NSW Ageing and Disability Commission appointments new Board looking to improve outcomes for vulnerable people

NSW Ageing and Disability Commission appointments new Board looking to improve outcomes for vulnerable people

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM, said the Board brings together the right level of diversity and expertise to tackle these issues and will explore any topic including improvements to services, policies and resources to help reduce and prevent abuse.

“We have deliberately chosen a diverse and knowledgeable group of people who have a lived experience with disability, ageing or caring, as well as qualified professionals, advocates and researchers with expertise in the sector,” Mr Fitzgerald, AM said.

“The Board will explore any topic that will improve the lives and outcomes of older people, adults with disability, their families and informal carers, and specifically how we can help the broader community spot, respond and report cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

The Commissioner has appointed the following members for a two-year term:

Eileen Baldry 

Deputy Chair, Disability Council NSW

• Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity Diversity and Inclusion at UNSW and Professor of Criminology

• Eileen was also recently appointed to the position of Academic Chair, UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board. 

Elena Katrakis  

CEO, Carers NSW

• Member, NSW Carers Advisory Council

• Previously a social worker with a particular focus on people with mental health and people experiencing homelessness. 

Irene Gallagher 

CEO, BEING - Mental Health and Wellbeing Consumer Advisory Group

• Board member of the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC)

• Irene is the founder of Peer Work Matters, a consumer-led organisation focusing on developing and expanding the peer workforce in NSW.

Jan Primrose 

Head of Professional Standards and Safety, Australian Services Union, representing workers in the aged, disability and community services workforce

• Former social worker with a particular focus on working with vulnerable people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, and domestic violence victims including children and adults with disability.

Joan Hughes 

President, Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW

CEO, Australian Veterans Children's Assistance Trust

• Extensive experience in policy and research in the areas of ageing and for carers, including ageing parents of children with disabilities. Joan also volunteers for various community organisations.

Justine O'Neill 

CEO, Council for Intellectual Disability

• Previously the acting NSW Public Guardian helping people with dementia, intellectual disability, brain injury and mental illness, assisting individuals make significant decisions about their life.

Kathryn Greiner AO 

Chair, Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) 

• NSW Retirement Villages Ambassador

• Former social worker with extensive experience in public policy.

Mark Grierson 

CEO, Advocacy Law Alliance based in Newcastle

CEO, Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre and Disability Advocacy NSW.

Maryanne Ireland 

• Recently an Official Community Visitor

• Previously a Community Support Officer for ParaQuad NSW (Hunter Region)

• Maryanne has a lived experience of disability. 

Russell Westacott 

CEO, Seniors Rights Service

• Extensive experience working in non-government organisations, and across state and national organisations within the HIV sector. 

Wendy Morgan 

Member, Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing (MACA) for the NSW Government

Director, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council

• An Aboriginal Woman from the Dyiringanj People of Wallaga Lake that forms part of the Yuin Nation on the Far South Coast of NSW.

Zoe Brissett 

Recent member, Disability Council NSW

• Zoe is employed in the private sector, and has extensive experience in disability research and policy from non-government organisations

• Zoe has a lived experience of disability. 


The Board will elect a chairperson and deputy chairperson within the first three months. 

The Commission's work will also be supported by expert and sector reference groups, to be appointed this year.



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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.