Department of Health

Victorian Collaborative Centre Board

Collaborative Centre board

The Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing board will oversee the establishment and operation of the new centre.

The ten inaugural board members of the Collaborative Centre board are Terry Laidler (Chair), Maria Katsonis (Deputy Chair), Lisa Brophy, Gill Callister, Sheree Lowe, Steve Moylan, Gerard Naughtin, Phong Nguyen, Fionn Skiotis and Amelia Walters. 

  • Terry Laidler
    Chair

    Terry Laidler has extensive experience as a psychologist working in private forensic practice, mainly in family law, child protection and criminal jurisdictions, and is former Chair of the Victorian Mental Health Reform Council. He has also held a position as an academic specialist in the Global & Cultural Mental Health program in School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne and has taught forensic behavioural studies at Monash University and still teaches the same at Swinburne University. Terry is thrilled to be announced as the new Chair for the Collaborative Centre board. Terry is keen to ensure that collaboration among consumers, carers and professionals is at the very heart of the board’s work.  

    Maria Katsonis 
    Deputy Chair

    Maria Katsonis is a Public Policy Fellow at the University of Melbourne where she teaches public policy and management at a postgraduate level. She was previously a senior executive in the Victorian public service for 20 years. Maria has been using her lived experience of mental illness as a consumer advocate for 13 years with Beyond Blue, Mental Health Australia and the National Mental Health Commission. She has a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was named an Australian Financial Review Woman of Influence for her leadership in diversity and inclusion. Maria is a second-generation Greek-Australian and identifies as gay. She lives with a chronic mental illness and leads an active and purposeful life.  

    Professor Lisa Brophy 
    Member

    Lisa Brophy is a Professor and Discipline Lead in Social Work and Social Policy at La Trobe University, and also an honorary principal research fellow in the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. She has over 35 years’ experience working in the mental health and university sectors in Victoria since qualifying as a Social Worker. Her research focus is on people experiencing mental illness and psychosocial disability and their recovery, social inclusion and human rights. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles as well as book chapters and multiple reports for government and non-government funders.  

    Gill Callister 
    Member

    Gill Callister is proud to lead Mind Australia as CEO. She is known for her person-centred reform in social policy, her advocacy for gender equality and women’s leadership, and her dedication to providing a voice to those often overlooked or excluded from mainstream services.  Gill has a wealth of health, education and social services experience. She began her career as a social worker and dedicated two decades to shaping reform in public policy and services in mental health, child protection and education. Past roles include Secretary - Victorian Department of Human Services, Secretary - Victorian Department of Education and Training, and Associate Dean - Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) where she led programs in ethics, integrity and leadership. Gill received the Public Service Medal – Victoria in 2019 for outstanding public service, leadership and innovation in policy development and service delivery.  

    Sheree Lowe 
    Member

    Sheree Lowe is a descendant of the Djab Wurrung and Gunditjmara people living on Waddawurrung country in regional Victoria. Growing up Aboriginal, her family and community has shaped her life and identity as a proud Aboriginal woman living in a world of diverse life experiences. Like many her identity and experiences have been, and continue to be, impacted by the legacy of colonisation. She has spent her personal and professional life living, supporting, and advocating for Aboriginal people to be seen and heard across a range of different injustices including justice, education, health and wellbeing. Sheree has experience in working in the community, government and private sector. Sheree is an Executive Director at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and leads the Balit Durn Durn Centre (The Centre for Excellence in Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing).

    Professor Steve Moylan 
    Member

    Steve Moylan is Clinical Director of the Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services at Barwon Health and Professor and Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at Deakin University. He is qualified in both general adult and old age psychiatry. He is the current Chair of On the Line, a not-for-profit digital mental health provider, and director at Mental Health Victoria.

    Steve’s personal experience of personal trauma related to the Bali Bombings has driven a passion for helping others. This experience, combined with his professional experience working as a psychiatrist, has underscored the key role that lived experience can and should play in helping shape and deliver mental health care. He has deep admiration and respect for the contribution consumers, carers and clinicians play in delivering mental health care, and understands that bringing together these differing experiences, perspectives and expertise will lead to a mental health care system focused on what really matters. He lives in Geelong with his young family and loves living and working in regional Victoria.  

    Gerard Naughtin 
    Member

    Gerry Naughtin brings a diverse range of experience in mental health and psychosocial disability services in Victoria and nationally, including membership of the Expert Advisory Panel to the Victorian Royal Commission, nine years as Chief Executive of Mind Australia and his current role as Strategic Adviser Psychosocial Disability and Mental Health in the National Disability Insurance Agency. Through this role he chairs the National Mental Health Sector Reference Group, a national advisory to the NDIA on psychosocial disability, which has allowed him to hear the perspectives of mental consumer, carer and service provider organisational representatives and engage with many health professional organisations. He has some academic experience and held an Associate Professor position in the Health Sciences Faculty at LaTrobe University.  
    He has a strong commitment to the development of lived experience in mental health and disability services. He co-authored a chapter in the Peer Work in Australia book with his friend and colleague Janet Meagher. He has a professional qualification in social work and completed his Doctor of Philosophy in 2008.

    Phong Nguyen 
    Member

    Phong Thaddeus Nguyen OAM is a passionate and dedicated advocate for peace, harmony, social justice, human rights, social reform and multiculturalism in Victoria and Australia. Phong arrived in Australia as a refugee from Viet-Nam in 1979. He joined and became the first Australian trained Vietnamese Jesuit in Australia. After graduating from Melbourne University where he obtained a B.A, a Post Graduate Diploma and an M.A in Applied Linguistics, Phong worked in social welfare, becoming the director of a multi-ethnic welfare agency for more than 16 years, and was appointed to many government board and advisory positions due to his strong stance and knowledge on multiculturalism and social justice issues. With 30 years’ experience working in welfare services and more than 35 years of volunteering in the community, Phong brings extensive knowledge of board governance, multicultural communities, health and social services. 

    Fionn Skiotis 
    Member

    Fionn Skiotis was born in Melbourne of a mixed cultural background and has been involved all his life in movements and initiatives for justice, equality and change. He has worked for over 30 years in the not for profit or community sector, both in Australia and internationally, in a range of roles and fields including advocacy, community development, human rights, housing, services for people with disability and mental health. He has served three successive terms as a Community Member of the Mental Health Tribunal (and its predecessor) in Victoria. He has a Master of Social Science degree from RMIT and has been appointed a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. More recently his experience has been deepened and extended by having a family member diagnosed with a mental illness. 

    Amelia Walters 
    Member

    Amelia is a mental health advocate, peer worker, and lived experience researcher. As a fellow with the Yale University Lived Experience Transformational Leadership Academy, Amelia advocates for lived experience leadership, promoting partnerships with young people in service reform, and addressing structural issues within the mental health and wellbeing sector. She is also interested in embedding lived experience in research, and research for innovative service delivery and creating accessible and equitable services. Undertaking a Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne, Amelia hopes to assist law reform and promote the human rights of people engaging with the mental health and wellbeing system. Amelia is also passionate about environmental protection, climate justice, and protecting the rights of refugees and stateless persons. She currently volunteers as a paralegal with Refugee Legal and as Advocacy Director with Law Students for Refugees.

The appointments bring broad depth of personal and professional experiences to the board.

The board will oversee the establishment and operation of the new Collaborative Centre. This includes setting the early strategic direction of the new centre and selecting key delivery clinical and academic partners.

The board has at least four people who identify as having a lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress. This includes two people who bring a consumer perspective and two with family, carer or supporter perspective.

Board updates

The Collaborative Centre board has committed to publishing an update after each meeting to keep partners and stakeholders informed of the board’s priorities. 

Board charter

The Collaborative Centre Board Charter sets out the roles and responsibilities and responsibilities of the Board. 

  • Ratified 13 September 2022

    The Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing (VCC) is established under the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2021 (the Act).

    This Board Charter (Charter) sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Board.

    The 'Board' refers to the members of the Board and 'Directors' refers to the two Co-Directors who are senior executives of the VCC.

    The Charter applies subject to the applicable legal and regulatory requirements, including:

    • the Public Administration Act 2004
    • the Code of Conduct for Directors of Victorian Public Entities ('Code of Conduct').
  • Through the Act, the Parliament has given the VCC the following guiding principles:

    • mental health and wellbeing is shaped by the social, cultural, economic and physical environments in which people live and is a shared responsibility of society
    • the inherent dignity of people living with mental illness or psychological distress is to be respected and the necessary holistic support required to ensure their full and effective participation in society is to be provided
    • the family members and carers of people living with mental illness or psychological distress are to have their contributions recognised and supported
    • comprehensive mental health and wellbeing treatment, care and support services are to be provided on an equitable basis to those who need them and as close as possible to their communities
    • collaboration and communication is to occur between services within and beyond the mental health and wellbeing system and at all levels of government
    • responsive, high-quality mental health and wellbeing services attract a skilled and diverse workforce
    • people living with mental illness or psychological distress, their family members, carers, and local communities, are central to the planning and delivery of mental health treatment, care and support services
    • mental health and wellbeing services are to be informed by continuing research, evaluation, and innovation, to respond to community needs now and into the future.

    The VCC has the following legislated functions:

    • to provide, promote and coordinate the provision of mental health and wellbeing services
    • to assist service providers to facilitate and improve access to mental health and wellbeing services
    • to provide or arrange the provision of specialist support services and care for persons who have experienced trauma
    • to develop strategies for conducting research, and applying and disseminating research findings, in the field of mental health and wellbeing having regard to any priorities for research determined by the Board in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Health
    • to conduct, promote and coordinate research in the field of mental health and wellbeing, including in collaboration with other persons and entities
    • to provide, promote and coordinate activities that support the continuing education and professional development of service providers and persons who work or conduct research in the field of mental health and wellbeing
    • to provide advice and guidance to service providers and practitioners in relation to the provision of mental health and wellbeing services
    • to report to the Minister and the Secretary of the Department of Health on matters relevant to its functions
    • to perform any other function conferred on the Centre by or under the Act or any other Act.
  • The Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian public sector values and sets the standard of behaviour expected of board members and statutory office holders from the date of their appointment.

    The behaviours are essential to how board members and statutory office holders perform their duties and to the relationship they have with their portfolio Minister, departmental and public entity staff, and the community.

    Section 7 of the Public Administration Act 2004 requires public officials, including board members and statutory office holders, to demonstrate the public sector values by behaving in a particular way. The values are responsiveness; integrity; impartiality; accountability; respect, leadership and human rights.

    Responsiveness

    Public officials should demonstrate responsiveness by:

    • providing frank, impartial and timely advice to the Government
    • providing high quality services to the Victorian community
    • identifying and promoting best practice.

    Integrity

    Public officials should demonstrate integrity by:

    • being honest, open and transparent in their dealings
    • using powers responsibly
    • reporting improper conduct
    • declaring and avoiding any real or apparent conflicts of interest
    • striving to earn and sustain public trust of a high level

    Impartiality

    Public officials should demonstrate impartiality by:

    • making decisions and providing advice on merit and without bias, caprice, favouritism or self-interest; and
    • acting fairly by objectively considering all relevant facts and fair criteria; and
    • implementing Government policies and programs equitably.

    Accountability

    Public officials should demonstrate accountability by:

    • working to clear objectives in a transparent manner
    • accepting responsibility for their decisions and actions
    • seeking to achieve best use of resources
    • submitting themselves to appropriate scrutiny.

    Respect

    Public officials should demonstrate respect for colleagues, other public officials and members of the Victorian community by:

    • treating them fairly and objectively
    • ensuring freedom from discrimination, harassment and bullying
    • using their views to improve outcomes on an ongoing basis.

    Leadership

    Public officials should demonstrate leadership by actively implementing, promoting and supporting these values.

    Human Rights

    Public officials should respect and promote the human rights set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities by:

    • making decisions and providing advice consistent with human rights
    • actively implementing, promoting and supporting human rights.
  • To ensure the VCC fulfills its functions under the Act, the Board will:

    • determine the strategic direction and priorities of the VCC
    • establish a governance framework for the VCC and monitoring compliance with the framework
    • prepare strategic plans and statements of priorities for the VCC
    • advise the Minister and the Department of Health Secretary of any significant decisions of the Board and any issues of public concern or risk that affect or may affect the VCC
    • monitor the performance of the Centre and the Directors
    • determine, in consultation with the Department of Health Secretary, priorities for research in the field of mental health and wellbeing
    • establish committees to assist or advise the Board in performing any of its functions
    • determine standards and indicators to prepare strategic plans and statements of priorities for the VCC

    The Board may delegate any of its functions or exercise of its powers, other than the power of delegation, to any of the following roles: 

    • a member of the Board
    • the Co-Directors (either jointly or jointly and severally)
    • one co-Director
    • the interim Executive Officer
    • VCC staff.

    In doing so, the Board retains ultimate responsibility for these matters. The Board may delegate authority in line with the VCC Delegations of Authority.

  • The Chairperson has legal obligations and duties under common law and under the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2021, the Public Administration Act 2004 and any other relevant state and federal legislation. The Chairperson is a Public Sector Body Head under the Public Administration Act 2004. 

    The functions of the Chairperson include: 

    • leading and overseeing the strategic direction and priorities of the VCC. 
    • facilitating and assisting the Board in fulfilling its functions.
    • reviewing agenda items, Board papers and minutes to ensure:
      • the integrity of Board papers and that there is sufficient information for decision-making
      • Board minutes properly reflect decisions, and that the decisions of the Board are properly implemented
    • guiding Board meetings to facilitate open and constructive discussion in an equitable, respectful and collaborative forum open to continual learning and reflection.
    • representing the VCC at events or on relevant advisory and/or planning bodies or delegate representation to other Board members.
    • developing positive and productive relationships with the Department of Health, stakeholders, and local communities.
    • Identifying and supporting development of Board members’ critical capabilities.

    Consistent with the fundamental mission of the VCC, the Chairperson and Deputy Chair will act collaboratively wherever possible.

    In the temporary absence of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chair is expected to assume the roles and responsibilities of the Chair when the Chair is absent or unable to act.

  • All Board members must:

    • act with honesty and integrity, use power responsibly and sustain public trust of a high level
    • act in good faith in the best interests of the VCC; demonstrating accountability actions and accepting responsibility for decisions
    • act fairly and impartially, avoiding bias, discrimination or self-interest
    • ensure information gained as a director is only applied to proper purposes and is kept confidential
    • act in a financially responsible manner 
    • exercise due care and diligence 
    • comply with the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2021 and the Public Administration Act 2004
    • demonstrate leadership and stewardship.
  • The Board consists of between seven and ten members, including the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

    At least two members of the Board are persons who identify as experiencing, or as having experienced, mental illness or psychological distress. At least two members of the Board are persons who identify as caring for or supporting, or as having cared for or supported, a person with mental illness or psychological distress.

    At least one member is a representative of the academic institution with which the VCC has entered into an agreement. At least one member is a representative of the designated mental health service with which the Centre has entered into an agreement.

    Victorian government policy stipulates 50 per cent of public board appointees should be women. The government is also committed to government boards reflecting the Victorian community more broadly. This includes aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people; culturally diverse; people with disability; LGBTIQ+; and youth.

  • The Chairperson may convene a Board meeting at any time and when requested by a member of Board to do so. The Chairperson, or the Acting Chairperson (in the Chairperson’s absence), or a member elected by the members at the meeting (in the absence of both the Chairperson and the Acting Chairperson), must preside at a Board meeting.

    The quorum for a Board meeting is the majority of the members and at least two members with lived experience referred to in section 11(6) of the Act. 

    A decision arising at a Board meeting is determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting on the decision. The Chairperson has a deliberative vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, a second or casting vote. 

    The Board may pass a resolution without a meeting if each Board member entitled to vote on the resolution signs a document containing a statement that they are in favour of the resolution, provided that the number of Board members signing constitutes the majority.

    The Board may permit members to participate in a Board meeting by telephone, or closed-circuit television, or any other means of electronic or instantaneous communication. A member of the Board who participates through these channels is taken to be present at the meeting.

    An agenda and papers for each Board meeting are distributed to the Board members five business days prior to the meeting. The minutes and actions arising from each Board meeting are to be prepared, approved by the Chair and circulated to members within five business days of the meeting.

  • The Board may establish Board committees to which it may delegate any of its powers, duties and responsibilities. The Board approves the Charter for each Committee, which sets out the composition, duties and responsibilities of that Committee. The Board will appoint the members of each committee, and the Chair of each committee.

    The Board will establish a Risk and Audit Committee within the first three months of the Board’s operation. The Audit and Risk Committee will have an independent Chair appointed by the Board.

    The Board may establish Advisory committees from time-to-time with no delegated powers. The Board will appoint the members and the Chair of each Advisory committee. A separate Charter will be adopted for each Advisory committee which is reviewed every two years.

  • All new Board members will undergo an induction program which is guided by the Induction of New Board Members Checklist to enable them to fully and actively participate in the Board’s activities and decision-making at the earliest opportunity.

    Board members are expected to keep up-to-date on relevant topical issues and be committed to their continuing professional development as members of the Board. 

    The Board evaluates its performance, the performance of individual Board members and Board committees each year. The Board may choose to engage an independent facilitator to conduct the evaluation. 

  • Board members who are not public sector employees are entitled to be paid any remuneration, travelling and other allowances that are fixed by the Governor in Council.

    The Governor in Council may fix different remuneration for different classes of Board members and on a sessional basis for attendance at board meetings and for other associated duties. Remuneration will be approved by the Governor in Council once appointments are made.

    Remuneration rates for the VCC align with Group A, Band 4 Victorian Public Sector Commission’s Appointment and remuneration guidelines for Victorian government boards statutory bodies and advisory Committees. 

    Board members who are public sector employees are entitled to be paid travelling and other allowances that are fixed by the Governor in Council, and are only eligible for remuneration in certain circumstances, where they have provided a letter from their employer indicating approval to undertake the position and specific details regarding their employment including the level of remuneration.

  • Board members must disclose all personal information and other matters that could, or do, give rise to a conflict of interest in relation to a matter or decision being considered by the directors.

    Board members are expected to appropriately identify, disclose and manage conflicts of interest in accordance the VCC’s Conflicts of Interest Policy and related procedures.

    Board members are required to complete a ‘Declaration of private interests’ form prior to their initial appointment, annually during the term of appointment, and whenever there is a material change in their interests.

  • The Board will review this Charter annually to ensure that it is operating effectively, current, in the best interests of the VCC, and in line with policy and regulatory frameworks.

    Approval and Review 
    Owner: Board
    Document status: Final
    Issue date: 13 September 2022
    Date of next review: To be determined

Reviewed 21 December 2022

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