Our Team

Paul Newman - Chief Executive Officer

Paul Newman is the newly appointed CEO of the Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation Ltd, (MPREC).

Paul believes a core part of the MPREC vision going forward, is continuing to build upon the corporation’s rich journey and many achievements to date, to ensure continued growth and sustainability of the corporation in coming years.  He believes in drawing on the corporation’s rich history as a peak service provider to actively service and work with local Aboriginal people and families, in striving to enhance socio-economic outcomes.

A ‘grass roots’ Wiradjuri man originating from Condobolin in Central West NSW, Paul brings over 35 years industry work experience within the broad ambit of Aboriginal affairs, particularly within the Aboriginal community, business and economic development areas.

He has held numerous senior executive management roles within the corporate, public and community sectors over the years, including former senior executive service position of Executive Director, Community Programs with NSW Aboriginal Affairs, and being a former CEO of Gandandara Local Aboriginal Council in Liverpool, Sydney.

Paul also has a successful corporate business, governance and company Director background, being the Founder of Australia’s first national online Aboriginal corporate business portal, Black Pages.

He has also held various Board roles on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal not for profit corporation Boards, including being a former Chairperson of the NSW Reconciliation Council, and a current Board Member of Australia’s oldest family relationships corporation “Interrelate”, along with having numerous Ministerial appointments over the years, including being a former Board Member of the University of Western Sydney.

To complement Paul’s diverse hands on industry work experience, he also has relevant tertiary qualifications, with a Bachelor of Business (B.Bus), and Master of Arts (MA) in Communications and Cultural Studies, through the University of Western Sydney, being the university’s first Aboriginal, Bachelor of Business graduate.

Mellissa Bourke - Operations Manager

Mellissa oversees a number of departments of the organisation, including Finance, Payroll, Legal, IT and Security with all her team members located in Dubbo.

Since she joined MPREC in 2012, Mellissa has continual developed her skills and thrived in a number of positions including Administration Assistant and Payroll and Finance Officer, which truly shows her commitment and passion for the organisation.

Mellissa loves MPREC’s unique service delivery approach and commitment to communities. She describes her experience delivery project outcomes as humbling - it is wonderful to know you have helped make a difference when you see a project go from start to finish and th e impact it has on individuals.

Mellissa uses her skills to drive policies and procedures throughout the business. She is constantly reviewing MPREC’s systems in order to implement lean management practices. She thrives on the diversity of MPREC, particularly in the relationships between all departments.

Mellissa believes the organisation has an exciting future, with a long-term vision already in place for the development of sustainable Social Enterprises. She attributes the success of the organisation not only to the dedicated staff, but also to the many stakeholders involved.

Christine Rieksen - Program Manager

With over 20 years’ experience in the employment and training sector, Christine has commenced with MPREC in the position of Programs Manager, managing a variety of programs throughout the Murdi Paaki Region such as; Remote School Attendance Strategy, Indigenous Youth Support, Wilcannia River Radio.

In her previous positions, Christine has assisted a number of businesses throughout Western NSW to develop a skilled workforce by implementing a professional development.  

Christine brings with her a wealth of knowledge having qualifications in Business and Human Resource Management, Community Services, WH&S.  

Christine feels she has the ability to lead and mentor her team to provide sustainable outcomes for both individual clients and communities.

Michael McDowell (Mick) - Employment Manager

With a wealth of experience in both service delivery and small business management, Mick returns to MPREC as the Bourke based Employment Manager.

He is driven by a passion for engaging and mentoring indigenous people in the community, supporting them  to recognise and seize opportunities.

This, along with his entrepreneurial thinking, helps Mick manage four major contracts alongside his Team Leader: Community Development Program (CDP) in Far West & Upper Darling, Aboriginal Enterprise Development Officer (AEDO), New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP) and the DHS agencies (formerly known as CentreLink). These programs are delivered from sites in Coonamble, Goodooga, Brewarrina, Bourke, Cobar, Wilcannia, Menindee and also through outreach.

Mick believes in the welcoming and supportive nature of MPREC, and looks forward to being able to bring new ideas to the organisation and communities it operates in.

Michael Brown - Team Leader Upper Darling

Michael is currently the Employment Team Leader for the Upper Darling Region based in the Bourke office, providing support to all office staff within the Upper Darling Region. He joined MPREC in October 2015, realising that his expertise and skills could bring opportunities to the Team Leader role.

Michael enjoys the challenges of building a strong team, working towards being the Number One employment provider in Australia and watching the organisation and the team grow. 

Michael believes that MPREC has the potential to do great things within the Upper Darling region, especially through delivering the community development program, which has huge potential to change and create opportunities in people's lives.

Michael has had a diverse work history, from being a shed hand in the shearing industry, to working in earth moving with the cotton industry, and having roles in Community Health, Education and the Mining sector.