Debbie Coombes, is a Takarringuwi (Mullet tribe) woman from Pirlangimpi. She joined the TITEB Board in October 2017.
Debbie’s vision for TITEB in 2023:
Education is still number one. If we want Tiwi to take over from TITEB staff in Darwin or on the community, they need the education first. Education is not only in the schools, but also having those career pathways, so people can work towards something, no matter how slowly, as long as they know where they’re heading. That is still big for me, that’s what we would love to see.
Debbie went to Pularumpi Primary School at Pirlangimpi and completed her secondary education at Mount Saint Bernards College in Herberton on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland. When she finished school, her father Graeme marched her up to the council office for a job and she has been working ever since, working her way up from reception to administration, finance and payroll. She also worked at the Pularumpi School, TITEB and Department of Human Services.
Debbie is currently employed by Top End Health Services as Health Promotion, Planning and Evaluation Officer and is also completing her Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care. Until recently, she worked as a Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs Worker, and represented the workforce on its Leadership Group. She is keen to see closer links between education and health on the Tiwi Islands, to not only improve health outcomes for the Tiwi but to also see more Tiwis working in the health sector.