National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee

The Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP has appointed 16 members to the National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee, including two co-chairs, members from the carer community and sector representatives.

Committee members were selected through an open expression of interest process undertaken by the Department of Social Services. The quality of candidates was high, and the process was competitive with over 500 applications received.

Purpose of the Committee

Committee members will draw from their personal and professional experience to support the development, finalisation and implementation stages of the Strategy, as appropriate.


Membership for the National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee was announced in May 2024. Members include:

  • Andrew Whitecross, Co-Chair, (government representative, Department of Social Services) 
  • Meredith Coote, Co-Chair, (carer community)
  • Andy Kowaluk (carer community)
  • Annabel Reid (carer community and Chief Executive Officer of Carers Australia) 
  • Beverley Benporath (carer community and President of The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia Inc)
  • David Gibson (carer community and chair of GRAI GLBTI Rights in Ageing)
  • Jane Rowan (carer community and Executive Director of Eating Disorder Families Australia) 
  • Kerrie Franc (carer community)
  • Kyaw Naing (John) Yusuf (carer community)
  • Lachlan Rowe (carer community)
  • Madeleine Buchner OAM (carer community and Chief Executive Officer of Little Dreamers)
  • Mary Pilkinton (carer community)
  • Mikala Sedgwick (carer community and Senior Policy Officer at First Peoples Disability Network) 
  • Nyadol Nyuon OAM (carer community and Chair of Harmony Alliance) 
  • Philip Coller (carer community) 
  • Philip Martin (carer community)


The Committee will meet at minimum once a month. Short meeting updates will be provided on this page following each meeting.

Meeting Update – 6 May 2023

All National Carer Advisory Committee members met in person in Canberra on Ngunnawal/Ngambri country and online.

The Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, joined the meeting to meet the members and thank them for their commitment to make positive changes for unpaid carers. Minister Rishworth and members discussed how the Strategy will work across government.

Key items covered in the meeting included:

  • The terms of reference were agreed by members subject to some minor adjustments. The finalised terms of reference will be published on this web page in the coming weeks.
  • The national consultations process: an approach to market for a supplier to deliver the national consultations is currently being finalised. Once a supplier is on board, the exact locations and timing of the national consultation process will be finalised.
  • The discussion paper and questionnaires: a discussion paper and 5 short questionnaires will be published on the department’s DSS Engage website in coming weeks as part of multi-faceted national consultation process. This will allow carers with lived experience and sector representatives the opportunity to tell government what is important to them and why. Submissions and feedback will be used to inform ongoing consultation themes and the drafting and development of the Strategy.
  • Early discussions on the development of the National Carer Strategy.

The next meeting will be held online in early June 2024.

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