Volunteering Community Reference Group Members: Second row - Elizabeth Acason, Susie Moir, Vicki Pollard, Sue Fielding, Craig Spencer (Chair), Dan Minchin, Carlie Jones. Front row - Meredith Blais, Esme Bowen, Hon Don Punch MLA Minister for Volunteering, Tina Williams (joining remotely), Dr Megan Paull, Maia Hildebrand, Tina MacDonald

Volunteering Community Reference Group

The Volunteering Community Reference Group is established under the direction of the Minister for Volunteering. The purpose of the Volunteering Community Reference Group is to provide a direct voice on volunteering issues from the sector to government.

The Volunteering Community Reference Group will provide the Hon Minister with non-binding advice and information on trends and issues impacting the sector and feedback on the implementation of the State Volunteering Strategy.


Communiques

Terms of Reference

2024

2023

2022

2021

2020


Below are members of the Volunteering Community Reference Group:

Minister for Volunteering

Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA

Minister for Regional Development; Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; Volunteering

Hon Don Punch MLA is the Minister for Regional Development; Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; Volunteering, and has been a member of the Legislative Assembly since 2017, representing the seat of Bunbury.

Don migrated to Australia from Manchester in 1971, attending high school in Manjimup and Collie.

Prior to entering politics, Don studied psychology and social work at the University of Western Australia, and later completed an MBA at Edith Cowan University. He has worked throughout regional Western Australia as a social worker and as a Senior Executive in the public sector.

In 1998, Don became CEO of the South West Development and assumed responsibility for many aspects of the South West region’s social and economic development, including projects such as the renewal of the Manjimup town centre with an emphasis on food based tourism, the renewal of the Bunbury water front and the redevelopment of Busselton airport. He continued in this role until resigning to contest the seat of Bunbury for WA Labor in 2016.

His passion for blending social and economic development and commitment to creative design and emerging technologies characterised his work in the south west, and will continue to guide his Ministerial agenda.

Hon Reece Whitby MLA

Chair

Craig Spencer

Craig chairs the Volunteering Community Reference Group.

Craig has had a long term commitment to community service, currently holding several board and community representative roles and as an emergency services volunteer for over 17 years in both NSW and WA.

Craig believes the economic, social and cultural value of volunteering is very significant and that volunteering is an important part of the strong social fabric of our society, particularly in Western Australia where the vastness of our state often means that vital community services are delivered by volunteers.  

Craig

Convenor

Tina Williams

As the CEO of Volunteering WA, the state peak body for volunteering, Tina is committed to driving VWA’s mission in leading, advancing and celebrating volunteering in WA. Tina’s work focuses on developing and leading a strong, inclusive and dynamic volunteer sector in WA that enriches our communities and makes volunteering safe, accessible and meaningful for everyone.

Tina is the convenor of the Volunteering Community Reference Group, where she provides government with a direct voice from the sector on their shared needs, interests and priorities. She is a passionate advocate for volunteers, supporting WA’s volunteering involving organisations and promoting the benefits of volunteering to grow the sector.

Tina

Volunteering WA – Peak Representative

Meredith Blais

As Volunteering WA’s Senior Policy Advisor, Meredith works with all levels of government, the volunteering sector and the community to develop policy that supports the growth and development of volunteering.

Meredith has experience, both locally and overseas, in strategy, policy and community engagement with qualifications in commerce and corporate governance.   

Meredith is a long-term volunteer, currently working with Street Law Centre of WA, Share the Dignity and as a member of the City of Joondalup’s Strategic Community Reference Group.

Her happiest times are working with people and communities who care for each other and are committed to making this world a kinder, more inclusive and healthier place.  

Meredith

Volunteer Representatives

Esme Bowen

Esme has been involved in the family surf retail business for 30 years and has a background in nursing and disability services, working as a community volunteer and road safety advocate for many years. 

Esme’s volunteering has included leadership roles with Wheelchair Sports WA, Wheelchair Sports Australia, Disability Sports Australia and the Australian Automobile Association.   She recently retired from the RAC Council after serving 15 years including as President, Honorary Life Member, RAC Councillor and Chair of the RAC Sponsorship Committee.  Esme is also Chair of the WA Ministers Carers Advisory Council and a Board member of the Paraplegic Benefit Fund and Children’s Hospital Alumni of WA. She is the President  of the PMH  Ex Trainees Association and sits on the RFDS Consumer and Carers  Advisory group .

Esme believes it is a privilege to be a community representative on the Minister’s Volunteering Community Reference Group and explore the priorities, strengths and challenges of volunteering across WA and its diverse and vibrant communities.

Esme shares the vision of a stronger, more connected and resilient Australian community through volunteering and serves on the board of Volunteering Australia

Esme

Not-for-profit Representatives

Dan Minchin

Dan is the CEO of Chorus, an organisation operating in the community aged and disability sector and committed to bringing a fresh approach to communiuty service.

Dan has been an active volunteer in a wide range of settings beginning with his days at university and continuing over 25 years with various roles in sporting clubs, health and art organisations and in the  education sector.  Currently he is a member of Minister Simone McGurk’s Supporting Communities Forum, the Methodist Ladies College Council, a regular participant in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth and he volunteers with his own organisation.

Dan’s volunteering and professional experience has given him a unique insight into the needs of the most vulnerable in our community and he believes the reference group can provide advice to the Minister that is both aspirational and practical, in turn leading to improved conditions for volunteering in Western Australia.

Dan

Corporate Representative

Carlie Jones

As RAC’s Community Volunteering Manager, Carlie Jones is responsible for taking a lead role in connecting the organisations workforce and 1.2 million members to Western Australia’s volunteering eco-system. Through this appointment, Carlie plays an integral role in developing and enabling a transformational program that provides meaningful pathways for employees and community to give back.

Her extensive experience in leading corporate programs along with her expertise in Public Health, Health and Safety and Social Impact have afforded her the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the sector. Carlie is a passionate advocate for driving community change and is Chair of the WA Corporate Volunteer Council. During the development of the National Volunteer Strategy, Carlie was also selected as a representative on the Corporate Volunteer Reference Group.

Carlie sees great potential in workplace volunteering programs and hopes to positively influence change through her leadership roles. Carlie has a vision for corporate volunteering to be more accessible and transformational, enabling an increase in the number of workplaces giving back and contributing to their local communities in meaningful ways.

Gemma

Research Representatives

Dr Megan Paull

Dr Megan Paull is a senior lecturer at Murdoch University where she teaches in Management, including a unit in Leading and Managing Nonprofit Organisations.

Megan has had a long affiliation with Volunteering WA, having first been involved when undertaking research on managing change in volunteer involving organisations in the 1990s.  She has been a leader and driver of the Volunteering WA Research Committee since its inception in 2001. 

Most recently Megan led a federal government funded project examining university student volunteering -  Volunteering to Learn.

Having completed her research masters and her PhD researching difficult aspects of managing volunteers, Megan prides herself on ensuring that the work undertaken in her research is communicated back to the community and to those who contributed to the research. 

Megan

Department of Communities

Sue Fielding

Sue Fielding has extensive experience in Community Services in both government and non-government portfolio’s. Sue is currently employed at the Department of Communities in the position of Director Community Development. In this role she provides management and leadership to the Community Development team in the Volunteering; Youth; Carers/Grandcarers; Changing Places; Service Design; Seniors and Aging; Age-friendly Communities Program; Elder Abuse and; Veterans Issues portfolios. Sue has tertiary qualifications in community services management, project management, training and assessment, education and social science.

Sue

Local Government Representatives

Hannah Godsave

Bio to follow

Volunteer Resource Representatives

Elizabeth Acason

Elizabeth is the Manager of the Swan Volunteer Resource Centre, where she coordinates a team of volunteer and paid staff to deliver support, information, referral and resources to the community and Volunteer Involving Organisations. With the Centre’s current membership of 220 groups, ranging from large not for profits and NGO’s to smaller volunteer led community groups, Elizabeth has a breadth of understanding of the successes and the challenges facing a wide cross section of the West Australian NFP sector. As a Centre that connects individuals through face to face consultation with volunteer opportunities in the community, Elizabeth is uniquely placed to understand the motivations and requirements of volunteers and how these issues should drive volunteer program development and innovation.

Elizabeth has volunteered and worked in the NFP sector in Perth for 29 years and is currently a member of the Volunteer Resource Centre Network Steering Committee. 

Elizabeth

Vicki Pollard

Vicki is the Manager of the Peel Volunteer Resource Centre (PVRC) and Rockingham Volunteer Centre (RVC), where she manages a team of volunteer and paid staff to deliver support, information, referral, and resources to the community and Volunteer Involving Organisations. 

Vicki has a wide range of understanding of the successes and the challenges facing a wide cross section of the West Australian NFP sector, having held many executive roles in local NFP’s board of management including; Greenfields Family & Community Centre, Allambee (Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence), WestAus Crisis & Welfare and Lightweight Motorcycle Club to name a few. Vicki is well placed to understand the motivations, challenges and requirements of volunteers and volunteer managers and how these issues should drive volunteer program development and innovation. 

Vicki has extensive years of experience in the Volunteer sector, with over 25 years as a volunteer and worked in the NFP sector in the Peel region for 15 years and is currently a member of the Volunteer Resource Centre Network Steering Committee and a founding member of the Volunteer Leadership Network.

Vicki Pollard