Welfare Rights Centre is staffed by a team dedicated to helping people navigate the social security system. Compassionate and expert in their field, they work to resolve individual cases of injustice while seeking a fair and accountable social security system.
Katherine has been Welfare Rights Centre’s Executive Director since 2019, having started as Coordinator/Principal Solicitor in 2016. She leads the Centre’s strategic planning, staff and organisational management, policy development, law reform and public advocacy. Katherine is focussed on leading a high quality client-centred service that advocates for a fair social security system by raising awareness of the impact of social security law and policy on people needing income support. Katherine has worked in the community legal sector, union movement, private practice and public sector for more than 25 years. Her connection to Welfare Rights Centre goes back to the mid-1990s, when she volunteered on the advice line. Katherine is also Deputy Chair of Economic Justice Australia’s Board.
Natalie commenced as the Centre’s Principal Solicitor in 2019. She leads the casework practice, supporting staff to provide accurate and high quality information and advice, while ensuring the Centre’s resources are focussed on clients who are most vulnerable. Natalie also undertakes appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and identifies systemic problems in the social security system which are then prioritised for law reform. Natalie has worked and volunteered in the community legal sector for 30 years, including roles as Principal Solicitor at Inner City Legal Centre, Team Leader at Redfern Legal Centre, and Solicitor and Clinical Supervisor at Kingsford Legal Centre. She has authored, edited and project managed many plain English legal publications. Natalie is also a member of Economic Justice Australia’s Board.
Donna commenced work as a Welfare Rights Centre solicitor in 2018 after joining the Centre as Office Administrator in 2017. She supervises the Disability Support Pension (DSP) clinic, working with pro bono lawyers to support people with disability to access the Disability Support Pension and navigate Centrelink’s complex systems and eligibility requirements. Since 2021, Donna has led the Centre’s disaster recovery work, regularly delivering community legal education sessions both remotely and face-to-face. Donna has worked in the community legal sector since 2012, also working as a volunteer solicitor in family law and general practice. Donna has also worked in Native Title law and has broader experience working with a number of Aboriginal communities.
Julius began working at Welfare Rights Centre as a solicitor in 2019 after starting out as the Centre’s Intake Officer. He provides advice and other casework assistance, including representing clients in internal reviews and appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Julius also regularly develops and presents community legal education sessions to community workers. Julius brings his experience volunteering and working as a locum at Illawarra Legal Centre from 2016 to 2019 while studying at the University of Wollongong and completing his Practical Legal Training. Julius is a firm believer in economic and human rights, and has volunteered with the Supporting the Unification of Refugee Families (SURF) program run by the University of Wollongong.
Juliet took on the role of solicitor in 2020, following a temporary appointment in 2019. She provides legal advice to vulnerable and disadvantaged clients, advocates for clients at internal review level, and represents clients at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Juliet has worked as a generalist solicitor at Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre, and has a long history of volunteering at community legal centres including Women’s Legal Service, Redfern Legal Centre, Katherine Regional Aboriginal Legal Service, Inner City Legal Centre and Welfare Rights Centre. Juliet also has a strong background in government policy and law reform.
Roxanne Gonzalez Lopez
Domestic Violence Community Worker
Roxanne commenced with Welfare Rights Centre in February 2022 when she took up the role of Domestic Violence Community Worker. Her work involves providing support and resources to help women and children escaping family and domestic violence to rebuild their lives, ensuring they are able to effectively navigate the social security system. Roxanne has a degree in Community Welfare and more than 6 years’ experience working in the Domestic Violence sector, including working in refuges and in the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program. Roxanne’s cultural background is Colombian and Pakistani, and she brings to the role her understanding of language and cultural barriers many migrant women face. She has a passion for empowering women to recognise their self-worth, skills and abilities.
First Nations Access Officer
Allienttia joined the staff of Welfare Rights Centre as First Nations Access Officer in 2022. She is a proud Aboriginal woman originating from the Wayilwan, Gomeori, and Wiradjuri nations. Allienttia’s mother relocated as a sole parent from Nyngan in Central NSW and Allienttia has since raised her own three young children on Gadigal lands. Her lived experiences as a First Nations person has enabled her to have a learned understanding of the systemic disadvantages First Nations people face in their daily lives. This has led her to undertake studies in Community Services at TAFE NSW Eora Centre and Ultimo TAFE where she developed the skills necessary to pursue tertiary education. Allienttia has since completed a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of New South Wales and she is currently completing legal studies in the Juris Doctor program at UNSW.
Communications and Engagement Manager
Sally has been coordinating the Centre’s communications and community legal education program since 2020. She has worked in numerous community legal centres including Women’s Legal Service (Qld), Kingsford Legal Centre, and she also worked at Welfare Rights Centre in the 1990s. Sally manages the Centre’s community legal education program, organising and delivering education sessions. She also leads the Centre’s communications activities, including management of the website and social media. Sally has worked in local and peak community sector agencies, for state government, and for international agencies over the last 30 years. She has worked as a consultant for multiple U.N. agencies and is also the author of numerous reports that have been used in campaigns for social justice.
Julie has been the Centre Manager since early 2023. She leads and coordinates the Centre’s operational environment providing support in finance, ICT, human resources and governance. Julie strongly believes in the importance of robust internal operations of for-purpose organisations, given a strong operational environment allows staff to turn outwards and focus on achieving the organisation’s mission and impact. Julie has over 25 years of experience in for-purpose management and adult education with a strong focus on advocacy and community engagement. She has previously worked within the Community Legal Centre movement at the Environmental Defender’s Office and the Tenants Union, which she led for nine years.
Kylie has been the Centre’s Intake Solicitor since January 2023, having earlier undertaken the role of Intake Officer. Kylie provides legal advice and manages our intake service. Her role also includes organising the volunteer program including training and supervising volunteers and secondees, and overseeing client intake procedures to ensure the smooth running of the Centre’s client intake process. She has previously worked for Legal Aid and also worked for a number of years as a Psychologist before re-training in law. Kylie volunteered at the Centre for three years while completing her law degree.
Events and Communications Officer
Bree has been the Centre’s Events and Communications Officer since late February 2023. She assists in the coordination and facilitation of the Centre’s events, marketing, and communication plans and materials. Bree has both a Bachelor of Business, and a Master of Marketing from the University of Newcastle. She previously worked as the Director of Public Relations for an Anti-Domestic and Sexual Violence non-profit, and has spent years volunteering and campaigning for non-human animal rights.
Georgia joined Welfare Rights Centre in June 2023 as Administration Officer, assisting in the management of all day-to-day activities. She is responsible for providing administrative support for staff and volunteers, and inducting new employees. While completing a Bachelor of Arts and Social Justice at Macquarie University, Georgia undertook an internship at the student Indigenous Centre. There, she researched pathways and access opportunities for further education for Australia’s First Nation’s peoples. Georgia has previously worked in the community health care administrative system and the events industry. Georgia is passionate about engaging with issues of human rights and social justice.