18-19 March 2019, Melbourne Town Hall
This will be the first national homelessness conference focussed solely on youth to be held in Australia in 20 years
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Why is youth homelessness still a significant issue in Australia in 2018 and how do we end it?

One in four Australians experiencing homelessness are children and young people aged 12-24, and this is widely acknowledged as an underestimate.

Despite government initiatives to reduce homelessness, the number of people experiencing homelessness, particularly young people, has increased disproportionately to population growth in the last 10 years.

Current systems are not working, and they are failing vulnerable, young Australians.

About the Conference


The conference will be the first national homelessness conference focused solely on youth in Australia in 20 years.

In 2008, the combined advocacy of the National Youth Commission (NYC) Inquiry into Youth Homelessness through its recommendations and report ‘Australia’s Homeless Youth’, and ‘The Oasis’ documentary brought youth homelessness into the public spotlight. This had a significant impact on public perceptions and policy on youth homelessness, however in the interim this issue has gradually dropped off the public radar.

Why attend the National Youth Homelessness Conference?

This conference will build upon the findings of the 2007/08 National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness and assess the progress that has been made in the last 10 years. We want to bring together experts and like-minded individuals and groups to learn from the past, plan for the future, and act to end youth homelessness.


What has or hasn’t happened to address youth homelessness in the past 10 years?


What we have learnt works and plan what reforms are required to change youth homelessness


Developing a reform agenda that we can advocate to government and reduce youth homelessness.


Help us build on the the findings of the 2007/08 National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness by bringing together experts and like-minded individuals and groups to learn from the past, plan for the future, and act to end youth homelessness!

Conference Schedule

Day 1 – 18 March 2019

8:00 am
registration opens

Registration will be open from 8:00 am and will run until 9:00 am. Tea and coffee will be available during the registration hour and the session will be an opportunity to network.

9:00 am
Conference opening

Welcome and introduction by Conference Convener

Keith Waters – Executive Officer- Youth Development Australia

Welcome to Country

Welcome to Melbourne

Sally Capp – Lord Mayor – City of Melbourne

Welcome to conference

Victorian Minister for Housing

The Hon. Richard Wynne

Introduction to Youth Ambassadors

Major David Eldridge AM – Salvation Army

keynote speech

It’s been a long road

Professor Brian Burdekin AO – Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner

morning tea
Keynotes Speeches

Keynote: So what? 

‘Has anything really changed for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness? Did we end youth homelessness?’

Megan Mitchell – Children’s Commissioner – Australian Human Rights Commission

Keynote: What does the evidence tell us?

Launch of the National Report Card on Youth Homelessness

Dr Tammy Hand – Senior Research and Development Manager – The Upstream Project

Keynote: Now what? 

Responding to the National Report Card

Senator Doug Cameron – Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness

Keynote Speeches and Interactive Panel

Keynote: The cost of youth homelessness.

Professor Paul Flatau – Director of the Centre for Social Impact

Keynote: The complexity and invisibility of youth homelessness.

Professor Guy Johnson – Inaugural Unison Chair of Urban Housing and Homelessness

Keynote: schools- the forgotten partner in addressing youth homelessness and disadvantage

Howard Kelly – Strategic Advisor – Schools, Government and Community Engagement – Office of the CEO – Melbourne Polytechnic

Interactive Panel: Where did we miss the mark and what have we learnt?

Facilitator – Tim Costello – Chief Advocate World Vision

‘A reflective and interactive panel discussion on the National Youth Commission’s 10 Point Roadmap-where there was success and failure’.

Panel Members:

Carmel Guerra – Executive Officer – Centre for Multicultural Youth

Maria Leebeek – Executive Officer – Queensland Youth Housing Coalition

Major David Eldridge AM – Salvation Army

Paul McDonald – CEO –  Anglicare Victoria and Chairperson of The Home Stretch

Deb Tsorbaris – CEO – The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Justin Mohammed – Victorian Commissioner for Indigenous Children & Young People

Justene Gordon – CEO – Burdekin Association

Dr. Catherine Robinson – Anglicare Tasmania Social Action & Research Centre

afternoon tea
Life after the Oasis

Introduction to documentary

Ian Darling – Producer

Sascha Ettinger Epstein – Director

Premiere screening of the documentary ‘Life after the Oasis’

What are the key takeaways? Q & A

Major Paul Moulds – Salvation Army – Oasis Cast Member

Owen Davies – Oasis Cast Member

Sascha Ettinger Epstein – Director

Drinks and canapés

Day 2 – 19 March 2019

8:00 am
registration opens

Registration will be open from 8:00am and will run until 9:00am. Tea and coffee will be available during the registration hour and the session will be an opportunity to network.

Plenary – The Road Ahead

Keynote: Systems Thinking/Working Upstream

Associate Professor David MacKenzie – University of South Australia

Panel: Shaking the Foundations

Facilitator – John Falzon – Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice

Panel presentations on new ideas, learnings, controversies and challenges, including:

‘Community of Schools and Services’

Peter Jacobson – Service Evolution Manager – Yourtown

Youth Foyers: a model driving change at practice and system levels.

Dr Marion Coddou – Research and Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Sinead Gibney-Hughes – Foyer Foundation

‘Housing first in a housing scarce environment – implications for advocacy and practice’

Maria Leebeek – CEO – Queensland Youth Housing Coalition

‘New Youth Housing Models’

Rebecca Mullins – CEO – My Foundations Youth Housing

Jo Swift – Kids Under Cover

‘Integrated Youth Services’

Katie Acheson – Executive Officer – Youth Action

‘Where are the jobs?’

Dr Jude Walker – Demographer, Labour Market Analyst, Futurist – FutureWorking

‘Is bigger better?’

Christopher Stone – Youth Policy Researcher

What do young people think is needed to address youth homelessness?

Elvis Martin – Youth Advisor on homelessness to the City of Melbourne

Tomasi Tikīgēr

Act Now! Looking forward.

‘What we know works and what we know needs to change. Beyond ‘refuge’, ‘foyers’, youth transitions, working further upstream and moving towards integrated and multisystemic approaches’.

Associate Professor David MacKenzie

Endorsement of Conference Communique

John Falzon – Facilitator – Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice

Conference Closure

Keith Waters – Executive Officer – Youth Development Australia

lunch and networking opportunity

event details

Monday 18 March & Tuesday 19 March 2019

Melbourne Town Hall 
90-130 Swanston Street, Melbourne



The conference will be held at Melbourne Town Hall, located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD at 90-130 Swanston St, Melbourne. There are many great accommodation options close to the venue and most city accommodation is within walking distance or a short tram ride of Melbourne Town Hall.

Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodation and we have secured some hotel deals to make it more affordable.

Melbourne CBD
Oaks on Collins

480 Collins St

Melbourne, 3000

Studio Executive Apartment $170 per room per night booked between 17th and 21st March.

Step 1. Go online to – www.oakshotels.com/en/oaks-on-collins

Step 2. Select travel dates (must be between 17th – 21st March 2019)

Step 3. Type where it states ‘PROMO CODE” – NYHC2019

Step 4. Select Room type – Studio Executive Apartment.

Step 5. Enter your contact details and confirm reservation.

Mantra on the Park

Conference attendees will receive 10% off the Mantra Daily Rate at Mantra on the Park.

333 Exhibition Street

Melbourne, 3000

Step 1. Go to http://www.mghotels.com.au/

Step 2. Select the Region and Property, your Travel Dates and the Number of People travelling –hit SEARCH

Step 3. Select Change Search – at the top of the page

Step 4. Input Promo Code NYHC2019 (case sensitive) in the Promo Box – hit SEARCH again. You will now see the discount applied to the Daily Rate.

Step 5. Select the room type you wish to book and hit BOOK NOW to proceed to payment screen

Step 6. Fill in all required details to confirm your booking and hit COMPLETE BOOKING

BreakFree Bell City

Conference attendees will receive 10% off the Mantra Daily Rate at BreakFree Bell City.

Breakfree Bell City

205 Bell Street

Preston, 3072

Step 1. Go to http://www.mghotels.com.au/

Step 2. Select the Region and Property, your Travel Dates and the Number of People travelling –hit SEARCH

Step 3. Select Change Search – at the top of the page

Step 4. Input Promo Code NYHC2019 (case sensitive) in the Promo Box – hit SEARCH again. You will now see the discount applied to the Daily Rate.

Step 5. Select the room type you wish to book and hit BOOK NOW to proceed to payment screen

Step 6. Fill in all required details to confirm your booking and hit COMPLETE BOOKING

Mantra Bell City

Conference attendees will receive 10% off the Mantra Daily Rate at Mantra Bell City.

Mantra Bell City

215 Bell Street

Preston, 3072

Step 1. Go to http://www.mghotels.com.au/

Step 2. Select the Region and Property, your Travel Dates and the Number of People travelling –hit SEARCH

Step 3. Select Change Search – at the top of the page

Step 4. Input Promo Code NYHC2019 (case sensitive) in the Promo Box – hit SEARCH again. You will now see the discount applied to the Daily Rate.

Step 5. Select the room type you wish to book and hit BOOK NOW to proceed to payment screen

Step 6. Fill in all required details to confirm your booking and hit COMPLETE BOOKING

Ticket Cost

Full price tickets: available from 29 January 2019 to 10 March 2019.

Entire Conference

$450 – Standard

$200 – Concession*

Monday,18 March Only

$300 – Standard

$150 – Concession*

tuesday, 19 march only

$150 – Standard

$50 – Concession*


Meet our Speakers

keynote speakers


First Federal Human Rights Commissioner of Australia

Brian Burdekin is currently Visiting Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden and Professorial Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law. He is an international advisor to many National Human Rights Commissions in Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.

From 1995 to 2003, as Special Adviser on National Institutions, Regional Arrangements and Preventive Strategies to the first three United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights, he conducted over 200 missions to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America where governments or civil society wanted to create an independent Human Rights Commission. In the past 25 years, he has helped to establish such Commissions in over 70 countries and is generally considered to be the leading international expert on the subject.

Prior to taking up his appointment with the United Nations, Brian was, from 1986 to 1994, the first Federal Human Rights Commissioner of Australia. In this capacity, he conducted major national inquiries into the systemic abuse of particularly vulnerable groups – including homeless young people, the mentally ill and people with disabilities. In 1990-91 he was one of the key figures involved in drafting the United Nations principles prescribing the essential standards for National Human Rights Commissions, subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly and endorsed by all Member States of the U.N. in 1993.


National Children’s Commissioner

Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, appointed in 2013.

Megan has previous experience in both government and non-government roles in child protection, out-of-home care, youth justice, disability, and early childhood services. Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education. In her role as Commissioner, Megan focuses solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.

Each year, Megan presents a statutory report to the federal Parliament on the state of children’s rights in Australia. In her work to date, Megan has focused on the prevalence of suicide and intentional self-harm in children and young people, the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people, the oversight of children and young people in correctional detention, and the experiences and trajectories of young parents and their children.


Director – Centre for Social Impact UWA

The CSI UWA is a research, teaching and public engagement centre with a focus on working with others to bring about positive social and economic change in Australia. Paul has over 100 publications covering a broad range of fields including labour economics, the history of economic thought, and the economics of social policy. In recent years, Paul has made significant contribution to homelessness research in Australia including on youth homelessness. His most recent work in homelessness covers topics such as intergenerational homelessness, homelessness and service integration, the health and justice costs of homelessness, refugee homelessness, and the financing of homelessness services. Paul is actively engaged in the WA Alliance to End Homelessness, the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Constellation Project.
PROFESSOR guy johnson

Inaugural Unison Chair of Urban Housing and Homelessness – RMIT Univeristy

Professor Johnson leads the Unison Housing Research Program at RMIT University, an industry-led partnership that aims to address the ongoing issue of housing insecurity and homelessness in a way that looks at both the existing failings in the housing system and preventative measures to help alleviate disadvantage. Prior to his appointment, he was Director of the Centre for Applied Social Research (CASR) at RMIT University.”
howard Kelly

Strategic Advisor – Schools, Government and Community Engagement

Office of the CEO – Melbourne Polytechnic

Howard Kelly has a distinguished career in education and training. Principal for 12 years in two inner suburban schools. He has been the Curriculum Director in state and national projects for four years, Chair of two statutory authorities for 8 years, overseeing the introduction of the VCE and the P-10 curriculum reform. Howard was the Director of the Kirby Ministerial review into post compulsory education, leading to the development of the LLEN and the introduction of VCAL.

Howard was the General Manager of Multi Media leading to the introduction of lap tops for teachers in all Victorian schools. He has led projects in school renewal and restructure in 12 different locations across the state. Howard was the course leader of the Master’s Degree in School Leadership and is the Strategic Advisor to the Office of the CEO at Melbourne Polytechnic. In 2017, he accepted the position of Patron to the newly formed CEAV Careers Counselling Australia.


Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness

Doug was elected to the Senate at the 2007 federal election and took his seat on 1 July 2008. He lives in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney and his electorate office is in Springwood. Doug was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Housing and Homelessness in July 2013 and served in that role until the federal election in September that year.

Following the July 2016 federal election, Doug was appointed Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships.


Associate Professor, University of South Australia

David Mackenzie is an Associate Professor at the University of South Australia and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Swinburne University.

David has a strong record of research and development on youth issues and youth policy and is internationally recognised for his work on homelessness and youth. He is the author and co-author of a number of significant reports on Youth Homelessness.

David was the original founder of Youth Development Australia and he is the current Chair of the YDA Board. Over the past 10 years, David has served on a number of government advisory committees and taskforces – the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness, the National SAAP Data and Research Advisory Committee, the National SAAP Information Services Committee, the JPET Needs Committee and the Victorian Integrated Data Project Committee.

David was one of the NYC Commissioners in 2007/08. David is one of Australia’s leading researchers on homelessness and disadvantage.

Featured speakers

lord mayor sally capp

City of Melbourne

Sally Capp was elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne in May 2018 and was the first woman to be directly elected as Lord Mayor.
Sally was also the first woman to hold the post of Agent-General for Victoria in the UK, Europe and Israel. She has also served as the CEO for the Committee for Melbourne and COO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sally is also Honorary Patron of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance, Member of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, Patron of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices, Patron of the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation and Victorian Honorary Vice President of the Australia-Britain Society (Victoria) Inc.

the hon richard wynne

Victorian Minister for Housing

Richard was a Melbourne City Councillor for six years, serving one year as Lord Mayor in 1991. He has been a member of the Labor Party for 20 years and has been active in policy development work. He wrote a substantial portion of the party’s Local Government Policy. Richard was elected the State Member for Richmond on September 18th, 1999. He held the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Justice during the first term of the Bracks Labor Government. Richard became Cabinet Secretary after the re-election of the Bracks Government on 30th November 2002.Richard was appointed Minister for Housing and Local Government following the State Election on 25th November 2006.
Richard was additionally appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in August 2007, and following the 2010 election, Richard was appointed Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Closing the Gap, Shadow Minister for Housing, Shadow Minister for Local Government and Shadow Minister for A Fairer Victoria. He was re-elected the Member for Richmond at the 2014 State Election and was appointed Minister for Planning in the new Andrews Labor Government, following its election win. Following the 2018 State Election he was also appointed the portfolios of Housing and Multicultural Affairs.

Major paul moulds

The Salvation Army Since venturing onto the streets aged 19, as a young idealistic youth worker in a holiday job for the Salvation Army, Paul Moulds has wanted to dedicate his life to helping young people. This journey has led him to work in different roles with youth at Wesley Mission, Mission Australia, and eventually as Captain of the Oasis Youth Support Network.
Recognised for his expertise and understanding of the complex issues surrounding youth homelessness, Paul has advised governments on policy and created innovative youth programs, but his greatest passion is to work face to face with the young people Oasis supports. Paul believes that every young person can be salvaged, no matter how addicted or damaged. He also runs a street church every Friday night in partnership with his wife Captain Robbin Moulds.
Paul is a determined advocate for creating a more just Australian society, where marginalised young people have access to the support and services they need.


Executive Director – Shark Island Institute

Ian Darling is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He received the Byron Kennedy Award for innovation and the relentless pursuit of excellence at the 2018 AACTA Awards. In 2017 he was named Australia’s Leading Philanthropist by Philanthropy Australia. He is a recipient of the Creative Partnerships Australia Business Leadership Award, and his homeless film project The Oasis was named one of ‘Australia’s Top 50 Philanthropic Gifts of All Time.’ In 2018 Ian Darling was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia.

Sascha Ettinger-Epstein

Director – Shark Island Institute

Sascha Ettinger Epstein is a documentary director/shooter known for raw, observational character-driven Australian stories. Her first film Painting with Light in a Dark World about underbelly street photographer Peter Darren Moyle, which collected various accolades, was the beginning of an exploration of beauty in darkness which has preoccupied Sascha throughout her artistic career. Her following films The Oasis, a longitudinal observational study of an inner city Salvation Army youth refuge, Playing in the Shadows, about an after dark basketball tournament for kids from a notorious housing estate in Woolloomooloo, and Destination Arnold, following two female Aboriginal bodybuilding women, have continued the same theme. Her most recent documentary The Pink House, about the last original brothel in Kalgoorlie, recently won Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival. Sascha has also worked on commercial television series such as Recruits, Kings Cross ER and Kalgoorlie Cops, and created advertising work such as 2020Vision, a global webisode series about the future of television. She studied Communications (Hons 1st Class) at UTS and later completed an MA in Documentary Directing at AFTRS. As an avid environmentalist Sascha also shoots probono for NGOs such as Bush Heritage Fund, Greenpeace and SurfAid.


Interactive Panel: Where did we miss the mark?

Day One


The Salvation Army

Maj. David Eldridge AO has been a key figure in The Salvation Army both in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has worked for over 30 years, in a variety of senior social policy and programme development roles, including 15 years at the Crossroads Youth Network and 12 years as Director of the Brunswick Community Programme. David has also been a Senior Adviser to the Commonwealth Government on key social policy issues particularly in relation to young people and headed the Prime Ministerial Youth Homelessness Taskforce in 1996-7 and the Youth Pathways Acton Taskforce in 2000-2001. He has contributed to the delivery of several ground-breaking policy reports. Also, David has been influential in the development of employment policy and was a Board Member of the Employment Services Regulatory Authority (ESRA), which oversaw the development of a case management approach in employment services. He has been a board member of the Enterprise and Career Education Foundation and the Foundation for Young Australians.


CEO – Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

The Centre is Victoria’s peak body for child and family services. Deb has worked in health and community services for 32 years, holding executive positions in organisations working across youth services; disability, drug and alcohol support services; and employment programs. Deb was CEO of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons from 2003 to 2009. Prior to joining the Centre, Deb was Director of Human Services Design at the Department of Human Services – responsible for leading the design and development of integrated human services to improve outcomes for clients.

Deb provides policy leadership to state and federal governments and is a strong contributor to the child and family services sector. She was the spokesperson for the Australians for Ending Homelessness campaign and she is currently serving on the boards of Kids Under Cover and the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia. Deb has previously served on the boards of Street Smart, and the Victorian Council of Social Services. Deb currently co-chairs Victoria’s Roadmap for Reform Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group, the Learning System and Practice Implementation Group, and the Child and Family Service Alliance Strategic Forum.


Executive Director – Queensland Youth Housing Coalition

Maria has a long-standing commitment to working in the not-for-profit sector on social justice issues. She has been employed in a range of positions from direct practice, with a focus on housing and homelessness, through to organisational management.This grounded experience has enabled Maria to undertake a range of project and policy work and to share this knowledge and advocate in a range of community and public settings. Maria is passionate about the role of not for profit organisations and is currently enrolled in a Research Masters of Business at QUT exploring collaboration in the NFP sector.  Maria has a Bachelor of Social Work (Queensland University) and a Graduate Diploma in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies QUT).

Carmel Guerra
CEO – Centre for Multicultural Youth

Carmel Guerra is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), the first organisation in Australia to work exclusively with migrant and refugee young people. Carmel is also the Chairperson of The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia (MYAN), the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues.

Carmel is recognized for her commentary on multicultural youth issues. She has served on numerous boards and committees and is currently a member of the Youth Parole Board of Victoria, the Victorian Children’s Council, the Migration Council of Australia, and the Settlement Services Advisory Council.


CEO – Burdekin Foundation

Justene Gordon is the CEO at The Burdekin Association.  The Burdekin Association is a community based not for profit organisation.  The primary aim of the organisation is to prevent youth homelessness and family breakdown by providing a range of innovative accommodation, care and support services to young people and families on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  Last year, Justene was recognised with a Premiers Award for community service.

In 2016 Justene Gordon was honoured with the 2016 Warringah Council Citizen of the Year award.  Justene has dedicated over 16 years to the Burdekin Association as a worker and volunteer.  A staff member for many years, Justene resigned but became a member of the Burdekin Board during 2008 and was appointed Chairperson in 2013.  In 2016 she resigned from the Board to take up the role as CEO.


Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

Justin Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland who currently is the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People of Victoria. Justin has worked with Victorian Aboriginal communities for 20 years before moving to Canberra to take on national positions as Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia. Prior to his move to Canberra, Justin held positions based in the Shepparton region as the Inaugural Director of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE), CEO and later Chairperson of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd.

He chaired the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and chaired the Hume – Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council (RAJAC). Justin has held positions on multiple community, state and national working groups, committees and boards and continues to be a Director of Vision 2020, Co-Chair of Cricket Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, Board Member of Kaiela Institute and Director of Supply Nation.

Dr Catherine Robinson

Anglicare Tasmania Social Action & Research Centre

Catherine Robinson is a social researcher currently working in the community sector at the Social Action and Research Centre (SARC), Anglicare Tasmania.  Catherine returned to Tasmania and joined SARC in 2016 after 13 years as an academic at University of Technology, Sydney.  She is a sociologist and has a broad interest in social suffering, compassion fatigue, and ethics in research with vulnerable populations.  Her current research and advocacy is focused on unaccompanied child homelessness and the broader care, health and education needs of highly vulnerable teens in Tasmania.  Her key publications on homelessness include Beside One’s Self: Homelessness Felt and Lived (Syracuse University Press) and (with Chris Chamberlain and Guy Johnson) Homelessness in Australia (NewSouth Publishing).  Catherine is also known for her work with Blackfella Films as Series Consultant and Co-Host of the SBS documentary Filthy Rich and Homeless.

Rev Tim Costello

Chief Advocate – World Vision

Rev Tim Costello is one of Australia’s most respected community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia (WVA). In his current role as WVA’s Chief Advocate, Tim continues to place the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda.  Concurrently this year, Tim is the Executive Director of Micah Australia.

Other positions Tim holds are Chair of the Community Council of Australia; member of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum; member of the SBS Community Advisory Committee: Chief Advocate of the Thriving Communities Partnership; board member for the Campaign for Australian Aid; board member for the Australian National Development Index; Patron of SMSF and Patron of the National Youth Commission.

Paul McDonald

CEO- Anglicare Victoria and Chairperson of The Home Stretch

Paul is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Anglicare Victoria, the State’s leading Agency in delivering out of home care and family support to vulnerable children young people and families. His previous positions have included Deputy Secretary in the Department of Human Services responsible for the leadership and management of Victoria’s Child Protection Services and Youth Justice Program. He is Chair of the Home Stretch Campaign, a national campaign which seeks to stop young people in state care becoming homeless, unemployed or in prison when they have their care terminated at 18 years.

Peta Winzar

CEO- Community Housing Industry Association

Peta has 20 years’ experience in senior positions with the Commonwealth Public Service, working in policy development and Ministerial advising roles. Homelessness is a recurring policy challenge to which she has returned throughout her career. In 2008, Peta set up the Commonwealth Office of Housing.  She was a pivotal member of the Commonwealth team which negotiated the first National Affordable Housing Agreement and led the preparation of the Rudd government’s White Paper on Homelessness. In 2015 she completed her Master’s thesis on the impact of income support payments on durations of homelessness and on longer-term welfare reliance.

Peta Winzar has just completed two years as the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Housing Industry Association, the peak body for Australia’s community housing sector.

Plenary: The Road Ahead

Day Two


Youth Policy Researcher

Chris Stone has qualifications in Law, Psychology and Philosophy, and has held a number of senior policy research and analysis roles in universities, government and not-for-profit organisations. Chris has publications in a number of youth homelessness related areas, including innovation in service provision and the efficiency of different sectors in providing public and community services. He has also has written and presented on a range of issues impacting youth homelessness such as vocational education, employment, trauma, and domestic and family violence.

Dr jude walker

Demographer, Labour Market Analyst and Futurist – Future Working

Jude is a labour market analyst, futurist and demographer who contracts to the LLEN to conduct research projects. She conducts our Environmental Scans and uses these scans, and the results of her other research projects, as the basis for data conversations with various groups, including schools and business groups. She provides insights into the future of work, particularly in relation to the introduction of new technologies. She also works with those groups to identify how the education/training, employment and economic sectors might work more effectively together to contribute towards better social and economic outcomes for the region.


CEO – Kids Under Cover

Jo Swift joined Kids Under Cover in 2002 having completed studies in public relations. Jo’s personal journey saw her take on a role with Kids Under Cover while she was a single mother with a toddler; she was appointed to the position of CEO in 2007. Jo’s earliest memory is the deep sense of responsibility to the legacy established by Ken Morgan – focusing on the prevention of youth homelessness; deliberately diverting young people from the cycle of disadvantage. Jo is passionate about the basic human rights of every young person to a home and access to education.  Driven by a commitment to and excitement in innovation, Jo has led the growth of Kids Under Cover including pioneering a number of stakeholder and youth/accommodation initiatives and, critically, focusing on prevention of the cycle of homelessness.

Having completed professional programs with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, in Leadership with Ashridge Business School and in Business Innovation with the University of Cambridge, Jo draws on a breadth of experience in supporting the deep commitment of the Board, staff and volunteers involved with Kids Under Cover. Jo is a member of the Board of the Council for Homeless People and Acting Chair of Kid’s Under Cover’s social enterprise, Nestd. In her spare time, Jo will be found nurturing her family and friends through her love of cooking and conversation.


CEO – Youth ActionKatie Acheson is the current Chair of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition and the CEO of Youth Action, the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW. With almost 2 decades working on the ground with youth and representing their interests in major state, national and international platforms, she is a powerful voice in the Australian youth sector. She takes great joy from having the opportunity to work with young people, talk about their issues, and being part of the development and implementation of programs that deliver better outcomes for young people.


Service Evolution Manager – Yourtown

Pete has extensive experience in the Human Services field, having held a number of executive roles in community services organisations focussed mainly on youth, homelessness, housing, and family services – though he forever remains a youth worker at heart.

Pete is best known for his contribution as co-developer of The Geelong Project – Community of Schools & Services Model; a collective impact model focused on the reduction of early school leaving and entry into the youth homelessness system; a model now replicated in multiple sites across Australia, the United States, Canada and Wales.

Pete is based in Queensland and is the Service Evolution Manager for Yourtown.

Elvis Martin

Elvis Martin is one of the passionate young leaders of Victoria advocating for social justice. He is currently the Ambassador of National Youth Commission Australia and RUOK?Day. His main focus is to support young people who are experiencing hardships in life and his areas of advocacy work include mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, suicide prevention and LGBTIQ+ community. He uses his platform to promote inclusion, diversity and equality for all.

Tomasi Tikīgēr

Tomasi is a 20-year-old Gooreng Gooreng, Fijian and Tongan youth from Ipswich, Queensland. He has a lived experience of homelessness and mental health issues. Tomasi’s experience of homelessness started when I was 14 and he has been homeless intermittently since then. Tomasi is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at RMIT. He also volunteers at Frontyard Youth Services on their Youth Advisory Committee and works at Launch Housing as a member of their Lived Experience Advisory Group. Tomasi’s lived experience of homelessness has included rough sleeping, couch surfing and staying in youth shelters. He is passionate about advocating for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander rights and homelessness among other issues.

Dr Marion Coddou

Senior Research Fellow – Brotherhood of St Laurence Research and Policy Centre

Dr Marion Coddou is a Senior Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St Laurence Research and Policy Centre. Since 2017, she has led the quantitative analysis of a longitudinal study investigating the effectiveness of the Education First Youth Foyers, an innovative model supporting young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  She is currently researching the impact of a number of initiatives applying an Advantaged Thinking capabilities approach to young people’s transitions from care, justice involvement, and homelessness. Marion received a PhD in sociology from Stanford University in 2015.

Sinead Gibney-Hughes

Executive Officer – Foyer Foundation

Sinead Gibney-Hughes is the Executive Officer of the Foyer Foundation, a national learning and advocacy body which advocates for a unique solution to the challenge of youth homelessness and unemployment in Australia – Youth Foyers. Sinead has worked for many years in the Youth Transitions program area across a range of program and policy areas, including young people experiencing homelessness, young people in and leaving care, young people connected with the justice system, and young people who have disengaged from mainstream education.

Dr John Falzon

Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice – Per Capita

Dr John Falzon is Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice at Per Capita. He is a sociologist, poet and social justice advocate and was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society from 2006 to 2018. He has written and spoken widely on neoliberalism and the structural causes of inequality and has long been engaged in the collective movement for social justice and social change. He is the author of The language of the unheard (2012) and a collection of poems, Communists like us (2017). He is a member of the Australian Services Union.

Rebecca Mullins

CEO- MY Foundations Youth Housing

Rebecca Mullins is the Founding CEO of My Foundations Youth Housing and was one of the driving forces behind the company’s development. Rebecca has over 20 years experience in community housing, homelessness, advocacy, government relations, youth services and NGO management. Under Rebecca’s leadership, My Foundations has grown in 4 years to manage over 200 properties, with contracts signed to deliver close to 150 more over the next 2 years.

One of Rebecca’s and My Foundations’ key achievements in that time is the development and delivery of The Addison Project, in partnership with Toga Constructions. In an Australian first, The Addison Project has seen Toga’s 42-room Addison Hotel in Kensington transformed into temporary and transitional housing for young people, women and women with children, with many hundreds of people assisted since the project opened its doors in 2016.

Sharon Gough

Sharon moved into the homelessness sector five years ago in the role of Program Manager at Indigo Junction. She comes from a background in Youth Work with a particular focus on promoting educational and participation pathways for young people with complex needs.  All of her work has been committed to improving outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.  She has demonstrated experience in leading initiatives that have built the capacity of the community services sector to respond to at-risk young people at a local, state and national level.

Sharon recently travelled overseas as one of the 106 Australians chosen for a Churchill Fellowship. She has travelled to New Zealand and Canada in search of new ideas, innovation and excellence with regards to young people leaving care, and better ways to prevent and respond to youth homelessness.  Sharon is an energetic and impassioned public speaker.

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