Management Committee

PATRON

Dorothy Hoddinott AO

Dorothy Hoddinott was principal of Holroyd High School 1995-2018, where one in every two students had been in Australia less than three years and some 60% of all students were of refugee background. She has long been a strong advocate for the human rights of children and young people, particularly young refugees and asylum seekers. Dorothy was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2008 and was the 2014 Australian Human Rights Medalist. She was a Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney 2010-2017 and has been a Pro-Chancellor of the University since 2015.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Kathie Herbert

Chairperson

Kathie is is a life long social justice activist and advocate with broad networks Australia wide. She has been involved in grass roots campaigns organising against the Vietnam War, Nuclear Disarmament, Climate Change Action, Aboriginal Rights, Anti- Apartheid Movement ,conservation and environmental protection, Public Education and Women’s Liberation among others and a member of many organisations fighting for social change, including The Moratorium Movement, Student Underground, NSW Parents and Citizens Federation, Search Foundation, The Greens, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Rural Australians for Refugees.

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Kathie has helped manage and co-ordinate numerous successful public events on advocacy and awareness raising with the BMRSG team such as the the direct online interview with Behrouz Boochani from Manus Island, book events including one with Tom Keneally, film nights, music concerts and fundraising efforts.

Kathie, a resident of the Blue Mountains since 1975, is a well known and respected member of the community . For the past 26 years she  has been part of the team of Megalong Books,  a successful local business which continues to sustain intellectual life with a social conscience. As a qualified librarian she has also worked in the BMCC library service.

Kathie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (majors in History and Economic History)  UNE and a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Library and Information Science) CSU.

Judy Lynch

Deputy Chairperson

Member of Community Visitors Sub Committee

Member of Finance Committee

Now retired, Judy Lynch worked for many years in the electorate offices of both Federal and State Members of Parliament. As well, she has extensive experience as a high school English teacher.

In her work for local politicians, Judy was required to liaise with and coordinate action between government departments, community groups and constituents. Developing strong working relationships with local organisations was a key feature of her role.

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On behalf of the local member, she advocated for individuals and groups within the electorate.

As an educator, Judy taught English to high school students. Her focus was on empowering young people through the development of strong literacy and critical thinking skills.

Judy has served as Secretary and Treasurer of the management committees of community based childcare centres. These roles required strong administrative skills and an understanding of compliance and governance.

Laurie Brackenreg

Treasurer

Laurie has a lifetime experience of financial management in large corporate companies in the Electronics, Food and Printing industries, thence non profit charities including HopeStreet Kings Cross (7 years) , voluntary organisations including state treasurer for Girls Brigade NSW and finance manager and board member of the Sydney Street Choir. He has a strong commitment to social justice and his family has developed strong connections to a refugee who visits for holiday breaks through the Home Among the Gum Trees project.

Bachelor of Business -Accounting 1979.

Jane McQueen

Secretary

Jane has over 35 years experience in health and community sectors of government and non-government agencies.

She has held a number of management, operational and capacity-building roles in community health, women’s health and indigenous health. Jane has been involved in inter-professional, clinical supervision and communication training for health staff, and has taught undergraduate and masters social work courses at university, and community services at TAFE.

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Jane has highly developed skills in relationship management, organisational governance, policy development, strategic planning and negotiation.

From 2009-2010 Jane was a member of the National Executive of the Australian Public Health Association. In 2014 she went to Hanoi as part of a team with Sydney University’s Hoc Mai Foundation teaching medical English to Vietnamese doctors.

Qualifications

2008 Fellow Australian College of Health Service Executives

2001 Master of Primary Health Care (UWS)

1981 Bachelor of Social Work (UNSW)

Eva Trcka

Assistant Treasurer

Eva has lived in Australia for two decades having grown up in Canada after immigrating from the Czech Republic.   She understands the need for compassion and connection.   Eva’s background is accounting, she has more than twenty years working in this area.   She has also trained as a teacher’s aide and ran a taxi business in the mountains.

Roger Grealy 

Committee member

Coordinates Cars for Refugees program

Event Co-ordinator 

Roger has been a high school science teacher, an organiser of fund raisers for various causes,
an environmental advocate and a  trade union activist.
He has been involved in election campaigns for forty plus years as an independent for local ,
state and federal elections.
He has been a visitor to refugees in Villawood Detention Centre and to refugees living in the
community since 2013

Sulojana

Committee Memberf

Sulojana (also known as Sulo) is a Tamil community leader. She wears many hats and has assisted her community in different ways including helping them with forms, employment processes, interpreting, advising, and making referrals to organisations. Sulo was a STARTTS facilitator and Tamil Resettlement and Community Konnect (TRACK) companion Coordinator. She is currently a Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG) member of the community visitors group. She recently completed the NSW Multicultural Scholarship Program for Interpretation. Read More

She participated in the CiCT residential leadership  course in May 2022 and just finished the advocacy skills on February 2023 that can help serve her community better.  Sulo has been volunteering for 14 years to help the Tamil refugees.

Qualifications
Diploma in Counselling
JP (Justice of the Peace)
Interpreter for Multicultural NSW

Senthilpavai Kasiannan

Committee Member

Finance sub-committee

Senthil works in Public Service in the Blue Mountains. Since moving to Sydney, she was briefly exposed to refugee issues while helping translate subtitles for the Refugee Film Festival.

She works primarily in the area of Cultural Heritage Management. She has worked in advocacy for cultural heritage in India.

Since living in the Blue Mountains, she has been a member of BMRSG, actively participating in visiting refugees and people seeking asylum using her language skills

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(Tamil and Hindi/Urdu) and helping in interpreting. She has been concerned and connected to refugee issues through BMRSG for nearly a decade.

Qualifications

PhD in Archaeology (Cultural Heritage Management)

M.Sc (App Sc) (Cultural Heritage Management)

Barbara Barnard

Committee Member

Barbara has worked with migrants and refugees for over 30 years, initially teaching English and later in management roles in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Program. She ran a consultancy company for 8 years, specialising in developing training resources for a variety of industries and writing tenders/submissions. 

Barbara is keenly aware of the barriers faced by refugees, particularly those related to language, education and employment. Read More

Qualifications

BA, DipEd (Macquarie)

Grad Cert, TESOL (UTS)

MA, Language and Literacy (UTS)

Jill Gillespie

Committee Member

Jill Gillespie has worked in a range of education and social support programs since her arrival in Australia in the late 70s.

While working in adult literacy education, she was Secretary and then Chair of the NSW Adult Literacy Council (as it was known at the time), NSW rep on the executive of the Australian Council for Adult Literacy and was a founding member of the Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Action Coalition. She was the Coordinator of the Adult Literacy Information Office from 1988 until 1992, which included International Literacy Year activities in 1990. Read More

She worked for many years with companies in the food processing industry in NSW, promoting access to education and training for operational workers and advising government on skills gaps, shortages and training needs of the industry. She then spent the remainder of her working years in adult ESL program management and managing the delivery of settlement support services for offshore refugees. Now retired, she is Chair of the NSW Refugee Support Network and has latterly become active in the BMRSG Qualification

BA (Sociology)

B Education

Master of Education (Adult)

Post-graduate Certificate in TESOL

Pat Rayner

Social Media Coordinator

Committee Member

Pat has set up and managed social media platforms for a number of community social justice groups for over 20 years.  She has been involved with BMRSG for over 15 years and has a wide knowledge of refugee issues across the sector and at the local level.   Pat has attended a number of Conferences and has a broad network of people who work in peak bodies and in community groups.

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Pat worked in adult education in access and communication.

Qualifications

BA Dip Ed Tasmania

MA Post Secondary Education Macquarie. 

Dr. Hal Ginges

Public Officer

Solicitor and Barrister Dr Ginges is a criminal defence lawyer who has devoted many years to defending and representing people who are often on the margins of society.

He is the Principal Lawyer in a respected local legal firm.

He cannot abide cruelty to animals or humans and is passionate about advocating for just and compassionate treatment of refugees and prisoners.

Member of the Law Society of NSW
B.A. (Hons) M.A. LIB. (Crim Law) PhD