Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) is an independent state-wide community legal centre that specialises in social security and related law, policy and procedure. Our vision is for a fair and just society in which all people are able to receive a guaranteed adequate income in order to enjoy a decent standard of living.
The values that underpin our work are:
Social Security Rights Victoria Board
SSRV has an experienced, skills-based board drawn from its membership.
Current SSRV Board Members are:
Tom is a lawyer and partner at Berrill & Watson Lawyers. He practices mainly in superannuation and insurance law, helping sick and injured people access insurance entitlements. He developed his passion for assisting people to access social security benefits as a volunteer at SSRV.
Over the last 20 years Kirsty has raised a family, cared for a brother who was on a permanent disability pension, and worked as a business manager. She is now in a position where she can use her experience from both a personal and business perspective to assist Social Security Rights Victoria. Kirsty holds a Graduate Diploma of Industrial Relations (La Trobe University) and a
Bachelor of Arts Degree (Monash University). In 2015 Kirsty began working part time with Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery, a not-for-profit, as the Business Development Co-ordinator obtaining funds for building up-grades and promoting Windana’s excellent work helping individuals who are trying to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
Prior to that Kirsty was the Business Manager/ Group Co-ordinator for the Sustainable Engineering and Work Place Health & Safety teams in the Victorian office of Coffey Environments Australia Pty Ltd.
In this role she was responsible for the management of a Business Unit, including the development of, and ongoing review of the 5 year strategic plan; achievement against budget; review of, and introduction of improved business processes; and contract reviews across all business units to ensure the company was able to comply with contractual conditions in line with its corporate governance.
Kirsty has also worked on a unique range of engineering projects for a range of private sector industries and public sector departments and agencies.
Trevor is a trained musician and former Secondary College Principal. He has a Master of Education degree and completed a thesis focussing on intellectual disability and music education. Trevor acquired an incomplete spinal cord injury in the mid 1990’s and has since experienced disability discrimination first hand.
Trevor is passionate about protecting and enhancing the human rights of people with disabilities. As CEO at Disability Justice Australia (DJA) since 2009, he leads a team of 14 staff funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide advocacy to people with disabilities in 28 LGA’s in Metropolitan Melbourne and NDIS Appeals support to Participants in the North East Melbourne Area (NEMA).
In addition to Social Security Rights Victoria, Trevor currently serves on the following Boards and Advisory Groups: Chairperson, Asia Pacific Region, Disabled Peoples International, Member AEC Disability Advisory Committee, Member Victorian Disability Advocacy Network, Co-Chair Victoria Police Disability Portfolio Reference Group and Vice President of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
Trevor was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on the 2022 Queens Birthday Honours List for “Services to people with disability”.
Jacob is currently the Director, Strategy and Performance at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission. He has over a decade’s experience working in and consulting to government, including working for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and KPMG. Jacob brings experience in public policy, strategy and economic analysis.
Through his time working with and for Government, he has developed Cabinet Submissions, governance frameworks, business cases, organisational design, evaluations and financial and economic analysis.
Mark is a Marketing Strategist and Principal of The Creative Works. For over 25 years, Mark has been helping guide a wide spectrum of companies and organisations with their marketing, branding and digital communication needs. His strategic input into projects as complex as the merger of industry superannuation funds, as insightful as the renaming and repositioning of businesses, and as heartfelt as the development of community charity websites, has delivered award winning success. Mark combines his economics background with 20 years of frontline communications practice to provide business leaders with strategic guidance of the highest quality.
Katy has worked and volunteered at community legal centres and Legal Aid Commissions all around Australia, including the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and the Gippsland region of Victoria.
She has represented vulnerable clients in tenancy, NDIS and discrimination matters, and is considered an expert in social security law, having gained significant experience in debt and disability support pension (DSP) matters during her time in the Commonwealth Entitlements team at Victoria Legal Aid and represented clients at both divisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Katy has also worked as Legal Counsel at the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and brings her knowledge of charities law, compliance and privacy to the Board.
Katy enjoys trail running, competes in the occasional ultra-marathon, cooks, gardens and sings in a choir.
Mary Anne is an Emerita Professor, School of Law, La Trobe University. Throughout her working life, she focussed on improving access to justice and social justice. Mary Anne has been active in a number of community organisations and boards including West Heidelberg Community Legal Service, Victoria Legal Aid and Carers Victoria. She was the inaugural Chairperson of Welfare Rights Unit and also a member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal for 12 years. Mary Anne is currently Chairperson of the South Port Community Housing Group.
Troy is an experienced finance team leader with a demonstrated history of working in the individual and family service industry. Troy is skilled in business planning, retirement planning, management, leadership and financial risk. Troy is a qualified Financial Counsellor and currently employed as a Manager of the Salvation Army Moneycare program in Victoria where he leads a team of 16 financial counsellors. In addition to Social Security Rights Victoria, Troy currently serves on the board of Regional Academy of Cycling Excellence (RACE) and is Chairperson for the Local Community Services Network in Bendigo.
Rebecca is a legal practitioner, advocate and people leader having spent most of her career in the government and criminal justice sectors. Rebecca spent over a decade at Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) as a defence lawyer, followed by several years as a Managing Lawyer at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), where she managed complex cases and prosecutions, supported investigations into public sector corruption and police personnel misconduct, whilst leading a team of lawyers. Rebecca is now a Director and Principal Lawyer of her own legal practice.
Rebecca has held honorary board roles in the not-for-profit sector, where she has demonstrated effective leadership, integrity and facilitated improvement and efficiency in organisational structure and board governance. Before practicing the law, Rebecca had a previous career in the mental health sector, in both the not-for-profit and Victorian Public Mental Health Service as a Mental Health Social Worker in acute crisis management and rehabilitation. Rebecca is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Rebecca also is a co-opted Non-Executive Director to the Board at GenWest, a family violence support service, that deliver programs to support communities to lead safe and healthy lives.
SSRV’s senior staff have extensive experience in the legal assistance sector.
Gillian has been SSRV’s Director since January 2017. Her previous sector experience includes roles as the Deputy CEO at Peninsula Community Legal Centre, in the leadership position at the Federation of Community Legal Centres and as a community legal education worker.
In these roles she has had the opportunity to work at local, state and national levels and take on a wide range of responsibilities. Gillian is the author of resources relating to design and delivery of community legal education and of volunteer programs. She has taught in TAFE community service and justice courses and has recently completed a Masters of Evaluation.