2017 Symposium Speakers

Alistair Ferguson

Executive Director and Founder, Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project, Bourke, Chairperson, Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party


Alistair Ferguson is a Champion of Just Reinvest NSW and the Executive Director and founder for the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke, NSW. For the last ten years Alistair has been the Chairperson of the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party. In 2008, Maranguka – an overarching strategy to ensure the community’s ongoing wellbeing – emerged as the operational arm of the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party. Justice reinvestment is a core component of the Maranguka initiative.

The Maranguka Just Reinvest model established in Bourke was the first of its kind to be implemented from the concept of the Justice Reinvestment model from the United Kingdom and Canada.

Once establishing the Maranguka Initiative, the Maranguka Backbone Community Organisation was formed with the Bourke Tribal Council as the voice for Bourke’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People.

Alistair’s position of Executive Director has been funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Dusseldorp Skills Forum. Key to Alistair’s community development is the belief in seeing communities truly empowered and taking responsibility for their own issues and plight. In 2015, in recognition of 20 years of work for his community in Bourke, and in particular for his leadership on the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project, Alistair received the Aboriginal Justice Award at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW Justice Awards.

Mr Ferguson was recognised as the driving force behind collaborations between government and non-government organisations including Father Chris O’Reilly’s Youth off the Streets, Eternity Aid, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service, St Vincent de Paul, Jesuit Social Services, and the National Adult Literacy Campaign ‘Yes I Can’ Bourke.

He was also part of the negotiations for the Wangkumara language program, which paved the way for the first Aboriginal language program in the NSW high school curriculum.

Alistair’s commitment to his Community also led him to co-establish the Bourke Alcohol Working Group to address alcohol misuse in Bourke. This led to the successful implementation plan to introduce Alcohol Restrictions.

Alistair also sit on the Aboriginal Reference Group with TAFE Western, Deputy Chair of the Bourke Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory & Consultative Committee, Director for Birrang Enterprise & Development Pty Ltd and former Interim Chair for the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, and Delegate.