Dr Cassandra Goldie | CEO | Australian Council of Social Service

ACOSS CEO Cassandra GoldieCassandra Goldie joined ACOSS as CEO in July 2010.  Previously, she was Director of the Sex and Age Discrimination Unit at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Cassandra has extensive public policy experience and is a leading advocate and commentator on economic and social issues. She has represented the interests of people who are disadvantaged and those of the community sector in major national debates including through the Prime Minister’s National Panel on Economic Reform (2013), the Ministerial Roundtable on Superannuation (2012/13) and the National Tax Forum (2011).

Cassandra has been appointed to the Federal Government’s National Legal Assistance Advisory Body, National Urban Policy Forum, The National VET Equity Advisory Council (NVEAC), and the ACCC Consultative Committee. In 2013, she was appointed Deputy Chair of the Australian C20 Steering Committee during Australia's Presidency of the G20.

Cassandra has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and is an Associate of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. She has a Masters of Law from University College London, where she was awarded the Cheng Cheng Nan Prize for Public International Law, and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Western Australia. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Cassandra has worked globally as a human rights advocate, including through the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and UN Habitat. She also has grassroots legal practice experience both as a legal aid lawyer and as Director and Principal Solicitor of the Darwin Community Legal Service in the Northern Territory, which won the National Human Rights Award for Community Service during her leadership. Prior to joining ACOSS, she played a central role in major gender equality reforms, including Australia’s first paid parental leave, reforms to sex discrimination and pay equity and ASX corporate governance standards.

In 2012, Cassandra was recognised as one of the Inaugural Westpac/Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence. She was selected as an AFR/BOSS True Leader in 2013.

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine | Deputy CEO  and Director of Sector and Stakeholder Engagement

Tessa joined ACOSS in 2009 with policy responsibility for community services, health and the not-for-profit sector. She has been Deputy CEO since 2011. Through her role at ACOSS she has participated extensively in policy processes with government, the community sector and the business community. She was appointed by the Minister for Health to the National Advisory Council on Dental Health in 2011 and in 2013 she was awarded the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership. Tessa is a graduate of the Company Directors course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to joining ACOSS, Tessa held policy, research, advocacy and management roles in the areas of human rights, mental health law and criminal justice, both domestically and internationally. In 2007 she coordinated the biennial human rights report to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Uganda, 2007) where she was based in New Delhi and worked across the Commonwealth of Nations.  
Tessa’s PhD from the London School of Economics examined executive discretion and the public protection agenda in decisions about the release of mentally disordered offenders. Her book, Protecting the public? Detention and release of mentally disordered offenders was published by Routledge in 2010.

Peter Davidson | Senior Advisor

A recognised expert in social security, employment and tax policy, Peter's research and policy interests include employment assistance, the labour market and unemployment, income support, poverty research, taxation and superannuation policy. He has served on a number of Government advisory bodies and contributed to major reform efforts in these areas. ACOSS publications prepared by Peter cover such topics as reform of the personal income tax system, an analysis of tax concessions for superannuation and proposals to make them fairer, and reform of employment assistance for long term unemployed people. He is currently undertaking a PhD in social policy at the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre.

Penny Dorsch | Publications and Information Officer

Penny is responsible for ACOSS publications, both electronic and print. She undertakes research and is responsible for Information Management and Information and Communications Technology at ACOSS. Prior to joining ACOSS, Penny worked in Information Services at Fairfax Media and as a consultant for the National Parks Association. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of Sydney, a Diploma in Design from TAFE and an MA (Information Management) from the University of Technology in Sydney. She is an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).

Ro Evans | Policy Officer

Ro Evans joined ACOSS in 2012 having worked previously for the Aboriginal Housing Office in NSW, the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. She has a passion for social justice and uses her background in research, policy development and advocacy to pursue change for people experiencing poverty and inequality. At ACOSS her work focuses on social security, poverty and inequality research, structural labour market change, and tax reform. She is project managing ACOSS Poverty and Inequality report series, and leading work on retirement incomes, and labour market demand-led strategies. Ro has a Bachelor Economics (Hons) from the University of Sydney.

Renata Franz | Operations Manager

Renata joined ACOSS in 2012 July and currently holds the position of Operations Manager.  She has global experience in Management, Customer Relations and Administration (in Hungary, Germany and France) and has worked in wide range of industries including construction, hospitality and sport.  Renata studied Economic and Sciences at Technical School and holds an Advanced Diploma in Human Resources. She has completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Management and is currently pursuing her Master degree. Renata is committed to the principles of Equity and Diversity and passionate about sport.

Fernando de Freitas | Media Advisor

Fernando joined ACOSS in October 2010 after a career in journalism and as a political advisor, both in Australia and overseas. He spent over 10 years producing daily radio programs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Local Radio and Radio National in Sydney and Darwin. He also worked in ABC newsrooms and filed news stories from East Timor during the period of Independence between 2000-2002. Fernando is committed to social justice issues and human rights, and is passionate about people, culture, the environment, and travel.

Emily Hamilton | Policy Officer

Emily joined ACOSS in April 2012 to deliver a research project examining the impacts of climate change, including increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, on the community services sector and the individuals and communities they support, which was funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). In April 2013 she was appointed as a permanent member of the ACOSS policy team. Emily’s policy work now focuses on sector development and community services, building the sector’s resilience to climate change and extreme weather impacts, and issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers. Emily holds a First Class Honours degree in Social work from the University of NSW. She has worked in the community services and welfare sector since 2004 and has extensive experience in direct social work practice, social research, project management and policy analysis. Previous roles include casework at the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW, human rights advocacy at Amnesty International Australia, and research at the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and the UNSW School of Social Work.

Shannon Longhurst | Executive and Research Assistant to the CEO

Shannon provides administrative support to the ACOSS office. Shannon has a range of professional and volunteer experience working within the not-for-profit and community sector, and has recently completed a Bachelor of Socio-Legal Studies (Hons Class I) at the University of Sydney. Shannon has previously worked within a community legal centre and has experience working as a research assistant.  She currently sits on the NSW Branch Committee for Amnesty International Australia and is NSW Co-ordinator for Linkz Incorporated; a youth focused not-for-profit established to foster connections and partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Andrea Pape | Project Manager, Energy Efficiency Pathways

Andrea has worked in sustainability programs, environmental regulation and community development before joining ACOSS in 2012.  Andrea’s original training included a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University and Graduate Diploma in Information Technology, which have provided a strong foundation for systems analysis and project/policy design.  She has worked in state Government agencies for 12 years, including the NSW Department of Energy Utilities and Sustainability, and more recently the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage where she delivered climate change funding programs to industry, local government and community groups.  Most recently, Andrea worked on the Home Power Savings Program, and partnered with the community/welfare sector to deliver in-home energy efficiency assistance to low income households.  Andrea is delighted to be managing ACOSS' Energy Efficiency Pathways project.

Jacqueline Phillips | Director, Policy and Campaigns

Jacqueline Phillips joined ACOSS as the Director of Policy and Campaigns in August 2013. From 2010-13, she was the National Director of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and reconciliation advocacy organisation. Jacqueline has a long history of involvement with the COSSes, having previously worked as a Policy Officer at ACOSS and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS). She has policy expertise across a range of areas including social security, housing and homelessness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy issues, community development, human rights and justice.

Louise Stanley | Membership& Stakeholder Engagement Officer

Louise's role at ACOSS includes coordinating events such as sector forums, network meetings, virtual link ups, policy gatherings and most importantly the ACOSS National Conference which is held in March each year. Alongside this, Louise is developing the ACOSS membership strategy and liaises with ACOSS members on key events and policy developments. Louise has recently completed a BA (Social Science) at the University of Sydney and has a diverse range of experience working in community events and community sector organisations. Louise is passionate about social justice and is interested in innovative community development strategies to support disadvantaged communities across Australia.