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 a 30-year career focused on achieving social justice in various sectors, including the community legal sector, union movement, public sector, and private practice. Currently serving as a practicing social security lawyer and CEO of the Welfare Rights Centre, Katherine has a deep commitment to advocating for the rights of people to access income support and legal assistance. She also serves as the Deputy Chair of Economic Justice Australia. In 2022, she provided evidence to the Robodebt Royal Commission, shedding light on the detrimental impacts of robodebt on the Welfare Rights Centre’s clients. Katherine has been a vocal advocate on this issue, consistently speaking out and raising awareness.
In 2016, Katherine assumed the role of Coordinator/Principal Solicitor at the Welfare Rights Centre. and was appointed Executive Director in 2019 and subsequently became the CEO in 2023.
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.
Kylie has been in the role of Solicitor at the Centre since late-2023, having earlier worked as Intake Solicitor and Intake Officer, which included training and supervising volunteers and secondees. Her role includes the provision of legal advice on all areas of social security law, advocacy for clients to Centrelink, and to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Kylie 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 Welfare Rights Centre for three years while completing her law degree.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Community Engagement Manager
Thea joined Welfare Rights Centre in December 2023 and 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. Thea brings a multilayered understanding to community engagement, having worked for over 25 years in NFP’s, government and corporate organisations, most recently as program manager at Reconciliation NSW. Her experience encompasses project management, leadership and community education, together with digital and creative communications roles. Thea has a Masters in Education (Social Ecology) from the University of Western Sydney and brings a wealth of experience in steering complex projects, fostering authentic connections and creating transformative results. Thea is a passionate advocate for social justice, working towards positive change, equity and empowering community.
Events and Communications Officer
Bree has been the Centre’s Events and Communications Officer since 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.