Tony kelly, chief executive officer

Tony has nearly four decades experience working with Traditional Owners across the country. He is passionately committed to ensuring Traditional Owners have their rights and interests respected and self-determination recognised.

His ability to collaborate with people to find solutions to complex problems under rapidly shifting circumstances is second to none. Tony brings together a history of managerial and field experience that encompasses environmental science, community development and law. These are skills that combined with his emotional intelligence; empathy and professionalism create a perfect combination in the role as CEO.




Prior to joining First Nations in 2014, Catherine worked as a corporate and commercial lawyer in private practice. In addition to acting for a broad range of public and private sector clients, she had a strong pro bono practice focussed on advising not-for-profit and indigenous organisations including ongoing post-determination legal and governance support to the native title holders in Broome.

Catherine brings over ten years of legal expertise to her role as Managing Lawyer, and has a particular interest in how the native title and settlement regimes interact with other legal frameworks. She is committed to using her diverse range of skills and experience to support traditional owners achieve land justice outcomes in Victoria and to build sustainable representative corporations.


daniel kelly, managing lawyer

Dan was admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW in 2005, and initially practiced in Sydney with commercial law firms M + K Lawyers and Norton White.

In 2009 Dan took up the role of Senior Solicitor at the Central Land Council, acting for traditional Aboriginal land owners in remote Central Australia on a range of matters including exploration and mining projects, post-Intervention land tenure arrangements, indigenous corporate structuring and governance, and advising on the use of mining royalties for community development purposes.

Dan was later appointed Legal Practice Manager at the Central Land Council, overseeing a team of lawyers responsible for providing legal advice in relation to all public and private activities on Aboriginal land.

Dan has represented traditional owners in land access negotiations relating to the construction of the National Broadband Network infrastructure and the North-East Gas Interconnector. He also advised traditional owners on the hand back of title for the West McDonnell and Watarrka National Parks and later worked in conjunction with the Environmental Defenders Office NT to bring an application under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act to prevent hydraulic fracturing exploration in Watarrka National Park.

In 2015 Dan was a founding member of Australian Lawyers for Remote Aboriginal Rights (ALRAR), and still provides pro bono support and advice to the organisation. He is currently involved in efforts to aid residents in the remote community of Santa Teresa in legal action seeking enforcement of tenants’ rights, and redress for the poor provision of housing services in the community.

Dan holds a BA majoring in English and Political Science and an LLB from Western Sydney University.


Jill joined First Nations in 2011 as a policy officer before joining the legal team in 2012. She is passionately committed to supporting Traditional Owners settle their claims for land justice in Victoria. Prior to studying law, Jill worked as a social worker and manager in the community sector and she brings a broad range of skills and experience to complement her legal skills.

Jill has a Bachelor of  Laws (Honours) from La Trobe University and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work from Melbourne University. For more than a decade,  Jill has been on the board of ANTaR, an independent national network of organisations and individuals working in support of Justice, Rights and Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.



Dilruk joined First Nations as an accountant in 2005 and was appointed the Director of Corporate Services in 2016.

Dilruk is a qualified accountant, who has been with First Nations for 13 years. Dilruk is a fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK. She has more than 30 years of experience in finance in not-for-profit and commercial sector organisations in Australia and Sri Lanka.

Dilruk holds a Master of Management (Monash University).