Patricia Waria-Read

Chaplain, Department of Correctional Services

2021 South Australia Award Winner

Patricia Waria-Read is a Ngadjuri woman with cultural links to the Mid-North of SA and to Pt Pearce Aboriginal Community at Yorke Peninsula, Gerard Aboriginal community in the Riverland and Raukkan in the Murraylands. During her role as a community leader, she has worked extensively in traditional, country and urban Aboriginal communities and has a deep understanding of the wide range of social issues faced by her communities. Her purpose is to be active in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal communities no matter the status or economical standing, and to ensure that they have tenure over their lives.

Patricia is a trailblazer who has always supported and assisted her people. She is respectful and honest with all individuals who have walked with her throughout her life. She has lived experienced in the struggles her people have had to attend to over the years; in education, health, housing, social justice, and incarceration. Patricia believes it is important for her to involve Aboriginal people in designing, delivering and evaluating strategies in achieving a successful model for fostering self-help and self-determination regarding the impediments that affect our Aboriginal community.

One of Patricia’s main concerns is the plight of Aboriginal people within the justice system. With the number of Aboriginal prisoners increasing, particularly Aboriginal women, and the plight of Aboriginal women and their families affected by imprisonment, Patricia’s aim is to address the injustices that occur to women in their relations with SAPOL, the courts, the taking away of children from their mothers, and the prison system. This involves offering support with legal, medical, family issues and counselling towards achieving their goals, including presenting key issues to the appropriate Ministers in South Australia and Canberra.