Indigenous financial rights advocate's heart on display
Lynda Edwards has dedicated her life to financial security for Indigenous women and calling out unethical banking techniques targeting First Nations people.
The Wangkumara and Barkandji woman has spent almost two decades sharing financial expertise with her community in the far west of NSW.
Her advocacy and commitment to her community has led to her being awarded the 2023 NSW Woman of the Year.
She also represented her community at the banking royal commission, where she gave evidence about the barriers to financial security for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.
Before her work in the sector, Ms Edwards worked as a liaison officer with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and with NSW Police.
"I am surrounded by strong women. This isn't just about me, it's a journey of everyone that works in the financial literacy space for First Nations people," Ms Edwards said on Thursday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the work of Ms Edwards had resulted in significant improvements to financial support provided to Indigenous people.
Ms Edwards was among 34 women and girls recognised in the awards.
Gynaecologist Rebecca Deans was named the woman of excellence for her endometriosis research and performing Australia's first uterine transplant.
Sexual consent activist Chanel Contos was crowned young woman of the year and the community hero award went to Marry Hollingworth from the Rural Women's Network.
Youth support worker Gayle Dunn was named regional woman of the year and the "one to watch" was Haniya Syed, a young artist and technology enthusiast.