Speakers

This year’s program brings an exciting range of international, national and local speakers, panelists and young people together in Adelaide for Voices in Action 2024. New speakers added weekly, stay tuned for more updates!

Keynote speakers

Catherine Liddle

An Arrernte/Luritja woman from Central Australia, Catherine has a strong background in senior management positions with First Nations organisations. Catherine has also held senior roles within the Northern Territory Education Department, the ABC, and NITV/SBS.  

Catherine Liddle

Tracie Shipton

Tracie Shipton, a dedicated advocate for children in care, wears multiple hats as a mother, foster mother, social worker, and Chief Executive. Tracie played a key role in establishing VOYCE - Whakarongo Mai, an independent organisation amplifying the voices of children in care in New Zealand. Her commitment to co-designing initiatives with young people reflects a deep belief in ensuring their perspectives shape the care system.

Tracie Shipton

Jacqueline McGowan-Jones

Jacqueline McGowan-Jones began her appointment as Commissioner for Children and Young People WA in January 2022. She has an extensive background in education, child protection, Indigenous affairs, and suicide postvention. Her experience includes senior executive roles across state and federal governments, and the non-government sector.

Jacqueline McGowan-Jones

Jackie Bray

Jackie Bray is the Department for Child Protection Chief Executive. Jackie is passionate about ensuring the voices of children and young people are central to her department’s everyday work, along with ongoing efforts to improve and strengthen supports for families.

Jackie Bray

Anne Hollonds

Anne Hollonds is Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner. Formerly Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, for 23 years Anne was Chief Executive of government and non-government organisations focused on research, policy and practice in child and family wellbeing. Anne currently contributes to several expert advisory groups, including the Family Law Council, Australian Child Maltreatment Study, and more.

Anne Hollonds

Katrine Hildyard MP

The Honourable Katrine Hildyard MP is the Minister for Child Protection, Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing. Katrine is the Member for Reynell and for most of her working life has fought to improve the lives of South Australians.

Katrine Hildyard MP

Amanda Rishworth MP

The Honourable Amanda Rishworth MP is the Minister for Social Services. Amanda was previously Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development and Shadow Minister for Youth.

Amanda Rishworth MP

Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly is South Australian’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People. The Commissioner promotes and advocates for the rights, development and wellbeing of all children and young people in South Australia, with a special focus to engage with and listen to children who aren’t usually heard.

Helen Connolly

April Lawrie

April Lawrie is a proud Aboriginal woman with three sons and heralds from the Mirning and Kokatha people from the Far West Coast of South Australia. April is SA's inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People. Over the last 30 years, April has contributed to the formation of Aboriginal policy at the State and National level.

April Lawrie

Leanne McLean

Leanne McLean was appointed as Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in November 2018 and was reappointed in 2023 for a further five years. A respected strategist, social policy influencer and advocate, Leanne fiercely promotes and protects the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmania. Central to this work is her passion for ensuring children and young people are listened to, and that their rights are promoted.

Leanne McLean

Natalie Lewis

Natalie Lewis is a Gamilaraay woman and the Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission. Natalie’s career spans more than 25 years across youth justice, child and family services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. She has also held numerous appointments on Boards and Councils that have driven significant reform in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection and family services sectors.

Natalie Lewis

Luke Twyford

Luke Twyford joined the QFCC as Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner in January 2022. In his career, Luke has led critical reform of child protection systems and their legal frameworks. Luke’s parents fostered a number of children throughout his childhood, with his own lived experience and those of his foster brothers and sisters profoundly shaping the perspectives and passion he brings to his work.

Luke Twyford

Speakers, panelists and workshop facilitators

Cameron Burgess

Cameron Burgess is the Australian Director of the Sanctuary model. Cameron has worked extensively across Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and within Aboriginal communities. Prior to his current role, Cameron managed MacKillop’s Out of Home Care programs across South West Victoria. Cameron is passionate about helping people grow and assisting organisations to cultivate healthy cultures.

Cameron Burgess

Jodie Griffiths-Cook

Jodie Griffiths-Cook is the ACT Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner. Part of her job involves talking with children and young people to find out what is important to them. Jodie uses what she hears to let government, service providers, parents/carers and other people know what they can do differently to better support young people.

Jodie Griffiths-Cook

Liana Buchanan

Liana Buchanan has been Victoria’s Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People since 2016 and is also a part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission. As Principal Commissioner she is responsible for promoting children’s rights, regulating organisations that work with children to prevent abuse, and monitoring services for young people, including those in the out-of-home care, child protection and youth justice systems.

Liana Buchanan

Iain Thompson

Iain Thompson is the Creative Coordinator at Freedom Road Creative Arts (FRCA), a UK-based charity that aims to work with young people and the creative arts to empower, affect change and create opportunities. Iain has been working with FRCA since its inception in 2008, the year the charity also visited CREATE’s first Youth Summit in Sydney with six young people.

Iain Thompson

Suzie Attiwill

Dr Suzie Attiwill is Professor of Interior Design, School of Architecture & Urban Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. She is an educator, researcher and designer who is committed to fostering awareness of the value of interior design. At Voices in Action, Professor Attiwill will discuss developing spatial design know-how with and for young people living in out-of-home residential care.

Suzie Attiwill

Tom Allsop

Tom Allsop is the Chief Executive of PeakCare. Tom is a social worker, sessional academic and has led the design and implementation of nationally significant programs and projects for both the government and non-government sector. Tom’s expertise includes the intersection of child protection with related service systems including youth justice, early childhood education and care, disability, mental health and youth homelessness.

Tom Allsop

Jacqui Reed

Jacqui Reed has been CEO of CREATE Foundation since December 2007. She has over 20 years' experience in child protection, out-of-home care, family services and community work and has undertaken social research and held several management roles. Jacqui firmly believes that children and young people, given the right opportunities, have the capacity to transcend their adversity and reach their full potential.

Jacqui Reed

Ben Mathews

Ben Mathews is a Professor in the School of Law at QUT, and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is the Lead Investigator of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS). The ACMS generated landmark evidence about the prevalence and associated outcomes of different child maltreatment types, but also pinpointed how we can improve prevention of child maltreatment in future generations.

Ben Mathews

Anthony Raitman

Anthony Raitman has built his career around improving the health, learning, development, safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families across Victoria.  This work has spanned the portfolios of schools, early childhood services and disability services. As an Executive Director at Life Without Barriers, Anthony is leading and participating in system reform in the out-of-home care sector.

Anthony Raitman

Meena Singh

Meena Singh is the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People in Victoria. She is a Yorta Yorta and Indian woman, born and living on the land of the Kulin Nations. Meena started her legal career with Victoria Legal Aid, and was also their inaugural Associate Director, Aboriginal Services. She has led legal services and programs at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Human Rights Law Centre.

Meena Singh

Catherine Kanvik

Catherine Kanvik is from the USA. She has a passion for making art, as well as teaching art. She has taught at elementary, high school and college levels and boasts students from the ages of 3-83. She loves the healing power of art, for the maker and the viewer.

Catherine Kanvik

Isabella Kristos

Isabella Kristos is a committed PhD candidate at Sydney University, researching the extension of out-of-home care to age 21. Combining 19 years’ experience as an accredited mental health social worker and work in academia, she uniquely blends academic insight with practical expertise. Isabella passionately advocates for improved outcomes, driving positive change for young people in OOHC and the greater community. 

Isabella Kristos

Gregory Nicolau

Gregory Nicolau is a Melbourne based Consultant Psychologist and entrepreneur. He is the Founder and former CEO of Australian Childhood Trauma Group and Founder of the Tech Startup Ripple that monitors the mental health and wellbeing of people and directs best practice interventions.  

Gregory Nicolau

Phi Theodoros

Phi has been working on Kaurna Land with vulnerable children and young people since 2014 through the Living Arts program at Life Without Barriers. As an Arts Worker Phi understands the transformative power of the creative. Phi works across a broad range of creative mediums, tailoring her sessions to the needs of the individuals she supports.

Phi Theodoros

Caine Wild

Caine Wild is a passionate outdoor enthusiast who is committed to helping children of all ages to reap the many benefits of active, hands-on learning. During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Caine launched Wild Intervention aimed at helping children and young people in care. Caine now has a large team with one goal: to help change young people's lives.

Caine Wild

Uberjak'd

Uberjak'd, an iconic figure in Australian dance music, electrifies global stages with his dynamic presence and pioneering hard trance sound. His Beatport chart-toppers on labels like Spinnin' Records, Dim Mak, and Revealed span bounce, trance, and hard genres. From Tomorrowland to Ibiza's Pacha, his worldwide tours bolster his ever-growing fanbase. 

Uberjak'd

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