forward to working with our new Co-Chair Debra Zanella,” said Nolan Hunter.

Reconciliation WA CEO Jody Nunn expressed her deep appreciation for Carol and Gary’s commitment and unwavering allyship to the reconciliation movement during the past eight years.

“Carol and Gary’s leadership and guidance has played a pivotal role in shaping the reconciliation movement forward in Western Australia,” said Jody.

“On behalf of the Reconciliation WA Board and Team, we thank them for their guidance and support, and know they will remain committed advocates for reconciliation into the future.”


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