Tony McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont. He is also a native title holder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland.
Tony commenced work in 1983 at the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as an articled clerk. He studied part time at QUT. He graduated and was admitted as a solicitor in 1988. He continued to practice as a solicitor working in private practice and at the ATSILS, with some travel, until 1994. In 1994 he was employed in a policy position in the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, later appointed as Manager of the Heritage and Natural Resources Branch, and served 18 months as Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.
In January 2000 he was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW. He was worked extensively in criminal law, administrative law including disciplinary tribunals, coronial inquests, discrimination law, but in recent years has largely practiced in the area of native title. Tony has successfully represented the Githabul, Quandamooka, Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta, Kullilli, Barngarla and in November 2017 the Gooreng Gooreng people in native title claims in the Federal Court.
In August 2016 he was appointed Co-Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
In 2017 he was advisor to and negotiator for the Narungga People in their treaty negotiations with the State of South Australia. He has advised on the Victoria Treaty Advancement Bill, written numerous papers and spoken nationally and internationally on treaties and truth commissions on many occasions.
In 2018 he was the QUT Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
In 2010 Tony was awarded the Inaugural National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award From 2011 to 2013, Tony held an appointment as an Acting Part-Time Commissioner on NSW Land and Environment Court. Tony is the current co-chair of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia, and the Chair of the NSW Bar Association’s First Nations Committee. He is a trustee of the NSW Bar Associations Indigenous Barristers Trust.