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Tony McAvoy

About Tony

Tony McAvoy SC, is a Wirdi man from the Clermont region of Central Queensland. He was born and raised in Brisbane. He studied law at the Queensland University of Technology graduating in 1988 and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland the same year. He practiced as a solicitor until 1994 when took a position in the NSW Government. During this period he worked for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Legal Service (SEQ) on a number of occasions, including as instructing solicitor on the Daniel Yock CMC Inquiry.


From 1996 to 1999 he was the Manager, of Heritage and Natural Resources at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (NSW) performed many roles including leading negotiations on behalf of Aboriginal groups in the Regional Forest negotiations. In 2000 he was admitted as a barrister in the Supreme Court of NSW. He has since successfully represented many native title holders in the Federal Court of Australia, and appeared regularly in a variety of jurisdictions including coronial inquiries, criminal courts and human rights matters. Between 2011 and 2013 held an Acting Part Time Commissioner’s position sitting on the NSW Land and Environment Court.


In 2015 he was appointed as Senior Counsel, the first First Nations person to receive such an appointment. In 2016 he was appointed to the role of Co-Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (Don Dale). In 2018 he received the QUT Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award. He chairs various professional committees for the NSW Bar Association, Law Council of Australia, and the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration. He is a founding member of the First Nations Clean Energy Network, and interim Director of the newly established Queensland First Nations Tourism Council. He is member of the advisory board on the Climate Ready Initiative and a member of the Australian Academy of Law. He has given evidence at numerous parliamentary inquiries on various matters, and has spoken at a multitude of conferences on issues including First Nations over-incarceration, treaties and truth commissions, First Nations heritage protection, constitutional reform, human rights and climate change.


He is presently holding appointment as the Commissioner on the NSW Independent Planning Commission, Acting Treaty Commissioner for the Northern Territory, and is Co-Senior Counsel Assisting the Yoorrook Justice Commission in Victoria. He is Chairperson and an owner of Didgenet Pty Ltd, a tech company, and a Director of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.

In 2022, he was elected as a director of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, and appointed to the Federal Government Referendum Working Group and Referendum Engagement Group

Tony McAvoy.PNG
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