Fiona is currently employed as a Senior Research Fellow at Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research and at James Cook University, as well as undertaking consultancies for government and non-government organisations.
As Senior Research Fellow at Jumbunna, Fiona is working on a First Nations Access to Justice project aimed at improving First Nations civil/family law access to justice. This project seeks to better understand how First Nations peoples define access to justice (as processes and outcomes) in the areas of tenancy, consumer/credit and debt, social security, child protection and discrimination. She is also completing an evaluation of the NT Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
Fiona has explored access to justice in other recent projects. She has, for example, completed an evaluation of an initiative for NT Legal Aid which employs social workers alongside lawyers to meet psychosocial needs of those caught up in the justice or child protection systems. She has also recently completed a 2-year evaluation of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Justice Partnership based in Cairns and a report on First Nations civil and criminal law access to justice issues in the Barkly region of the NT. Her thesis considered access to justice in the area of race discrimination.
Fiona has worked alongside NT and QLD communities with justice reinvestment (JR). JR is a framework that uses community development approaches to reducing incarceration, with some focus in Australia on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration (and strengthening self-determination as a response to incarceration). She is currently working as JR data and research consultant with Just Reinvest NSW in Moree and Mt Druitt. Fiona has previously convened Justice Reinvestment Network Australia, a network bringing together communities implementing JR and their supporters, as well as academic and government advocates of JR.
Fiona has worked from early 2011 at JCU. She was a Senior Researcher within the Justice and Social Inclusion Unit at the Cairns Institute, JCU for the Indigenous Legal Needs Project (ILNP). The ILNP, an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, was the first comprehensive exploration of the civil and family law needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nationally. Fiona also taught human rights and related subjects to staff of Papua New Guinea’s Department of Justice at JCU. She has worked on a place-based collective impact project focused on improving outcomes for children (0-12) in the southern corridor of Cairns.
Prior to working at JCU, Fiona taught legal studies at Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney and worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission as a conciliator of race and human rights complaints. She has also worked at Community Legal Centres in the NT and NSW as a generalist solicitor and a family violence and Aboriginal outreach solicitor.