Dr Cooms belongs to the Nunukul people of North Stradbroke Island. She has extensive experience leading Indigenous affairs organisations in the community and government sectors. Dr Cooms was a Director of Indigenous Business Australia. Between 2003 and 2008, she was Chief Executive Officer when the Queensland South Representative Body Aboriginal Corporation became the Queensland South Native Title Services.
Dr Cooms has managed units at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in native title and is the Chairperson of the Quandamooka Yoolooburabee Aboriginal Corporation, the prescribed body corporate for Queensland’s Quandamooka people. Dr Cooms has a doctorate in political history from the Australian National University, and was a visiting research fellow in the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) from 2009 to 2012. From 2015, Dr Cooms was offered and accepted Adjunct Professor appointments at Griffith University and University of the Sunshine Coast.
Dr Cooms participated on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the Native Title Act and Report of 2015, a member of the Expert Indigenous Working Group established to guide the COAG Investigation into Indigenous land administration and use, and a member of AIATSIS’ Native Title Research Advisory Committee.