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2016 Early Career Recipient, College of Arts, Society and Education
Mr Peterson Opio is the Executive Manager of the Ambassadors and Advocates Program for White Ribbon Australia.
Mr Opio has experience in executive management, and bringing innovative entrepreneurship to not-for-profit organisations.
Throughout his career, he has shown dedication, integrity, and leadership in improving and addressing some of the societal injustices and inequalities in Australian society.
Graduating from James Cook University in 2011, he took on the role of Chief Executive Officer of Bamaga Bubu Ngadimunku Inc (PRON: BA-MAH-GAH BOO-BOO NADA-MUN-GOO) a not-for-profit association that represents the cultural, social, and economic aspirations of the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community, the Kuku Yalanji Rainforest People of Gorge, in Far North Queensland.
He provided strategic management to a dedicated team of 40 staff members, utilising his analytical skills acquired while studying at JCU, to manage the housing, social welfare, infrastructure, employment and training needs of the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community.
As CEO of the association, Mr Opio had a number of notable achievements.
He negotiated with the Federal and State Governments to produce the Mossman Gorge Strategic Implementation Plan, a legally binding document to record the hopes and desires of the Mossman Gorge Community to align its health, economic, and education goals.
He also led the negotiations with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) on the sale of the organisation’s Indigenous tourism operations.
The agreement was complex: inclusive of the sale of the existing tourism operations in exchange for a $20 million dollar commitment from the ILC to develop the infrastructure for a tourism facility for the Mossman Gorge, and a business plan to invest future revenue into the community.
This idea behind the agreement was to provide both a short and long term solution, increasing training and jobs opportunities.
In 2013, Mr Opio was named Young Manager of the Year finalist in the Cairns region in the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards.
In 2014, he also hosted his Excellency the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, on his historic visit to the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community.
Mr Opio’s passion for advocacy led him to become a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2014, advocating about the positive role that men can play to prevent abuse against women.
In 2015, Mr Opio was offered and accepted the role of Executive Manager of the Ambassadors & Advocates Program at White Ribbon Australia.
In managing the program, Mr Opio provides advice on the diverse ways that men are able to contribute as role models in their communities to engage and inspire other men while working alongside women, to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s abuse of women in all its forms.
Mr Opio received a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Criminology, Politics and International Relations at James Cook University in 2012.