Matt is the Managing Director of Australian Services with Save The Children, leading a large, professional workforce across every state and territory. He has a background in relationship and trauma counselling, disability, child protection, mental health, family law mediation, violence prevention and community development. His experience has included several Social Impact Investments, including leading Australia’s first Social Impact Bond to mature, and has negotiated several innovative Payment By Outcome (PBO), based on risk/return modelling across a range of sectors. Matt has lead mergers and acquisitions in several sectors and segments and enjoys leading through cultural and business transformation.
Passionate about social justice, improving systems and therapeutic practice, Matt is an experienced practitioner and has held senior executive roles at some of Australia’s leading not-for-profits. He currently serves as a director on several company Boards and governmental advisory committees. He is proud to contribute to the ongoing strength of QCOSS in its strategic objectives and to represent members across the state.
Matt is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has undergraduate qualifications in psychology and counselling, Masters in Clinical Counselling, Grad. Dip. in Strategic Leadership.
After serving nearly a decade in the General Manager’s role of Roseberry Qld, Colleen is proud of the success she was able to achieve, leading the organisation to the very prominent position, it holds within the social sector. Now relocated to Brisbane, Colleen is still focused on ensuring regional issues and interests are highlighted, while serving on the QCOSS Board.
Colleen is currently working within the education sector, where she is able to bring her experience and perspective, from the NFP and social sector. Her passion is to work with teachers to ensure best possible outcomes and potential are achieved for our children and young people – our children need great teachers in their lives, to inspire and motivate them.
Having an array of experience on boards, Colleen is continuing to enjoy working with such a talented group of people who sit on the QCOSS Board, as well as management and staff of QCOSS.
Faiza El-Higzi OAM
Faiza is a general member of QCOSS with over 20 years’ experience in the community sector as a board member, manager and volunteer, focusing on emerging African, Arab and Islamic communities.
She is a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal (2020) and Queensland Government Multicultural Award for Outstanding Individual (2018). Faiza has extensive experience working with young people and refugees. Currently Faiza is an academic with University of Queensland, and a member of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council and Metro South Health Consumer Advisory Committee. Faiza is a member of the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Committee. She is the Chair of the Ethnic Broadcasting Association Queensland.
Faiza has 10 years’ experience in government at both state and federal levels in strategic policy, research and industry development. Her experience in the NGO sector includes community development, refugee settlement and youth engagement. Faiza has several qualifications including a post graduate level in Architecture, Project Management, International Business and Education. She is currently a PHD scholar at the University for Queensland focusing on gender studies.
Kevin Mercer is the Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland. He joined in February 2019 with more than 30 years of experience in management across a range of sectors, including 10 years in the aged care, community care, disability and retirement living sectors.
Kevin also held management positions in marketing, business development and logistics in a range of industries including retail, manufacturing, consulting, telecommunications and energy sectors.
Kevin has served as the Chief Executive Aged and Community Care of Mercy Health Australia, and as the Chief Executive Officer of Holy Spirit Care Services.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accountancy and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Canterbury. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the CEO Institute of Australia. Kevin has also completed Catholic Health Australia’s Ministry Leadership Program.
He has a strong sense of social justice and a life-long passion for learning to improve the lives of those experiencing disadvantage. Kevin has been a Director of QCOSS since April 2019.
Kevin has also completed Catholic Health Australia’s Ministry Leadership Program.
Rachelle is Chief Operating Officer, Human & Community Services with Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Limited. She believes every person should have the same opportunities regardless of background, education or challenges faced.
Rachelle has held a number of executive and frontline roles across out-of-home-care, mental health, research and human services. She has worked in urban, regional and remote settings across Queensland, NSW, ACT and Western Australia. Rachelle’s work across rural and remote Australia has taught her that best practice and evidence-based models are not always broadly applicable to their intended populations. It is her combined experiences working in policy environments, executive level positions and also several frontline sector roles that have brought her to this position. Rachelle is passionate about working with service providers, funding providers, staff and her community to develop programs and models that are flexible enough to respond to any community or individual.
Linda is a regional member and has worked with and on boards within the not-for-profit sector for 30 years. As CEO of Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre, she has grown the centre into the lead community service provider in the Hinchinbrook area.
Linda has grown the centre through her passion for empowering others. This manifests in her commitment to teaching and mentoring, having taught community services through TAFE to both senior high school students and Indigenous workers from throughout North and Far North Queensland.
At a strategic level, she has contributed to the development of the sector training, the recognition of Queensland neighbourhood centres through Queensland Families & Communities Association, and the needs of the housing sector through the Townsville Housing & Homelessness Network.
Lee-Anne is currently a Regional Manager with Carers Queensland delivering Local Area
Coordination Services for the National Disability Insurance Scheme across Central Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay Burnett, and Moreton Bay regions.
Lee-Anne has held several senior management positions across a range of community service organisations and developed partnerships and networks with a diverse range of stakeholders to deliver collaborative projects.
She has worked in both service delivery and policy development across a range of project streams including, child protection, domestic and family violence services, family and relationship services and disability services.
Throughout Lee-Anne’s 20-year history working in the community services sector, she remains committed to championing equitable access to services in regional, remote and rural communities and advocating for community organisations to receive the funding and support they need to deliver them.
Bronwyn Fredericks is a Professor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) at the University of Queensland (UQ, Australia). She was previously the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement), BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Chair in Indigenous Engagement and the Chairperson of Academic Board at Central Queensland University (CQUniversity, Australia).
In 2016, Bronwyn was appointed as the Presiding Commissioner with the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) to lead the Inquiry into service delivery in Queensland’s remote and discrete Indigenous communities. She additionally worked on the Inquiry into manufacturing, the Inquiry into Imprisonment and Recidivism in Queensland (2019) and the Queensland Recycling Review (2019).
Bronwyn has worked for both state and federal levels of government and has a long history of direct hands-on involvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-based organisations spanning over 30 years. For example, she was Chairperson of the Bidgerdii Community Health Service for some 9 years, a Director of Anglicare Central Queensland, assisted in the establishment of community organisations, and served on numerous community committees.
Bronwyn is noted for her community-based research and translating research outcomes along with her strong practice-based commitment to social justice and improving Indigenous health, education, and life outcomes.
Aimee is QCOSS’ Chief Executive Officer, and a strong advocate for equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all Queenslanders.
As a community lawyer and human rights advocate, Aimee led the successful campaign for a Human Rights Act for Queensland.
Aimee has qualifications in communications and law, attaining a Master of Laws (International and Public Law) from the University of Melbourne. Her work as a lawyer focussed on human rights and discrimination, guardianship, estate planning, child protection and domestic violence.
Prior to joining QCOSS, she worked in various senior and advisory roles, including at the Disability Royal Commission, Disability Law Queensland and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advocacy Service.
Aimee has been engaged by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples as a gender advisor, and has worked with a number of non-profit organisations in Queensland, including during the Child Abuse Royal Commission.
She was also a state finalist for the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards, and a finalist for the 2019 Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal.
She has worked across a range of project streams including, child protection, domestic and family violence services, family and relationship services and disability services.
Annette brings more than 20 years of senior management experience to QCOSS, having worked in local government roles in both Australia and New Zealand providing leadership in a diverse range of business areas – including events, community development, libraries, performing arts, social planning and research, marketing, media, governance and business support.
“I am proud of the corporate services team – although small in numbers they look for inspiration and innovation, are gutsy, ambitious always willing to go the extra mile,” she says.
After travelling and volunteering in Cambodia in 2016, in 2017 Annette returned to work in the not-for-profit sector, initially for an organisation providing humanitarian and refugee settlement support. She joined QCOSS in March 2018.
“I love to travel,” she says. “There’s nothing better than appreciating life, and your own life, exploring new places and having new adventures and experiences… creating new memories, connecting with many diverse people and cultures, and understanding history – including the good, the bad, and the sad!”
“(Here at QCOSS) there are a range of key projects currently being progressed by a small but committed and enthusiastic team,” she says, which include a new HR and payroll system, intranet refresh, and investigating other enabling technologies – amongst many other things.
“(We’re also) developing a physical co-location project with a number of other Peaks.”
“I enjoy working at QCOSS as it is a trusted leader in the community services sector,” she says. “(Because of) its agility and flexibility to respond to opportunities, challenges and change – and the ability to work on a range of projects.”
She says a significant piece of work is also putting a bigger focus on organisational culture and staff engagement, ensuring staff share a sense of direction, and are strengthened by unity.
“(It’s important) that every single employee feels that they are valued, belong and are contributing to their own and the success of the organisation.”
Honorary Life Members
The QCOSS Board has recognised these exceptional individuals for their contribution and outstanding service.
QCOSS is proud to represent the interests of our members and the broader community services sector to bring our vision for equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person, in every community to life. With members ranging from individuals to large organisations working across the globe, QCOSS relies on and works with our membership in order to achieve our shared vision.
Throughout our history, the organisation and the QCOSS Board have welcomed many passionate, outspoken, driven and revolutionary thinkers who have shaped social change in Queensland today. As a sign of respect, and recognition for the exceptional contribution and outstanding services brought to the organisation and the broader community, the board can nominate individuals as Honorary Life Members.
We recognise past life membership recipients of honorary life memberships and remain grateful for their involvement and dedication to QCOSS and Queensland communities.
QCOSS honorary life members
Cyril Gilbert OAM
(Margaret) Peg Whiley
Rev Colin Arkell
Alma Hartshorn AM
Professor Edna Chamberlain AM
Vera Raymer OAM
Prof Dr Margaret Steinberg AM
Karyn Walsh AM
Helga Biro OAM
The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO
QCOSS is supported by the vice-regal patronage of Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM, Governor of Queensland.
QCOSS is supported by the vice-regal patronage of Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM, Governor of Queensland. Her Excellency accepted the role in 2021 when she was appointed Governor, in acknowledgment of the vital state-wide work QCOSS does to reduce poverty and disadvantage.
Message from the Governor of Queensland
For over 60 years, the Queensland Council of Social Service has been striving to achieve its vision of equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all Queenslanders.
As the 27th Governor of Queensland, I am proud to continue the tradition of vice-regal patronage and lend my support to an organisation that does so much to improve the lives of those who are disadvantaged in our communities.
While social diversity is a positive force, social disparity is not. Sadly, too many Queenslanders continue to experience hardship and exclusion, which has a detrimental effect on daily living, and places limitations on future possibilities.
As the peak body for Queensland community services, QCOSS is a pivotal force in driving beneficial change where it is most needed. Through advocacy, collaboration, policy development, and targeted projects, QCOSS harnesses the power of a multitude of voices and skills to create grounded, effective outcomes. This is especially important now, as so many Queenslanders look to QCOSS members for support in the aftermath of devastating flooding. The effect of this vital work extends beyond the tangible, as it also spreads optimism and hope, sentiments that unify and encourage.
I congratulate QCOSS and its members for the immense contributions they are making to the benefit of all Queenslanders, and wish them all ongoing success.