Rod Towney – a proud Wiradjuri man, the Director of Aboriginal Education and Equity Provision at TAFE Western and a Dubbo City Councilor has been honored with a Medal for Public Service at this year’s Australia Day celebrations.
Recognised for outstanding service to Aboriginal peoples through his leadership of better service delivery, Mr Towney is humble about his achievements.
“It is a real honor to be acknowledged, but not something I expected.
“I love what I do at TAFE Western and am a valued employee. It is a real privilege to work for an organisation that recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal peoples.”
Under Mr Towney’s leadership TAFE Western has become the single largest provider of vocational education and training for Aboriginal peoples in Australia with approximately 7,000 students each year.
Mr Towney said, “Education opens doors, it leads places. I am passionate about Aboriginal education, my peoples and land.
“At TAFE we have students come in who’ve been on welfare benefits; they begin at lower level courses and work their way up to become doctors, teachers or whatever they dream of.
“We put support services in place to ensure our students succeed and it’s the greatest reward seeing people graduate.”
Despite having worked within the United Nations, many Federal Government agencies and having flown across the world and met with the Queen as well as several heads of state, Mr Towney has a modest beginning which makes him who he is today.
“Dubbo has, and always will be my home.
“I come from a family who didn’t have anything which helps me relate to some students and I always tell them that without education I would not have had the opportunities or experiences I have.”
Mr Towney’s colleagues at TAFE Western are pleased he was recognised with an Australian Public Service Medal.