AbSec staff are a diverse group of people, united by our shared commitment to building a brighter future for Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities.
AbSec staff at our 2017 conference in Coffs Harbour.
Our team is governed by a board, which determines strategy and oversees the implementation of our strategic directions. Our board is made up of representatives from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations across NSW, which are also organisational members of AbSec.
Our staff body is led by Chief Executive Officer, Tim Ireland. Tim oversees four teams, which comprise the rest of our staff:
Strategy, Policy and Engagement: provides policy perspectives for the Aboriginal child and family sector, along with strategies to put those policies into practice.
Support and Sustainability: works hand-in-hand with the Aboriginal community-controlled sector in NSW, providing holistic support to build effective and sustainable services for Aboriginal people.
Executive Support: performs diverse administrative and executive functions contributing to the strong running of the organisation and our public profile.
Finance and Corporate: manages our accounts and human resources.
Our current board members are:
Dana Clarke (Chairperson) – CEO of Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation
Dana Clarke is a proud Biripi and Worimi woman. Dana is the Chairperson and has been an active member on the board since 2005.
Dana has contributed to our communities through a range of roles in Aboriginal health, child protection, sexual assault and mental health for over 25 years. Currently Dana is the Chief Executive Officer of Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation. Burrun Dalai delivers early intervention, family preservation, and out-of-home care services across the Nambucca, Macleay, Hastings and Manning Valleys as well as the Tamworth and Armidale Regions.
Dana’s work reflects her deeply held belief that our kids and families are our future. Dana is committed to ensuring our communities are best supported to guarantee that our kids remain with family, rich in their culture and belonging. To Dana, “family is everything; it is our past and our future”.
Petrice Manton (Vice Chairperson) – CEO of Muloobinba Aboriginal Corporation
Petrice Manton is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Gamipingal clan of the Worimi Nation. Petrice is the deputy Chairperson at AbSec and is the current Chief Executive Officer of Muloobinba Aboriginal Corporation in Newcastle.
Petrice is passionate about advocating for Aboriginal families and making sure our people get a fair go. Petrice is committed to establishing culturally embedded, holistic Aboriginal services to support Aboriginal children and families to flourish, delivered by Aboriginal organisations that are accountable to our communities.
Garry Matthews (Treasurer) – CEO of Abcare
Garry Matthews is a proud Gadigal man of the Eora Nation. Garry is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the AbCare, located in Coffs Harbour. Garry is currently AbSec’s longest-serving Board Member, having been a founding member of AbSec in 1999. In addition to this, Garry has served in a range of leadership positions in government and non-government organisations.
Garry strives for equity of Aboriginal children, families and communities and wants to continue to be a voice for Aboriginal children and young people.
Tangerene Ingram – CEO of Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (RivMed)
Tangerene Ingram is a proud Wiradjuri woman and has connections to Tumut and Brungle. Tangerene joined the AbSec board in 2016.
Tangerene is the Chief Executive Officer of Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (RivMed) in Wagga Wagga, she previously managed the Family Services Unit and the Family Health Team at RivMed and has also coordinated the Wanggaay Koori Out-of-Home Care Services at Anglicare.
Wendy, a proud Barkindgi woman, ia a strong advocate for the rights of Aboriginal people, and is committed to promoting an indigenous perspective on various issues that affect Aboriginal children and families. Wendy is an accomplished senior community services executive, currently serving as the the CEO of Ngunya Jarjum. She has over 15 years’ experience working on complex socioeconomic issues such as child protection, out of home care (OoHC), and service sector contract management in both government and non-government roles.
Tina McGhie is a proud Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal woman born and raised on Dharawal Country. Tina has been an active member of AbSec’s board since 2008 and is currently a Director Consultant at Curijo Pty Ltd.
Tina is dedicated to supporting Aboriginal children to remain safely at home with their family, connected to community and culture.
William Henry – CEO of Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation
William Henry is a Yuin Man from the South Coast of NSW and the Chief Executive Officer of Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation. He has worked in the Aboriginal service sector for over 15 years, in areas ranging from health and ageing, to disability and governance. William was previously employed as an Aboriginal Community Development Officer with the Dental Health Service of Victoria, and Chief Executive Officer of Illaroo Co-operative Aboriginal Corporation. He was Chairman of the board of the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation for 10 years prior to his appointment as CEO, and is the grandson of one of the founding members.
Leasa Kelly – Founder Kutanya
Leasa Kelly is a proud Paakantyi/ Ngiyampaa woman from Menindee in Far West NSW. She has worked in Aboriginal affairs within Commonwealth, State and non-government sector for over 30 years, holding senior positions of State Manager for ATSIC, and A/Director of the Aboriginal Branch within Family and Community Services. During Leasa’s time at FACS, she developed the Aboriginal Consultation Guide and provided advice to practitioners around Aboriginal culture and practices. She continues to be a strong advocate for women and children and has worked tirelessly for her local community.
Leasa was instrumental in the resurrection of the Outback Rugby League in 2007, and is still a very active member of the Menindee Yabbies Football Club. Leasa is also the co-founder of Kutanya who provide cultural advice and cultural camps for children across the state.
Leasa recently joined the Board of AbSec, and is looking forward to continuing the great work. SheLeasa is also the very proud grandmother of 7 children and is very active in their lives inspiring them to learn about their cultural and be proud of who they are.
Jamie Matthews – Acting CEO of Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre
Jamie is a proud Gamilario/Dhungutti man with over 10 years of experience working within Aboriginal Health Services to provide the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with a broad range of health services and programs within the Western Sydney Region, Jamie has also been a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee with Family and Community Services (FACS) – Western Sydney working closely with the Director and other community member in implementing culturally appropriate services for the Aboriginal communities of Western Sydney.
Jamie has experience with managing the transition of the former Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney when it went into liquidation and effectively set up a new service under the management of WentWest (Western Sydney Primary Health Network).
Jamie has extensive management skills including strategic planning, coaching, performance and people management. Jamie and his wife have been carers in the Out of Home Care space for over 10yrs and is currently Kinship Carer of two beautiful children who are currently in their care.
Jamie joined Biripi ACMC in October 2019 in the role as the Executive Health Services Manager and is currently acting CEO of Biripi ACMC with Robert Skeen departure mid-April 2020.
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Ireland was appointed Chief Executive Officer of AbSec in 2015. A proud Bundjalung man, Tim previously worked in several senior executive roles at the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and in Aboriginal community development roles within local government.
Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Sydney, specialising in Sociology, Social Policy, Government and International Relations. He is also a graduate of the NSW Public Service Commission’s Executive Development Program, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a practitioner of PRINCE2 Project Management, and a certified Change Management Practitioner (accredited through APMG International and the Change Management Institute).
As at mid 2018, we have a total of 21 staff members, 15 (71%) who are Aboriginal. Our staff come from the Bundjalung, Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi, Paakantji and various other nations.
Please visit our careers page if you’re interested in joining our team.