Richard (Richie) Ah Mat is a descendant of the Yupungathi peoples from western Cape York and the Wuthathi people of the eastern Cape region. Born on Thursday Island, and later moving to Weipa, Richie led the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU Weipa Branch) in the mid 1990’s against mining giant Comalco, in the fight against individual contracts. In 1997, Richie was elected as the Chairperson of the Cape York Land Council, an Aboriginal organisation appointed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs as the Native Title Representative Body for the Cape York region. Richie held this role for 4 years before serving as the Land Council’s Executive Director for a further 4 year period. In 2009, Richie returned to the role of Chairperson and has held the role since.
Richie is the co-chairperson of the Cape York Partnership group and serves on the board of Good to Great Schools Australia, Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, the Forestry Industry Advisory Council, Bama Civil and Construction Services, Cape York Girl Academy and Djarragun College.
Richie was elected as a founding member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and is committed to the promotion of economic and social development of First Nations people of Cape York and across the nation.