Keynote speakers

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Dr Simon Duffy
Director, Centre for Social Welfare Reform

Simon is a philosopher and social innovator who works to improve the welfare state. He is a regular public speaker, consultant and international government policy advisor. Simon is Director of The Centre for Welfare Reform, an independent think tank and research centre, which he founded in 2009. The Centre shares and develops social innovations to promote human rights and equal citizenship for all.

In 1996 Simon founded Inclusion Glasgow to provide radically individualised support to people with complex disabilities. He went on to help create a series of new organisations in Scotland and England to promote equality and inclusion. He has led thinking on self-directed support and individual budgets and from 2003 to 2009 he was CEO of In Control.

Simon has a doctorate in moral philosophy and writes on the welfare state, citizenship, social justice and inclusion. Key publications include Unlocking the Imagination (1996); Keys to Citizenship (2003); Women at the Centre (2011); A Fair Income (2011); Peer Power (2012) and The Unmaking of Man (2013). Simon is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. His awards include the Royal Society for the Arts Prince Albert Medal and the Social Policy Association’s Award for outstanding contribution to social policy.


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Mark Salzer Ph.D
Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University

Mark Salzer Ph.D. is a professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University. He is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, a research and training center funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Dr. Salzer obtained his Bachelor degree with honors in sociology and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical/community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He completed his clinical internship at Yale University and a National Institute for Mental Health-funded postdoctoral fellowship in mental health services research at Vanderbilt University. He has been a faculty member at Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was most recently an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.

Dr. Salzer has been the Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on more than $25 million in research grants (NIDRR, National Institute of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency), has published more than 80 articles and book chapters on the delivery of effective community mental health and rehabilitation services to individuals with psychiatric disabilities, and has given more than 200 presentations on his work around the world.


Other speakers AND PANELLISTS


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Julie Anderson
Consumer Participation Manager, NEAMI National

Julie Anderson is Manager of Consumer Participation Strategy at Neami National. Her role is to support the organisation to implement co-production as a process to strengthen consumer participation across the organisation.

In 2015 Julie completed the National Mental Health Commissions Future Leaders in Mental Health program and is a member of MHA National Register of consumer advocates. Julie has provided advice to Federal and State governments from a lived experience perspective, currently sitting on the NDIS National Mental Health Sector Reference Group and recently was a member of the Expert Working Group for the response to the National Health Commission Review of Mental Health Services. She participates in the Consumer Dialogue Forum with Department of Health and Human Services of Victoria and was on an expert panel to provide advice to Victoria's 10 Year Mental Health Strategy. Julie has published articles on recovery and presented at conferences on peer group programs, consumer participation and recovery.

In 2013 the peer education program co developed with Cassy Nunan, MI Recovery, won a gold award at TheMHS. Julie is a Board Director for Forensic Mental Health Services, Forensicare, in Victoria and sits on the Clinical Governance and Research Sub Committees. Julie has been President of the Board at Neami National. Julie states the best part of her job is the privilege of meeting and working with consumers and supporting their voice and influence.


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Eddie Bartnik
Strategic Adviser on mental health , Local Area Coordination and community capacity building, National Disability Insurance Agency


Eddie Bartnik was appointed as Strategic Adviser to the National Disability Insurance Agency in 2014 and Chairs the Agency’s National Mental Health Sector Reference Group.

Prior to this, Eddie was Western Australia's first Mental Health Commissioner for the period 2010-14, the first position of its kind in Australia. He led mental health reform and oversaw the commissioning of public, private and community sector mental health services to over 46,000 people with a budget in excess of $652m. He joined the mental health sector from his previous position as Acting Director General of the Department for Communities in WA, following a long career and various director positions with the WA Disability Services Commission.

Eddie has worked extensively and published across Australia and overseas in areas of human services reform and individualised funding and personalised support. He is Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability and Chair of the Sponsoring Countries Leadership Group for the International Initiative for Disability Leadership. He holds Masters degrees in clinical psychology from the University of WA and educational studies from the University of Tasmania and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


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Sam Biondo
Executive Officer, Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association

Sam is Executive Officer of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) which is the Victorian AOD peak representing treatment service providers. Its stakeholders and members also include consumers of drug and alcohol related services; those affected by drug and alcohol misuse; members of the broader community and other related sectors.

Sam was previously employed by Fitzroy Legal Service and has a background in education, social work and Criminology. His principal work has involved social research, the production of educational materials and advocacy work. He has a keen interest in social justice, open and transparent systems of institutional accountability and has been involved on a number of community sector Boards, reference committees, and NGO associations


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Dr Lisa Brophy BBSc; BSW; MPolLaw; Ph
Director of Research – Mind Australia and Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne

Lisa has a career long commitment to the mental health field of practice. She has a professional background in Social Work and a Masters in Policy and Law. Her PhD focused on good practice with people on Community Treatment Orders and she has been involved in local and international collaborations regarding mental health law and its implications for policy, law reform and direct practice. As Director of Research at Mind, Lisa has developed and is implementing Mind’s Research and Evaluation Framework which is focused on recovery and social inclusion. Lisa’s current research interests include the implications of the shift to individualised funding for people with psychosocial disability and efforts to reduce coercion and restrictive practice. She is also actively leading program evaluation and outcome measurement projects.


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Associate Professor Jane Burns
Founder and CEO, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre

Associate Professor Jane Burns is the founder and CEO of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, an organisation that unites young people with researchers, practitioners and innovators to explore the role of technology in improving mental health and wellbeing for young people aged 12 to 25.

Jane holds a Principal Research Fellowship at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and an Honorary Fellowship at the Brain & Mind Centre. She has led the youth agenda for beyondblue, was a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and was Director of International Partnerships at Inspire Foundation. Jane held a VicHealth fellowship from 2006-2013, an NHMRC fellowship from 1997-2000 and an NHMRC scholarship from 1994-1996. She holds a PhD in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine (Public Health and Epidemiology) University of Adelaide.

Jane was recently announced a winner in the category of Social Enterprise and Not-for-profit for 2015's Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence, and was a Victorian Finalist in the 2012 Telstra Business Women's Awards. Jane is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


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Branka Carter
Region Manager for Victoria North, National Disability Insurance Agency

Branka Carter decided to begin her exciting journey with the NDIA a little over two years ago because she wanted to be part of the establishment and development of a significant reform agenda that would provide fairness, security and opportunity to over 400,000 Australians.

Branka is currently the NDIA Region Manager for Victoria North. In this role, Branka is responsible for all of the Regional  operational functions including Service Delivery and Corporate functions. Prior to this, Branka was the Branch Manager of the NDIA’s Operations Division. Branka has also worked as the Regional Manager for  Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Service Qld , Local Government in Victoria and the Cerebral Palsy League in Queensland responsible for Child & Family services.

Branka has worked in service delivery at local, state and federal government level for over 30 years. She has worked in the NGO sector and has demonstrated expertise in both Stakeholder and Contract Management. Her disability experience is extensive and includes Management of complex clients and Forensic Disability Services.


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Adj/Associate Professor Christopher Carter MBL, GDipHlthProm, GMQ, BSW
CEO, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network

Chris is a broadly skilled leader in health and primary healthcare with extensive experience in managing complexity, driving transformational change and delivering organisational outcomes.

His experience encompasses strategic planning of services, service and system redesign, organisational development, redesigning and implementing new models of care or service delivery and building organisational capacity through collaboration and partnerships with a variety of organisations. 

Chris has led a range of healthcare organisations as CEO for over 20 years, and his career has included work as an allied heath practitioner, an educator and policy maker, an international development and evaluation consultant, and as an advocate for young people and marginalised populations in a variety of roles.


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Laura Collister
Director, Mental Health Services, Research & Development, MI Fellowship

Laura began her career as an occupational therapist in large psychiatric hospitals. She worked as a case manager in community mental health settings where her keen interest in the delivery of community-based rehabilitation programs decided her specialty. She believes passionately in looking at what is possible for people living with a mental illness, and the opportunities that come through employment.

Laura has embedded evidence-based practice and comprehensive evaluation frameworks into programs and services, and she has re-designed the organisation’s quality systems and associated data collection and reporting mechanisms. Laura currently holds overall national management responsibility for the suite of rehabilitation programs provided by MI Fellowship. She leads MI Fellowship’s engagement in research and evaluation projects in partnerships with universities and clinical partners.

Laura has been an active member of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory sub-committee on Workforce Participation, the Victorian Department of Health’s Prevention and Recovery Care Advisory Committee, Day Program Review Reference Group and MHCA NDIS Consultation Group.  She is a board member of ReGen.


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Lynne Coulson Barr
Victorian Mental Health Complaints Commisioner

Lynne Coulson Barr is Victoria's first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.

Ms Coulson Barr has extensive experience in disability, mental health and dispute resolution, with specialist expertise in improving access and participation in independent complaint and review processes.

Before her appointment as Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, Ms Coulson Barr served as the Victorian Deputy Disability Services Commissioner. A former President of the Intellectual Disability Review Panel, Ms Coulson Barr also served on a number of state and federal bodies, including the Victorian Mental Health Review Board, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.


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Jackie Crowe
Mental Health Commisioner, National Mental Health Commission

Jackie is dedicated to encouraging greater understanding, compassion and respect for people affected by mental ill health, the suicidal mind and the families, friends and carers who journey with them.

Jackie has been involved in mental health and suicide prevention issues in various advocacy, advisory, public speaking, research, consultancy and commissioner roles, at the local, state, national and international levels over many years. Jackie combines her lived experience, understanding of the grass roots and knowledge of high level strategic policy and planning, with her familiarity with recovery and well-being to shift thinking about mental ill health and suicide.



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Vrinda Edan
Consumer Academic, Monash University

Vrinda Edan is an experienced Consumer worker of over 16 years. She currently works at Monash University as Consumer Academic with the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Southern Synergy. Vrinda has responsibilities as an investigator for PULSAR, working across many aspects of the project including Chairing the Dissemination Module, and leading an embedded project, PULSAReveryday.

Prior to Monash University she was employed for 10 years as Director, Consumer and Carer Relations at Monash Health. In this role Vrinda had experience conducting consumer and carer evaluations of the clinical service, leadership of a number of projects and membership on the Mental Health Program Executive Management Team.

Vrinda has a special interest in the Consumer experience of service use, particularly by people subjected to compulsory treatment orders. In addition she works towards increasing the involvement of consumers in research, teaching and service design. Vrinda is the current Chair of Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (the peak mental health consumer organisation for Victoria).


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Loretta Foster
Mental Health Program Manager, Gateway Health

Loretta is an Occupational Therapist with almost 30 years’ experience in mental health. She has worked in a range of clinical settings (acute inpatient, residential rehabilitation and community-based case management and crisis response) and psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery programs.

Loretta was granted a Master of Science Degree from the University of Wollongong in 2005, majoring in Mental Health.

Since 1999 Loretta has been the Mental Health Program Manager at Gateway Health, which provides a comprehensive range of primary health services across North East Victoria and Southern NSW. The Mental Health Program employs around 50 people, delivering a wide range of programs in mental health (including headspace, PHaMs and Day to Day Living), and drug and alcohol (including pharmacotherapy, youth outreach and family support). Gateway Health has taken a lead role in youth mental health for many years, delivering innovative recovery-based programs, suicide prevention initiatives, support for young carers, and a range of programs for young people with diverse needs – from Bhutanese young carers to transgender youth and their families.

Loretta has a Cert IV in Training and Education, and has been a member of the VICSERV Training Team since 2012. She is also a former member of the VICSERV Board.


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Louise Glanville
Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Stakeholder Relations, National Disability Insurance Agency

Louise Glanville commenced with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 27 February 2014 as General Manager, Governance Division and has acted as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Agency from January 2015. Louise was recently appointed as NDIA Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) – Stakeholder Relations. This includes the areas of Community Linkages; Market and Providers; Media Communications and Engagement and Scheme Transition.

Louise brings a vast range of public sector experience to her current role in the NDIA.  Prior to joining the NDIA, Louise spent three years at the Attorney-General’s Department in
First Assistant Secretary and acting Deputy Secretary Roles, in the Civil Justice and Strategic Policy & Coordination Groups.

Before joining the Attorney-General's Department in 2011, Louise was Executive Director, Legal and Equity Group in the Victorian Department of Justice. In her career she has held positions in local and state government, academia, the private sector and ministerial offices.

Louise holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work from Melbourne University, a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University and a Master of Arts (Research) from Victoria University. 


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Dr. Laura Hayes
Research Development Manager, Psychosocial Research Centre University of Melbourne

Dr. Laura Hayes' career has focussed on program evaluation and knowledge synthesis in the areas of parenting and family interventions for mental health, hope and recovery. She has clinical experience working with children, adolescents and families. Dr. Hayes has undertaken the evaluation of family psychoeducation interventions in clinical and community settings, a process evaluation of a program for young people living in out of home care and a comprehensive survey of well-being for Australians living with psychosis. Recent projects include a literature and policy review regarding the role of evidence-based interventions in the NDIS and an evaluation of parenting supports delivered via webinar.


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Margaret Grigg
Acting Director of Mental Health, Department of Health & Human Services VIC

Margaret is currently the A/Director of Mental Health at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Margaret is an experienced mental health professional with a demonstrated record of success in strategic leadership, operations, policy and program development, and research and evaluation. Margaret has been the Deputy Chief Executive of Mind Australia, and prior to this, she worked for the Victorian Department of Health as a senior executive. She is vice-president of the Kyneton District Health Service Board.


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Rob Knowles AO
Mental Health Commisioner, National Mental Health Commission

Rob is a farmer and company director. He has been Chair of Mental Health Australia, a member of the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission and President of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia.

He is currently Chair of the Royal Children's Hospital and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. He is a former Victorian Health, Housing and Aged Care Minister and has a strong interest in services for people with a lived experience, their families and support people.


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Janette Korolew
Carer Peer Worker, MI Fellowship

Janette Korolew is a carer of an adult son with fluctuating mental health who utilises her lived experience in the workforce as a peer worker.
This has been possible due to the generosity of her son who has allowed both his parents to accompany him on his life journey which has been compromised by episodes of psychotic illness.

She currently works in the community sector for MI Fellowship but has had prior experience in the clinical sector as a peer worker. Janette is on the executive of the Carer Consultants Network of Victoria and has increased her carer advocacy profile since the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was trialled in the Barwon region of Victoria.


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Dr Peter McKenzie PhD, MA ClinFamTher
Carer Academic (Mental Health), The Bouverie Centre

Dr Peter McKenzie (PhD, MA ClinFamTher) is an anthropologist, family therapist and academic.

He currently holds the Carer Academic (Mental Health) position at The Bouverie Centre. He has significant personal caring and professional experience in the mental health sector, including MHCSS and clinical. His other roles at the centre include coordination of Bouverie's higher degree research program, a principle research supervisor, family practice consultant in the mental health program and clinical family therapist.

Peter has a particular interest in ethnographic research methods, families-caring & mental health as well as narrative therapy, trauma and mindfulness with a clinical focus on Borderline Personally Disorder and complex needs families. 


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James McLure
Peer Support Worker - PHaMs Employment, Pathways

James is a team member of the Pathways Personal Helpers and Mentors Employment Service. He uses his lived experience of impaired mental health and recovery to aid in the healing of people recovering their mental health from impairment. James sees it as a wonderful privilege to companion, mentor and guide people back to health and happiness.


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Lyn Morgain
Chief Executive, cohealth

Lyn Morgain is the Chief Executive of cohealth, one of Australia's largest community health organisations, servicing Melbourne's inner northern and western metropolitan suburbs.  Lyn A board member of VICSERV and is the Chair of the National Complex Needs Alliance of the Public Health Association of Australia and Footscray Community Arts Centre

Lyn has been an executive leader in public policy, not for profit organisations and government over the past twenty five years, her interests include the impact of discrimination and marginalisation on health and the role of advocacy in the development of equitable public policy and consumer led practice. She is passionate about strength based approaches that engender community ownership and control over service design, development and delivery.

As part of the leadership of cohealth she is responsible for supporting the delivery of a diverse range of complex service models that engage communities with poor health status, utilising a social model of health. Increasingly these programs are integrated, locally orientated and designed in partnership with consumers.

Lyn has extensive experience in the initiation and execution of community alliances aimed at effecting change, at the local, state and national level.


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Lindsay Oades Ph.D.
Deputy Director (Learning & Teaching), Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne

Lindsay Oades (MBA with Distinction, PhD) is an Associate Professor and program coordinator of the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). He speaks at conferences around the world, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and scholarly book chapters cited over 2100 times.

His research interests concern the applications of wellbeing in workplaces, health and education systems. In particular, he has developed intervention and organisational development programs to assist mental health services to become more recovery oriented, drawing on the empirical bases of positive psychology and wellbeing science. This included the development of the Collaborative Recovery Model and measurement of psychological recovery.

His current developing research program focusses on positive systems and wellbeing literacy. In 2015 he received a Vice-Chancellors Award for excellence research commercialisation. He is a co-editor for the multidisciplinary International Journal of Wellbeing; managing Director of Life Sculpture Pty Ltd, non-executive Director of the Reach Foundation and Action for Happiness Australia and sits on the scientific advisory panel for the Institute of Coaching, at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital.

Lindsay is on the leadership team of the Wellbeing Collaborative for the Mental Health Commission of NSW. Lindsay enjoys travelling and cultural and outdoor adventures with his wife and two sons.


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Frank Quinlan 
CEO, Mental Health Australia

Frank Quinlan is the CEO of Mental Health Australia, the peak body representing mental health organisations in Australia. Frank is responsible for implementing Mental Health Australia’s vision of "better mental health for all Australians".

Frank was previously the Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, a peak national body for social services organisations providing social and community services to over a million people each year.

Frank has a long history of working in the not-for-profit sector, having previously worked at Grassmere Youth Services, Tranmere Street Youth Refuge and the Australian Drug Foundation. He has also held senior positions with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia and the Australian Medical Association.

Frank is an energetic advocate for disadvantaged Australians and for the community and not-for-profit sector, and has represented the interests of both his members and the sector on numerous government consultative panels and committees.

Frank completed tertiary studies at both Monash University and Melbourne University and has been a guest lecturer in public policy programs at the Australian National University.

Frank is the father of three daughters and is a recently qualified recreational pilot.


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Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan
Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University

Paul Ramcharan is Associate Professor in the Centre for Applied Social Research at RMIT University. He has over 25 years of continuous research funding largely in the field of disability and working with and for people with disabilities and informing disability policy.

Paul was involved in two national strategies, evaluating the normalisation-based All-Wales Strategy in the late 1980s and 1990s and then co-ordinating the Learning Disability Research Initiative in England which was made up of 13 projects designed to inform implementation of Valuing People, a national intellectual disability policy.

Since arriving in Australia in 2006 Paul has written a Roadmap for the reduction of restrictive practices based on the voices of people with disabilities and family carers; ARC projects have explored the emergence of self advocacy in Victoria, and applying a human rights framework for people with disabilities.

More recently, with Inclusion Melbourne and others, Paul has published a choice-making toolkit funded by the former Department of Families, Housing, Communities Services and Indigenous Affairs to inform the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Paul’s commitment is to people with disabilities and some of his findings may find a place with people with mental health problems.

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Deborah Roberts
Director Mental Health, National Disability Insurance Agency

Deborah Roberts is a registered Clinical Psychologist with over 28 years experience in the disability and mental health field in the UK and Australia. Deborah joined the NDIA as a Service Delivery Director in WA in June 2014. In November 2015, Deborah transferred to the NDIA National Office in Geelong to tKe up the post as Director- Mental Health for 12 months. 


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Arthur Rogers 
Special Adviser, NDIS Reform, Department of Premier and Cabinet VIC

Arthur Rogers currently holds the position of Special Adviser, NDIS Reform at the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Prior to this Arthur was the Deputy Secretary NDIS Reform and Director of Housing in the Department of Health and Human Services. Arthur has also held senior appointments in Service Design and Implementation, Disability Services and in Regional Operational Management.


 Cath Roper

Cath Roper
Consumer Academic, Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne

Cath held one of four pioneering staff-consumer consultant positions in mental health services in Victoria between 1995 and 1999. Later she became the first consumer Academic in Australia, at the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne. Cath experienced annual involuntary admissions to mental health services over a thirteen year period, influencing her research and teaching interests.


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Belinda Stevens
Director of Workforce Development, VACCHO

Biography to come


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Jason Trethowan
CEO, Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Jason Trethowan was appointed CEO of Western Victoria Primary Health Network in June 2015, with the organisation established on 1 July 2015.

Previously, Jason was the CEO of Barwon Medicare Local and held this position from 2011. Jason led the organisation, collaborating closely with local community and health industry partners to strengthen the primary care system. Prior to Barwon Medical Local Jason was the CEO of Geelong Practitioner's Association from 2007 – 2011 where he led the establishment of Australia's leading headspace site (Barwon) from May 2007 and led the advocacy for and establishment of a $7M GP Super Clinic which opened in August 2010.

Jason's experience includes partnerships, business operations, health system innovation and corporate governance. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics and a Bachelor of Health Information Management. Jason is currently a Board Member of the G21 Geelong Region Alliance, a council member of the Australian Health and Hospital Association and also a Steering committee member of the Western Alliance Steering Committee..


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Deb Tsorbaris
CEO, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Deb Tsorbaris is the CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. Deb has worked in the health and community services area for 32 years and has extensive knowledge of policy and practice. She is a keen advocate for improving the lives of children, young people and families in the areas of child safety, education & health.

Deb has held executive positions in community service organisations working across disability, drugs and alcohol, youth services and employment programs. She has also held executive positions within the public service including Director Client Services, and Executive Advisor Homelessness Reform.  Deb has also provided policy advice to State and Federal Governments on a range of issues and has sat on numerous Boards and Committees.

Prior to joining the Department of Human Services, Deb was CEO of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons.


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Carol Vale
Service Response and Development Leader, McAuley Community Services for Women

Carol Vale is presently the Service Response and Development Leader at McAuley Community Services for Women.

After 18 years as Executive Director of Bethlehem Community Inc, Carol led the integration of the Bethlehem Community program into Sacred heart Mission’s Women’s Services as well as the cultural change process.. She has worked in the homeless sector for over 20  years and has vast experience in project management, direct service delivery, networking and advocacy. Carol’s main focus has been on providing a variety of accommodation and support options to women who are homeless and experiencing disabilities associated with mental health and / or substance abuse.

Carol was a founding member and Convenor of Shekinah Homeless Services  Services for over 10 years and has represented the homeless sector on several Boards and reference groups, including 10 years on the Council of Catholic Social Services Victoria


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Simon Viereck
Chief Executive, Mental Health Community Coalition ACT

Simon holds a Masters degree in Political Science and has worked in service delivery, policy and advocacy roles across the disability and mental health sectors in Ireland, Denmark and Australia. He has worked for MHCC ACT since 2009 and in the role of Executive Officer since 2014. Before joining MHCC ACT Simon worked for the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network.

Simon sits on a number of high level government committees and has been actively involved in strategic mental health and social policy implementation in the ACT since moving to Canberra 9 years ago.


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Associate Professor Ruth Vine MB BS, FRANZCP, LLB, DPM Dip Crim
Executive Director, NorthWestern Mental Health

Associate Professor Ruth Vine is the Executive Director, NorthWestern Mental Health, which is part of Melbourne Health and provides mental health services to a population of over 1.2 million people.

She previously worked as the Director of Clinical Services for the Inner West Area Mental Health service and worked at the Department of Health as the Chief Psychiatrist for Victoria from 2009 to 2012 and was Director of Mental Health from 2003 to 2008. Ruth has also worked as a consultant psychiatrist in Forensic mental health, in a Community Health setting and in an advisory role with the Australian Government. She was a member of the RANZCP committee for examinations from 1996 – 2002.

She holds both medical and law degrees, and has contributed to the development of legislation and policy in areas including mental health, disability, and the management of mentally ill offenders.

Master of Ceremonies

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Peter Mares


Peter Mares is senior moderator with the Cranlana Programme for ethics and leadership, a contributing editor with the national affairs magazine Inside Story and an adjunct fellow at the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University. Peter worked for twenty-five years as a broadcaster with the ABC. Throughout his career Peter has combined journalism with public policy research, particularly on topics related to migration. He is the author of Borderline (UNSW Press 2001 & 2002), an award-winning book analysing Australia’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers and won the Journalism Excellence prize at the 2015 Australian Migration and Settlement Awards.



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