Dr Jocelyn Jones

Needs of Aboriginal Australians Program Leader
September 2021
An ‘accidental academic’ with a love of photography, Jocelyn's hope for the AOD sector is Aboriginal communities driving change in AOD policy.

This weekend I will...Be sanding my deck and going to Araluen Botanical Park. I have an interest in photography so I will be taking pictures and birdwatching…as long as it’s not raining.

I'd originally planned to work...In health service delivery or public service. It was a bit of an accidental move into research – a scholarship came up and a friend was doing it so I decided to apply and I got a scholarship. I’d done a little bit of research but I never saw myself in academia.

The qualities I most admire in my colleagues are...Loyalty, respect and good communication. I also admire colleagues who can work as a team – I think teamwork is important in every workplace.

I'll never forget...Nice childhood memories with my grandfather. Those memories are always with me and they follow me in decisions that I make. 

If I had more time, I'd...Care for more children through Child Protection Services. I think that’s really what I would like to do if I had more time and more resources.

I'm most scared of...Failing…and snakes – I absolutely hate snakes. I grew up in the country and snakes were regular visitors.

For my next holiday...One of my nieces is getting married in the U.K. next year and I’d really like to go. Before that, I’d like to go Tasmania for a holiday over the Christmas break.

I'm really terrible at...Staying on my feet. I have terrible balance – I’m the only person who can fall out of a kayak. I’m the only one who can fall off a bike. Roller skating, ice skating…I am useless at all of that.

Career wise, I’m most proud of...Finishing my PhD on juvenile justice risk factors. It took a long time to achieve.

The sector's biggest challenge going forward is...Influencing changes in alcohol and other drug policy and legislation, and that filtering down into Aboriginal communities in a meaningful way that can benefit them and allow them to make their own decisions about what happens in their communities.

My big hope for the drug and alcohol sector is...Aboriginal communities take ownership of drug and alcohol issues and influence change through self-determination and ownership. For them to have the resources and knowledge to be able to do that, and for them to work with universities and other institutions to drive some of that change. You need different strategies for Aboriginal communities because mainstream strategies don’t work.

Dr Jocelyn Jones is a Nyoongar woman, with Wadjuk, Ballardong and Palyku connections to the land in Western Australia. She has extensive experience working in health and justice, in both Aboriginal community controlled health services and in senior management positions in the Department of Health in WA. Jocelyn holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and a Masters in Applied Epidemiology.