Board vision
That the ACWA Board governs ethically with the highest level of integrity, transparency and independence recognising its stewardship role in promoting and protecting the profession of community work.

ACWA's national board members are:

Claudia Cunningham
Life member ACWA

Board Role: President and past Vice President, Chair of Queensland/Northern Territory branch, past Chair Education Committee
Term of office: 2014-2017
Qualifications: BFET (Community and Human Service); Associate Diploma Applied Science, Community and Human Services; WH&S Officer and First Aid and CPR.
Practitioner interests: Women’s rights; community development; communication; domestic violence; education and training; BP Guild; and Girl Guides.

Claudia is both an experienced TAFE teacher in community services and a community welfare practitioner. Currently employed as a community sector support coordinator and emergency relief case manager in Queensland, Claudia has previously worked in the Commonwealth Department s of Repatriation, Social Security and Health.

Claudia has a long association with the Girl Guide movement and represented Girl Guides Australia at a world conference in the UK. She also has a strong involvement in Redland Council committees and events, particularly The Strawberry Festival.

Neil Barber
Board role: Vice President, also Chair of the Education Reference Group and Convenor od Finance & Risk
Term of office: 2014-2017
Qualifications: BA (Community Social Services); MA (Child & Adolescent Welfare)
Practitioner interests: Community development; regional and rural practice; work and technology

Neil’s background is as both a practitioner and educator. He is currently the Regional Development Officer for Australian Red Cross’ NSW Migration Support Programs as well as an Academic Associate for Charles Sturt University’s School of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Les Stewart
Board Role: Secretary and Chair Nomination Committee
Term of office: 2014-2017
Qualifications: Diploma of Social Welfare; Diploma of Social Justice
Practitioner interests: Social justice; mental health.

Les was an engineer before pursuing his interests in social justice and mental health. With a long career in the community sector Les has been active in ACWA since 2005. Les is involved in a number of organisations that focus on care for the disadvantaged. Les is a supervisor of students and a family therapist; he also enjoys broadening his horizons through overseas travel.

Margaret O’Brien
Life Member ACWA

Board role: board member, past President, past Vice President, Secretary, member of assessment panel, past Chair of Education Committee, past Chair Queensland/Northern Territory branch.
Term of office: 2014-2017
Qualifications: BA (UQ); Associate Diploma of Residential Care; Graduate of Diploma Education; MSWAP (UQ)
Practitioner interests: Quality care issues, residential aged and disability care.

Margaret’s early career began in the UK working with single mothers and pre-adoptive children. After migrating to Australia Margaret worked with the Queensland Department of Health - mainly with families who had a child with a disability. Margaret was instrumental in setting up the Brisbane North ALS.

For the last 17 years of her paid career Margaret taught community and human services studies at TAFE and university. Now retired Margaret is still active in the sector working as a volunteer within community services. Margaret has been a member of ACWA for 25 years.

Wendy Raine
Life member ACWA
Board role: board member and past President
Term of office: 2014-2017
Qualifications: Associate Diploma of Social welfare; Diploma of Counselling; Diploma of Supervision.
Wendy,a retired welfare worker with Newcastle City Mission, is now in private practice as a clinical counsellor and supervisor, she has also been actively involved with LifeLine for over 20 years. Wendy is now appreciating some time off together with James, husband of 54 years, to enjoy gardening, travel and their grandchildren. Wendy has been a member of ACWA since 1986.

Nick Toonen OAM

Board role: Board member
Term of office: 2016-2017
Qualifications: B Sc (Information Science); Advanced Diploma Community Services Management.

Practitioner interests: Community Development; Social Justice; LGBTI Rights; Aboriginal Rights; Family Violence.

Nick is an experienced non-profit leader and executive, passionate about the development of thriving organisations, people and communities. Currently employed as General Manager at Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, Nick’s previous work has spanned Early Childhood Education and Intervention, End of Life Care, HIV/AIDS, Citizens Advice Bureau and Volunteer Centers.

He has also led campaigns that transformed the way communities think about and engage with issues, resulting in changes to national and state laws, and stronger global human rights protections, in particular through gay rights campaigns.