ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation


The ACTCOSS team is keen to meet you. Check out our profiles below and contact us if you'd like to chat about our areas of work.

Management Team

Susan Helyar

Susan Helyar, Director of ACTCOSS

Susan joined ACTCOSS in February 2013. Susan is committed to working with leaders across Canberra to build a more just and inclusive community, where everyone lives with dignity.

Susan's career has focused on making a difference - as a social worker, in policy roles in ACT and Commonwealth governments and as the leader of services development advocacy work for UnitingCare Australia. Susan's direct practice included working in community health, mental health and disability employment. Her social policy work included service development and policy reform across the lifespan. She supports development of the social work profession with the Australian Catholic University.

Office: 02 6202 7200
Mobile: 0448 791 987
Contact about:
ACTCOSS priorities and strategic direction; public statements and commentary; membership; sponsor relationships and collaboration

Policy & Development Team

Policy Manager:
Craig Wallace

Craig joined ACTCOSS in 2015 as the Housing Campaign Manager and became Advocacy Manager in October 2016. Craig has led work on a joint campaign with ACT Shelter to put housing and homelessness issues at the centre of the ACT election.

With a background in the Australian Public Service including in housing policy, leading a community housing association and as the President of a national peak disability rights body, Craig is passionate about social justice, human rights and the importance of affordable and accessible housing for all Canberrans.

02 6202 7208
Contact about:
Campaigns; advocacy; housing; transport; infrastructure; planning

Capability Manager:
Samantha Quimby

Samantha joined the ACTCOSS team as the Learning and Development Officer in 2015 and became Capability Manager in 2017. Sam develops workshops and seminars that support capacity building in the sector. She also facilitates a number of our peer networks, and is involved with developing tools and resources to support our sector development work.

Sam brings experience in government, private and not-for-profit sectors as well as tertiary degrees in Social Science and Theology to her role.

02 6202 7234
Contact about:
Learning and development; peer networks.

Senior Policy Officer (Research and Data):
Geoff Buchanan

Geoff joined ACTCOSS in 2015 as a Policy and Research Officer, became the Policy Analyst and Research Manager in October 2016, then on to Senior Policy Officer (Research and Data) in 2018. This position was initially created to support sector engagement in the development of an industry plan for the community services sector in the ACT. His responsibilities are sector policy and homelessness. 

Geoff has over a decade of policy research experience, having worked at the Australian National University and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies before joining ACTCOSS. He has a multidisciplinary social science background with a focus on social policy and economics and has completed a Master of Geographical Science at the ANU. He has a longstanding research interest in the relationships between the community, government and market sectors.

02 6202 7222
Contact about:
Community sector policy; homelessness

Policy Officer:
Eliza Moloney

Eliza joined ACTCOSS in January 2017 as a Policy Officer within the policy team. She is working on homelessness, justice, education, young people, out of home care, and issues affecting women and girls.

Eliza has a research background, particularly on issues related to gender, women’s rights, and human rights. She has an Honours degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations. She previously worked in Thailand at the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and the Karen Human Rights Group.

02 6202 7227
Contact about:
Homelessness; justice; education; young people; out of home care; issues affecting women and girls

Policy and Development Officer:
Tara Prince

Tara joined ACTCOSS in 2014. She is involved in ACTCOSS' policy development and advocacy, particularly in service system reform for people with disability and older people, as well as community connectedness in the ACT. Tara also convenes the ACT HACC and Disability Services Network.

Tara has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Sydney. She has extensive experience working in community care services, mainly in systemic advocacy and community development roles.

02 6202 7223
Contact about:
Disability; older people; community care system reform; community connectedness, ACT HACC and Disability Services Network

Policy Officer:
Ruth Ragless

Ruth returned to ACTCOSS in 2017 as a temporary Policy Officer, with a focus education reform and justice system issues.

Ruth comes to ACTCOSS with extensive experience in social policy in the Australian public service, including in family policy, income support and employment services.

02 6202 7227
Contact about:
Education policies; Justice Reform Group; justice reinvestment; young people.

Capability Officer:
Ryan Joseph

Ryan joined ACTCOSS in May 2017 and undertakes a range of administrative tasks to ensure that ACTCOSS training, forums, and peer networks run smoothly – while working closely with the Capability Manager to identify emerging capability and sector development needs.

Before joining ACTCOSS, Ryan was a Research Assistant at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University (ANU), prior to which he worked in the tech start-up space and as an Ambulance Medic in Singapore. Ryan has a Master of International Relations (Advanced) from the ANU and a Bachelor of Social Science from the Singapore Management University.

02 6202 7230
Contact about:
Learning and development administration; peer network administration; training, tools and resource needs.

Gulanga Program Team

Gulanga Program Officer:
Julie Butler

Julie joined ACTCOSS in 2007 as a part-time Sector Development Officer in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program, now known as the Gulanga Program. Julie contributes to program activities such as cultural awareness training, the development of resources, various work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and community, and with agencies and their staff in the ACT community sector.

Julie's family are from North Queensland (Bandjin) and North Western Queensland (Kalkadoon). She has worked in various government and non-government agencies in areas such as education, youth, domestic violence, housing, health and aged care.

02 6202 7262
Contact about:
Gulanga Program

Gulanga Program Officer:
Lyn Peacock

Bio coming soon!

02 6202 7202
Contact about:

Organisational Services Team

Communications & Membership Officer:
Suzanne Richardson

Suzanne joined ACTCOSS in 2008 as the Communications and Membership Officer. Suzanne looks after membership administration, office ICT support, and maintaining the website. She also collates the Weekly Community Sector eNotices and the quarterly journal, and performs desktop publishing and graphic design for our publications. Suzanne assists in organising the biennial ACTCOSS conference.

With a Bachelor degree in graphic design and new media, and a certificate II in IT, Suzanne enjoys using her skills to assist organisations who support our community's most vulnerable, and to advocate for positive social change.

02 6202 7235
Contact about:
Membership administration; communications; website; publications; conference

Office Coordinator:
Lisa Howatson

Lisa began working at ACTCOSS in 2006 as Office Coordinator. Lisa is the first point of contact at ACTCOSS, answering phones and assisting people with general inquiries. She also manages accounts, administers event registrations, manages the Director's diary, and ensures the office functions run smoothly.

Lisa has a Secretarial Diploma and a Certificate 4 in Business Administration.

02 6202 7200
Contact about:
Director's diary; general office inquiries; accounts; event registrations and Eventbrite