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Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

QAIHC pays respect and tribute to former CEO, Mr Cleveland Fagan.

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QAIHC Chairman Matthew Cooke and Acting CEO Paula Arnol acknowledge and pay tribute to QAIHC’s former CEO, Mr Cleveland Fagan, who unexpectedly passed away on 10 June 2024.

Cleveland was a long-serving health leader in the ACCHO Sector in Queensland, including roles as a Board Member and CEO of QAIHC and CEO of Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

A proud Djabugay man from Kuranda, Cleveland was passionate about addressing the health inequities and social determinants facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal Administration) from the University of South Australia and the Northern Arizona University in 1993, Cleveland worked for the Queensland government in areas like cultural heritage, economic development and land management.

Cleveland’s journey to the health sector came via the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, the Indigenous Land Corporation in Brisbane, the North Queensland Land Council (as CEO), Queensland Health and board member of Wuchopperen Health Service.

After his appointment as CEO of Apunipima Cape York Health Council in 2006, he tripled their workforce and income over the 11 ½ years he was there.

Cleveland then worked with the Yarrabah Leaders’ Forum, before taking up a role as QAIHC’s Acting CEO in December 2020. The QAIHC Board unanimously appointed him CEO in May 2021.

As CEO, Cleveland worked closely on Making Tracks Together – the Queensland Government’s strategic framework in partnership with the ACCHO Sector, to drive health equity, eliminate institutional racism across the public health system and achieve life expectancy parity for First Nations people by 2031.

In 2023, Cleveland resigned from QAIHC to focus on the work of Yarrabah Leaders’ Forum.

Cleveland is survived by his wife Ruth, children and grandchildren. He was also the brother of Jason Fagan, QAIHC’s Regional Manager Northern Queensland and son of Uncle Bernie Singleton, a former Board Member of QAIHC.

We are greatly saddened by the sudden loss of Cleveland. We have been in contact with his family to express our deepest condolences. We now celebrate his life and his significant contribution to the health and well-being of the people and communities of Cape York and Queensland more broadly.

Yours sincerely,       


Matthew Cooke          Paula Arnol
Chairman                     A/Chief Executive Officer

Click here to download this statement as a PDF.