Dr Cassandra Goldie | Chief Executive Officer
Cassandra Goldie has been CEO since July 2010. With public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights, Cassandra has represented the interests of people who are disadvantaged, and civil society generally, in major national and international processes as well as in grassroots communities. Prior to joining ACOSS, Cassandra has held senior roles in both the NFP and public sectors, including as Director of Sex and Age Discrimination with the Australian Human Rights Commission, Director and Principal Solicitor with the Darwin Community Legal Service and Senior Executive with Legal Aid in Western Australia. Cassandra has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and a Masters of Law from University College London. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Cassandra serves on the Advisory Committee for the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, as a member of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality and Law Advisory Committees and on the Management Committee of the International Council of Social Welfare.
Cassandra was recognised as one of the Inaugural Westpac/Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence in 2012 and selected as an AFR/BOSS True Leader in 2013. In 2014, she was voted one of the Impact 25 Most Influential People in the Social Economy and recognised by the AFR in 2015 on their Annual Overt Power List.
Edwina MacDonald | Director of Policy and Advocacy
Edwina joined ACOSS in January 2017 to lead ACOSS’s policy and advocacy team, bringing extensive policy experience from the community sector, academia and government in local, national and global contexts. She brings strong skills in collaborative advocacy, and experience in working with community members to amplify their voices in the policy process. Edwina has led policy reform agendas for Women’s Legal Services NSW and Australia, UNSW’s Kingsford Legal Centre and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights; directed research projects at UNSW’s Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law; and worked as a policy advisor in federal government. She has also worked as a solicitor, and lectured in law reform and public interest law. In 2009 Edwina was named the NSW Woman Lawyer of the Year in a Community Organisation. She has a Master of Policy Studies, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from UNSW. Edwina serves on the Board of the Intellectual Disability Rights Service.
Jacqueline Phillips | Director of Policy and Advocacy (on leave)
Jacqueline Phillips joined ACOSS as the Director of Policy and Advocacy 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.
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.
Kellie Caught | Senior Advisor
Kellie joined ACOSS in 2017 to provide expert policy advice and advocacy in energy and climate. For the last ten years, Kellie managed WWF-Australia’s climate program where she specialised in international climate negotiations, domestic climate and energy policy, and raising awareness of climate change issues and policy solutions within the Australian community. She has strong skills in cross sector collaboration and political advocacy, gained from working in academia, the United Nations, government and the not for profit sector. She has collaborated with scientists, researchers, businesses, unions, climate groups, and community members to develop long-term plans and policies and build support among decision-makers for a cleaner, more sustainable future. Kellie has a Master in International Business and a Bachelor of Science. She also carries post graduate qualifications in Psychology.
Charmaine Crowe | Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer
Charmaine joined ACOSS in June 2016 and leads ACOSS’s social security policy work. Charmaine gained her expertise in social security policy working for Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA), where she was a Senior Policy Advisor and Policy Coordinator. She has also worked as a legislative advisor in the NSW Parliament. Charmaine has a Master’s in International Health and Welfare Policy from Oslo University College and her policy expertise also covers the areas of ageing, health and housing.
John Mikelsons | Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer
John currently leads ACOSS policy advocacy in the community services and health policy areas. John has significant experience working in the non-government sector, including periods working at QCOSS, NCOSS, the Queensland AIDS Council and in the trade union movement. John has also worked in government, in policy areas as broad as education, health, industrial relations, community services and youth justice. John has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts, and is currently completing a PhD in social policy at the University of Queensland.
Michael Raper | Special Advisor
Currently with ACOSS as Senior Advisor, for the eight years until February 2016, Michael Raper was Director of Australian Services and International Operations at Australian Red Cross, with responsibility for the design, implementation and evaluation of all services and programs in Australia and internationally. Prior to that he was the Director of the Welfare Rights Centre in Sydney for 18 years. During this time he was also founding President of the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN); President of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) (1996- 2002); President, International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW), Asia Pacific (2002-2008); Global Treasurer and Deputy President, ICSW (2002-2004); and President of the Mandela Foundation of Australia (1990-97). Before Welfare Rights, Michael held the positions of: General Secretary, NSW Independent Education Union; Founding President, Independent Teachers Federation of Australia; and Director, ACTU Overseas Aid. He was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal by Human Rights Australia in 2002 and the Justice Medal by the Law & Justice Foundation in 2007.
Nicole Stanmore | Director of Business Development, Stakeholder Engagement and Operations
Nicole joined ACOSS in 2016 after spending 8 years working in the international development sector most recently as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) for World Education Australia/Good Return where during her time there the organisation tripled its funding base helping more than 1 million people in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to Good Return, Nicole’s experience includes consulting for Railcorp, the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a long tenure working for the Australian Trade Commission in Sydney, New York and Santiago. Nicole has a law degree from the University of Chile and a Master of Business Administration (M.BA) from Cambridge University in the U.K where she received a scholarship to fund her Masters thesis on sustainable development issues in the mining industry.
Kylie Smith | Events and Membership Officer
Kylie joined ACOSS in July 2017 as Events and Membership Officer. Previously Kylie was responsible for the organisation of events at the Australian Farm Institute. Kylie has also worked as a Desktop Publisher at Sydney Water and as a Graphic Designer and then Studio Coordinator at KPMG Consulting in London. Kylie is passionate about working in the not-for-profit sector.
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 has played a big role in helping to raise the pubic profile of Australia’s peak welfare body, particularly in the media. He is committed to social justice issues and human rights, and is passionate about people, culture, the environment, and travel.
Kate Finlayson | Media Advisor
Kate joined ACOSS in early 2017 following nearly eight years driving media and campaigns with Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT). She was previously a journalist and producer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation before moving into community and public relations in 2002. She has negotiated media, engagement and campaign outcomes for government and not for profit in urban, regional and rural Australia and in Indonesia including with AusAid, USAid, ABC International Development, Socom Public Relations, Just Reinvest NSW, Northern Territory Treasury, Tangentyere Council and Tanami Network. She has a Master in International Development and post graduate qualifications in adult education and training, and has published one novel.
Penny Dorsch | Communications and Information
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).
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, HR and Administration 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 completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Management in 2011 and gained her Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) in 2015. Renata is committed to the principles of equity and diversity and passionate about sport.
Amy Simmons | Engagement and Events (on leave)
Erin Snelgrove | Executive Assistant to the CEO
Erin Snelgrove joined ACOSS in October 2016 as Executive Assistant to Cassandra Goldie. Erin has significant experience as an Executive Assistant at CEO and Director level in both Government and the NFP sectors including the violence against women sector. Erin’s experience has been varied, from freelance design primarily for NGOs, to working as a policy support officer at Domestic Violence NSW and having managed complex logistics for high level officials in Washington DC. Erin holds a BA in Design. She is passionate about social justice and enjoys spending time with her young son.
Brendan Wylie | Administration and Project Support Officer
Brendan joined ACOSS in March 2017. Prior to joining ACOSS Brendan coordinated various offices, campaigns and projects within campaign organisations in Sydney NSW. He is currently completing a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Science with University of Sydney. A plucky young fellow just starting his career, Brendan is passionate about helping to create a more socially just world.
Mai Nguyen | Finance Officer