The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will today attend the first meeting of the new Australian Social Inclusion Board.
Every Australian should have an opportunity to be a full participant in the life of the nation. Unfortunately, too many Australians remain locked out of the benefits of work, education, community engagement and access to basic services.
This social exclusion is a significant barrier to sustained prosperity and restricts Australia’s future economic growth.
Promoting social inclusion requires a new way of governing. Australia must rethink how policy and programs across portfolios and levels of government can work together to combat economic and social disadvantage.
The Australian Social Inclusion Board which brings together leaders from around the country will be instrumental in meeting this challenge.
Tackling disadvantage involves generating effective, practical solutions at the level of government, local communities, of service providers, of employers and of families and individuals themselves.
The Australian Social Inclusion Board will consult widely and provide views and advice to the Government.
The Board will be asked to focus on the most disadvantaged geographic areas and communities in the nation.
In doing so the Board will be asked to make recommendations on policy that could change the lifetime circumstances of jobless families and children at risk.
The Rudd Government has already begun work on a number of priorities which are important to the social inclusion agenda, including work on homelessness, a disability and mental health employment strategy, closing the gap for Indigenous Australians and universal access to pre-school.
Ms Patricia Faulkner(Chair)
Patricia Faulkner leads KPMG’s Global Healthcare practice and is also the National Partner-in-Charge for Health, advising both State and Federal Government departments and agencies. From 2000 to 2007, Patricia was the Secretary of the Department of Human Services in Victoria. She has held various board appointments over the years and is currently a board member of the Jesuit Social Services and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Patricia held senior and chief executive roles in the Victorian Government during the 1980s and early 1990s, including Director of Consumer Affairs, Director of Occupational Health and Safety, and Director of Employment. In 1995-96, she chaired the Economic Planning Advisory Commission inquiry into the Future of Childcare in Australia.
Monsignor David Cappo(Vice Chair)
Monsignor David Cappo is a Catholic Priest and is currently the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, making him the deputy to the Archbishop of Adelaide. In May 2006, Premier Mike Rann appointed him to the position of Commissioner for Social Inclusion, in order to strengthen his ability to influence the development and implementation of social policy. Monsignor Cappo continues as Chair of the Social Inclusion Board – a role he has held since March 2002 – and is a member of the Economic Development Board of South Australia. Monsignor Cappo is a qualified social worker and a former National Director of the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission. He has made major contributions to national debates in social policy development and has been directly involved in national strategic planning and implementation of social programs.
Ms Elleni Bereded-Samuel
Ms Elleni Bereded-Samuel was born in Ethiopia. She has focused her life's work on strengthening education, training and employment for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia. Elleni is now the Community Engagement Coordinator at Victoria University. Her dynamic leadership has resulted in new solutions for community to access and participate in society. She has brokered partnerships with international and local community organisations, as well as local, State and Federal government departments. Elleni is the first African Commissioner for the Victorian Multicultural Commission. She is on the Board of Directors of the Royal Women’s Hospital and chairs the Community and SBS Community Advisory Committees.
Dr Ngiare Brown
Dr Ngiare Brown is an Aboriginal woman from the south coast of NSW and one of the first half-dozen identified Aboriginal medical graduates in Australia. She has a clinical background in acute care and primary health, as well as experience in medical education, policy and research. Her past positions include Indigenous Health Advisor to the Federal AMA and Foundation CEO of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association. Ngiare is currently undertaking doctoral studies in human rights, human rights law and public health and holds joint placements in the Child Health Division at the Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
Dr Ron Edwards
Dr Ron Edwards is a founding board member of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation supporting Indigenous youth. He was awarded a Doctorate in Education (UWA 2006) which investigated the factors that can promote social inclusion within society, particularly in an educational context. Ron has been actively involved in programs that seek to enhance social inclusion amongst Indigenous, homeless and disabled people, as well as in the establishment of low fee Anglican schools. He was a Member of the House of Representatives from 1983-1993 and now works as a project consultant in the private sector.
Mr Eddie McGuire
Mr Eddie McGuire is host of some of Australia’s most popular television shows. Eddie became President of the Collingwood football club in October 1998. He also established – and is Chairman of – the Trevor Barker Foundation and works for many other charitable organisations, including the Brainstorm Appeal, the Alfred Hospital Foundation, the Leukaemia Research Fund, the Burnet Research Institute, and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
Dr John Falzon
Dr John Falzon, a sociologist working in the area of social justice and social change, is Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council. He has written and spoken widely on the structural causes of marginalisation and inequality in Australia and has long been involved in advocacy campaigns for a fairer and more inclusive Australia, especially in regard to welfare legislation, housing justice, homelessness and poverty. John has worked in academia, in research and advocacy with civil society organisations, and in community development in large public housing estates.
Mr Ahmed Fahour
Mr Ahmed Fahour joined the National Australia Bank in September 2004 as an Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Australia. Ahmed is responsible for managing the Australian and Asian region which includes retail, business and corporate banking. He also oversees MLC, which includes retail investments, insurance and wholesale superannuation. Ahmed holds a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University and a MBA from the University of Melbourne. He won a number of prizes during both degrees. He is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia and was appointed by the Premier of Victoria as Business Ambassador in Melbourne’s North in Victoria. Ahmed is Melbourne-based and is married with four children. He has an active interest in sports and working on developing social cohesion in Australia.
Professor Tony Vinson
Emeritus Professor (UNSW) and Honorary Professor (University of Sydney) Tony Vinson has worked with disadvantaged communities to strengthen the problem solving capacities of individuals and groups. Since the mid-1960s, he has researched the priority needs of communities and has taught social workers and trainee doctors how to work effectively with them. Tony has extensive experience researching social disadvantage, which culminated in his bookDropping Off the Edge(2007), on the distribution of social disadvantage in Australia. He has direct involvement in community development projects, was Chair of the Independent Inquiry into NSW Public Education in 2002, a Foundation Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics in the 1970s, and one-time Head of the NSW Department of Corrective Services.
Ms Linda White
Ms Linda White is the Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union, the largest union working in the social and community services sector. Linda is also a Vice President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. She has been at the forefront of the union’s work nationally and is involved in the enhancement of skills in the sector through her role as chairman of the review of the Community Services Training package for the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council.She is a solicitor of over 20 years’ standing and has worked with clients and trade unions for over ten years at Maurice Blackburn & Co.
Ms Kerry Graham
Ms Kerry Graham has committed herself to addressing the disadvantage and exclusion experienced by parts of our community. She has worked with Indigenous Australians, children and young people, as well as homeless, mentally unwell and dually diagnosed people. Her experience includes working as a solicitor with Aboriginal Legal Services and she was the founding lawyer of the NSW Youth Drug and Alcohol Court for which she received the National Children's and Youth Law Centre award. Kerry is the CEO of the Inspire Foundation, a national non-profit organisation which creates opportunities for young people.
Mr Tony Nicholson
Mr Tony Nicholson has dedicated almost 28 years to improving conditions for those living on or close to the edges of society. A feature of his work has been his ability to collaborate with colleague social justice organisations, governments and business to achieve reform in public policy and service delivery to the benefit of disadvantaged Australians. Tony spent 14 years as Chief Executive Officer of Hanover Welfare Services, a Melbourne-based organisation in the field of homelessness. Tony is currently Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, an agency at the forefront of knowledge development and practice of a genuinely Australian approach to social inclusion.
Dr Chris Sarra
Dr Chris Sarra hails from Bundaberg in Queensland. The youngest of 10 children, Chris experienced first-hand many of the issues faced by Indigenous students throughout their schooling. Chris has had an extensive and noted career in education, with a focus on the pursuit of improved outcomes for Indigenous children. In the late 1990s, Chris took on the challenges of Indigenous education as the principal of Cherbourg State School in Queensland. Under Chris’ leadership, the school became nationally acclaimed for its pursuit of theStrong and Smartphilosophy. Chris is now the Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Leadership Institute.
Professor Fiona Stanley
Professor Fiona Stanley is the Founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Chair of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, and Professor, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, at the University of Western Australia. Fiona has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses and strategies to enhance health and well-being in populations. She sits on the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, as well as the Australian Statistics Advisory Council. For her research on behalf of Australia's children, she was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 she was made a UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.