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Lynda Edwards is the Premier’s Woman of the Year

Former Bourke woman, Lynda Edwards, has been named NSW Woman of the Year for her dedication to improving financial literacy for First Nations people. Lynda received her award from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) and NSW Opposition Leader, Chris Minns, on left. Photo supplied

The NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year is Lynda Edwards, who was born in Bourke, lived most of her life in Wilcannia, and who has devoted her career to improving the lives of indigenous women in remote and regional communities.

Lynda, a Wangkumara and Barkindji woman, was honoured for her work in advocating for improved policies and support for indigenous people in the financial sector, particularly women, who she said were disadvantaged and at risk of financial stress.

Also honoured as Aboriginal Woman of the Year, Lynda Edwards has dedicated her life to opening pathways for indigenous people to have financial equality.

Now based in Narromine, Lynda works as the Coordinator for Financial Capability with Financial Counselling Australia and is a powerful voice at a national level for First Nations people.

“The work I do is significant because it looks at systemic financial issues impacting First Nations people and my role is in advocacy and lobbying around that,” Lynda said.

“What financial services and government need to understand is that money has only been in First Nations communities for a short space of time, since colonisation.

“As recently as the 1960s, First Nations people were excluded from the economy and although they were allowed to work, they were often not allowed to earn their own money, they endured stolen wages, could not own their own home, or choose where they wanted to live, so that has been a real challenge to overcome.

“Money has only been in our society for a hundred years, so it is hard to catch up to a society where money has been part of that society for thousands of years.

“We have come along in leaps and bounds with First Nations people running their own businesses, working in banks and in prominent roles in financial services, and government, but there is still a barrier for many people regarding financial literacy.

“I used to work with clients on the ground as a financial capability worker, running financial literacy workshops to build capacity in communities, then financial counselling around crisis supports in times of financial hardship.

“Now my role is in policy work, getting financial services to understand that their policies and internal procedures are not fit for purpose for First Nations people,” she said.

Lynda’s award has already elevated the conversation about financial equality and inclusion for First Nations people and she said it had opened the doors to the offices of policy makers.

“I sit on a number of significant committees, including the Australian Banking Association Consumer Outcomes group, I talk to bank executives, and sit on the Telecommunications Group as Co-Chair, and some of the utility services such as Origin Energy. […]

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