ACOSS Board

TONY REIDY, President

Tony Reidy was first elected President of the Australian Council of Social Service for a two-year term commencing in January 2016, and was re elected for a third term in October 2018. He was chief executive of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service for five years to June 2015.

From April 2016 until August 2017 Tony carried out a transitional role as chief executive of Alzheimer’s Australia Tasmania as the new Dementia Australia organisation was being formed.

He is an appointed University Associate, and was an honorary Advisory Board Member of the University of Tasmania’s Institute for the Study of Social Change until September 2017.

Tony Reidy was chief executive of medical research institute the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation for ten years, has held a number of senior roles in the public and private sectors. He is a former chief-of-staff to State Government ministers and a Federal senator, and a ministerial policy adviser at state and federal level.

Tony has more than thirty years’ experience in public and private sector corporate governance, including twenty-five years as a part-time director and then board chair of MyState Bank and its antecedents.

He also has a lifelong involvement in voluntary community sector governance in diverse areas such as unemployment support, skills training, early childhood education and international charities.


CONNIE DIGOLIS, Deputy President

Connie Digolis is the CEO of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT). Prior to that, Connie was Executive Officer for the National Stroke Foundation in Tasmania. Connie brings to her role a wealth of experience in community sector management, advocacy, health promotion and policy.

 The Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT) is a member based peak body, representing and promoting the interests of community managed mental health services. MHCT has a strong commitment to enabling better access and outcomes for individuals, families and carers and our communities.

Connie would like to see a Tasmania that is forward thinking and innovative in the mental health sector. Connie looks forward to a time when we can refer to our mental health system as an excellent example of person-centred, integrated care that provides the best mental health outcomes for all Tasmanians.


PETER McNAMARA, Treasurer

Peter joined Good Shepherd Microfinance in 2012, and has over 20 years of Executive experience in the civil and corporate sectors, including as General Manager of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and was recently appointed Chief Executive Officer, responsible for leading the strategic direction of the organisation in collaboration with the Board. Peter has qualifications from Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Melbourne Business School, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Peter is a Board Director and Treasurer of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the peak body for poverty and inequality. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the Shared Value Project.


MATT GARDINER

Matt is the Executive Director of Australian Services at Save the Children Australia. He has significant sector experience across the areas of child protection, family therapy, relationship counselling, mediation, sexual assault and violence prevention. Passionate about social justice, improving systems and therapeutic practice, Matt is an experienced practitioner and has held senior executive roles in some of Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisations in a career spanning nearly two decades.


Hayden Patterson

Hayden is the National President of the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, and is a very active campaigner fighting punitive measures facing unemployed and underemployed Australians such as Work for the Dole, Compulsory Income Management, Mutual Obligations etc., and continues to campaign for a Raise to the Rate of Newstart. Hayden sits on both the ‘Reference Group’, and ‘Working Group’ with the New Employment Services Trial representing the jobseeker experience and voices to the Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business.  He is also PLSA (Positive Life South Australia) representative within the NAPWHA (National Association for People with HIV & AIDS) community.

An active volunteer, lobbyist, campaigner and advocate within the community and social services sector, Hayden volunteers and facilitates training and events with the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, SameshSA/ShineSA, was the ‘Raise the Rate’ Campaign Coordinator for the Anti-Poverty Network SA, and continues working with the Anti-Poverty Networks of Australia. Hayden is a speaker, facilitator and Coordinator with the People’s Health Movement Oz, and is also a member of the Accountable Income Management Network, and recently founded the Worldwide Coalition of Unemployed Workers’ Unions.

Through his many roles, Hayden presents and voices the lived experiences at events and conferences on local, State, National and International levels encompassing the lived experiences of the many members of the many organisations he continues to represent.

During this year, Hayden will also be a participant in the Centre for Australian Progress 2020 Fellowship.


Mary Sayers

Mary Sayers – Chief Executive Officer
BA, Grad Dip HR, MCom, GAICD

Mary Sayers joined Children and Young People with Disability (CYDA) as Chief Executive Officer in July 2019. Over her career she has worked across policy and research, advocacy and service delivery to progress positive outcomes for children and young people, and the broader determinants of social wellbeing. She has family experience of disability as a parent, and is a passionate advocate for the rights of children and young people.

Her previous roles have been Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) for almost five years, Manager, Children, Young People and Families at the City of Whittlesea and Associate Director of translational research, policy and service development and the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

She was on the Board of Management of QEC Early Parenting Centre for eight years including two years as chair of the board. She is a current board member of the Australian Council of Social Service.


Violet Roumeliotis

Violet Roumeliotis AM is a social entrepreneur who champions the strengths of our diverse communities. Through her C-suite and board roles, Violet uses innovation and collective impact to promote social justice and inclusion.

She is the CEO of Settlement Services International, a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other vulnerable individuals to achieve their full potential. During her eight years as CEO, Violet has taken SSI from a Sydney-based organisation with 68 staff to an 800-plus workforce that supports more than 37,600 people nationally each year.

Violet is committed to achieving equity, and advancing diversity and inclusion in all forms. In 2020, she was made a member of the Order of Australia for outstanding service to the community. Violet is also a former Telstra Australia Business Woman of the Year, has been named one of AFR’s Top 100 Women of Influence for 2018 in the category of Diversity & Inclusion and was awarded the title of Community Fellow from Western Sydney University for outstanding service to the community.

Violet sits on the board of the Australian Council of Social Service, Family Planning NSW and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence, and Sexual Assault Council. Her other appointments include the SBS Community Advisory Committee, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity, the UTS Business MBA Advisory Group, the Council on Economic Participation for Refugees, the International Metropolis Steering Committee, the Australian Defence Force’s Chiefs of Service Committee’s diversity and inclusion panel, and the NSW government’s join partnership working group overseeing refugee resettlement.


PETRA HILTON

I became a single mother in 1997 and experienced firsthand the degradation of single mothers by family law courts, the child support agency and Centrelink. Not being comfortable playing the victim I became involved with the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children in 2006, first as a NSW delegate, then as a member of the National Advisory Committee, and since August 2016 as a board member. I have witnessed and participated in the organisation’s resurgence largely through its attention and adherence to governance.

In 2012 I was founding vice president of Friends of Sole Parents assisting in achieving DGR status and initial fundraising. FOSP provides sole parents with specialist support in the community.

Realising that single mothers and their children aren’t the only marginalised members of our society I joined ACOSS and have participated in events such as the ACOSS day of advocacy in Canberra, the video rejecting the welfare reform bill, and post budget sessions with the Federal Treasurer of the day.

Since 2013 I have re-established my career in the finance industry, with attention to compliance and legislation. I am delighted to contribute my professional skills to NCSMC as their treasurer, and look forward to sharing these with ACOSS as well.


DAVID PANTER

David originally trained as a psychologist and has been a Chief Executive in health and social care services for almost 30 years. In the UK he initially worked in the NHS in London and more latterly local government, where he was CE of Brighton & Hove City Council for a number of years before moving to Australia. In 2004 he was recruited to the SA public health system where for over 10 years he led reforms including the development of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. Currently the CE of profit-for-purpose ECH Inc, SA’s biggest provider of housing and support services for older people, David is passionate about enabling people to live well until death in their own home. David is a past President of the Australian Hospitals & Healthcare Association, holds academic appointments with Adelaide University and the University of South Australia, is currently the Chair of the SA Council of Social Service, a Director of ACOSS and a Director of Leading Age Services Australia.