Cheryl Axleby

Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (SA)

Cheryl is a proud Narungga woman with family ties across South Australia (SA). Since 2012 Cheryl has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Incorporated.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, (10 working in SA Government), Cheryl has worked towards achieving social justice and equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in South Australia. During her career with SA Government, Cheryl was a strong advocate for cultural inclusion within Government services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cheryl has 25 years’ experience working within law and justice and has held the position of Chairperson of the Women’s Legal Service of South Australia, Alternate Deputy Chairperson of the then ATSIC Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council, member of the Correctional Services Advisory Board to the Minister and Board member of Dame Roma Mitchell. She currently holds positions as a board member of Seeds Of Affinity, Reconciliation SA, Justice Re-investment SA Working Group and the SA Coalition for Social Justice. At present, Cheryl also Co-Chairs for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service and Co-Chair’s Change the Record.

Before becoming CEO of ALRM, Cheryl developed cultural training programs within Families SA, was Manager of the Metropolitan Aboriginal Youth & Family Services from 2005-2010, and a Manager of the Families SA office in the northern metro region. Cheryl is very supportive of Reconciliation initiatives and actively plays a role in raising awareness of the issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly the impact of colonization and poverty. She works on and conducts training programs with agencies/individuals to assist them to actively engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Cheryl’s vision is for every Australian to be ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’ to the issues impacting on the quality of life for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.




Karly Warner is a palawa woman and lawyer who grew up in regional north-east Victoria, on Bangerang and Dhudhuroa country. She is the Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS), the chair of the Australian Legal Assistance Forum and a co-chair of the National Justice Policy Partnership under the National Closing the Gap agreement. Karly is also the CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT).

Previously, Karly was a practicing lawyer at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited, with experience working across criminal, civil, child protection and family law and has a background working in legal policy roles within the then Victorian Department of Justice.

Karly believes people led movements are critical for self-determination, social change and strengthening democracy.


NATSILS Deputy Chair


Nerita Waight


Nerita Waight is a Yorta Yorta and Narrandjeri woman with Taungurung connections. Nerita was first employed at VALS in 2014 as a civil lawyer. Prior to becoming CEO, Nerita had experience across several teams in the organisation including family and children’s law, as well as policy and advocacy.

Nerita has helped expand the work of VALS to meet the needs of Aboriginal communities. Notably establishing Balit Ngulu, a holistic and culturally safe legal service for Aboriginal children. As CEO, Nerita has also overseen the expansion of VALS’ policy and advocacy work, and the establishment of the Wirraway Police and Prison Accountability Practice which has supported clients on several high-profile Aboriginal death in custody cases. Wirraway supported Uncle Percy Lovett, the partner of Veronica Nelson, during the Coronial Inquest into her death in custody.

Nerita is also the mother of two young boys. Ensuring that they grow up with strong connections to their culture and kin, and in a world that is safer for Aboriginal people, is a key motivation for Nerita’s work.


Nerita Waight

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Nerita completed her Bachelor of Arts and Laws at Melbourne University in 2011 whilst undertaking a cadetship through the Australian Taxation Office. In 2012, Nerita commenced a traineeship with the Victorian Government Solicitors Officer where she was able to undertake her practical legal training whilst undertaking exciting work in various branches.

In 2014, Nerita commenced working at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service which she commenced as a civil lawyer then moved to the family and youth team. In late 2016, Nerita moved into a dual role, undertaking both legal casework and policy work and was able to establish Balit Ngulu, a specialist legal service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Nerita is currently in the process of completing her Masters of Law at the University of Melbourne and hope these studies will continue to foster her passion for social justice and equity and help her discover innovative ways to solve the justice issues plaguing her community. 

natsils is in the process of recruiting. KEEP an eye on our careers section.