Lynda Edwards: NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year recipient
Lynda Edwards was the winner of the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Award and the NSW Premier's Woman of the Year Award at the 2023 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
Lynda Edwards is a proud Wangkumara and Barkandji woman who has been a dedicated voice and volunteer for her community, as well as a passionate advocate for the financial rights, fairness and inclusion of First Nations people across New South Wales and Australia.
Lynda has worked for almost 17 years in the financial sector, initially as a financial capability worker and then as a financial counsellor, sharing her expertise of the financial sector to educate and increase the financial literacy of the First Nations community. She is driven by a genuine sense of purpose and a desire to achieve better, fairer financial outcomes for First Nations people who are frequently the target of unfair dealings and too often fall victim to these practices.
Prior to this, Lynda spent the early part of her career as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer within the NSW Police Force. She then spent 11 years as a finance officer with her local council which led to her joining Catholiccare Wilcannia-Forbes as an Aboriginal Financial Literacy Worker with the ‘Manage Your Income’ Program – a project she would later head up for more than nine years.
Lynda’s work with Catholiccare Wilcannia-Forbes, and then with Financial Counselling Australia as the Coordinator Financial Capability, has been pivotal in leading campaigns calling out unethical sales tactics and building financial health across the region.
She has continued to fight battles against unfair practices targeting First Nations people, including playing a key role in a campaign highlighting Telstra’s mis-selling of telco products to people in remote communities. This ultimately led to Telstra incurring a $50million fine in action brought by the ACCC. She also helped spearhead a First Nations-led campaign on the collapse of Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund/Youpla where thousands of First Nations people have been severely impacted.
Lynda’s work in the financial sector over the past 17 years has resulted in significant improvements in the way financial services engage with, assist and support First Nations people and community. She also plays a vital role in building the capacity of First Nations Financial counsellors and First Nations financial capability workers, and financial counsellors and financial capability workers who work predominately with First Nations People on the ground.