by Anna Watson

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has announced that local Aboriginal woman, Dr Jodi Edwards, has been named 2022 Shellharbour Local Woman of the Year.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate Jodi on this well-deserved honour,” said Ms Watson, in recognition of the significant contribution Jodi has made to the Shellharbour community and the broader Illawarra region.

“She continues to make incredible contributions to our community with an unwavering passion towards revitalising the Dharawal language in the Illawarra.”

“Her ultimate goal is for the Dharawal language to be taught and spoken in Illawarra schools.”

“Jodi has dedicated her life to ensuring that local Aboriginal people have access to quality services, continuation and understanding of cultural practices and language, and educating the public on the history and significance of our local area” said Ms Watson.

Jodi has been a long-standing member of a number of culturally significant committees over the years, and is responsible for helping to establish Gumaraa Aboriginal Cultural Education and the Illawarra Flame Trees Aboriginal Performing Arts Group.

In 1999, she co-founded the Shellharbour Aboriginal Community Youth Association (SACYA) and has been a member of Shellharbour City Council’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee since the same year.

Jodi has provided support for local Aboriginal families through a wide range of programs she has either pioneered or volunteered for, most recently assisting throughout the pandemic by helping to facilitate access to services and providing food boxes for local Aboriginal people.

Jodi currently works as a Curriculum Advisor for Aboriginal Education with the NSW Education Standards Authority, providing expertise and advice to support the curriculum reform and delivery process.

“Through her continued and passionate advocacy towards ensuring better outcomes for local Indigenous communities, Jodi has created a lasting legacy here in our region” said Ms Watson.