Ms June Oscar is a Bunuba woman, born in Fitzroy Crossing. Ms Oscar’s tireless devotion to preserving culture and protecting children has given her a prominent place in the Aboriginal community in WA.
June is an advocate for the preservation of culture in the Kimberley and its value for young Aboriginal people. She chairs the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and is a member of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre.
In 2007 June and other women of Fitzroy Crossing decided to take action against the “rivers of grog” that were seen as the source of many social problems in the region. She lobbied government to impose a ban on full-strength takeaway alcohol in the region. This journey was documented in the film Yajilarra.
The rise in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) was one of the catalysts for Ms Oscar’s work. In 2009 Ms Oscar was involved in establishing the Lililwan Prevalence Study into FASD with the George Institute in Sydney and is a chief investigator on that project.
June has also displayed her talents in the education arena, developing a curriculum for an Indigenous Knowledge Program for Wesley College in Victoria and as a member of a number of education-related committees. Since 2010 she has been a Council Member of the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
In 2009 and 2012 she was an Australian Delegate to the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues in New York. In 2010, Ms Oscar and her colleague Emily Carter were WA finalists in the Australian of the Year Local Hero award.
June is the recipient of the prestigious Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship in 2016. The award celebrates individuals doing extraordinary work in reconciliation. Chairman of the Fellowships, Dr Charles Lane, lauded Ms Oscar's ability to bring about constructive discussion between conflicting and often angry groups.
In 2017 June was appointed as Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
What has June been saying?
- Foetal alcohol syndrome: Fitzroy Valley leader June Oscar hopes study brings long-term change, 720 ABC Radio Perth, 20 January 2015
- The Hard Truths for a Community Fighting Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2015
- Children priority in bid to build community, The West Australian, 27 November 2012
- Mabo Lecture - National Native Title Conference 2017, Australian Human Rights Commission