Richard (Richie) Ah Mat was born on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. His parents are descendants from the east and west coasts of Cape York. Richie’s mother is a Wuthathi woman whose traditional lands cover the ‘white sand’ area around Shelburne Bay on eastern Cape York, while his father was a Yupungathi man whose traditional country can be found on the western side of Cape York between Weipa and Mapoon.
Richie worked for Comalco for 27 years and was the first Aboriginal man to hold the position of President of a Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Lodge.
Richie was elected as Chairperson of the Cape York Land Council in 1997. After serving his fourth term he moved into the position of Executive Director of Cape York Land Council in 2001 and held this position until 2005, before returning as Chairperson in late 2009. Richie is Co-Chair of the Cape York Partnership Group and a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.