Our Team

Andrew Gardiner – Chief Executive Officer

Andrew has more than 30 years’ experience working in the Indigenous sector in Victoria and Far North Queensland, including seven years with the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the past eight years with DDACL.

As an Aboriginal man, Andrew has a strong understanding of Aboriginal culture and a great belief in the principle of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector, its workforce and its outcomes for the community.

With a PhD in Life, Andrew has developed natural leadership qualities through the completion of a Commonwealth-funded Aboriginal Leadership course and extensive on-the-job practical training and experience. He also has a Certificate IV in Business Governance Fraud Investigation and in Fraud Compliance.

Andrew’s key priories are securing a new site and building to cater for the current and future needs of DDACL and the community, as set by the Board’s Strategic Directions document for 2014—2017. He is also committed to the implementation of DDACL’s Operational Plan and Outcomes.

Andrew believes working for DDACL gives Aboriginal people a greater sense of job satisfaction through making a positive contribution to the community each day. He says non-Aboriginal staff also demonstrate a commitment to the best outcomes for the community and, in turn, for the greater good of society.

Jenny Ockwell – Manager Aboriginal Health Services

Minh Nguyen – Manager Social and Community Services

Minh has lived in remote Aboriginal communities and worked with Aboriginal peoples when living and working in the Northern Territory over a seven-year period. During this time, Minh has worked in the legal, health and community sectors where she interacted with Aboriginal peoples from a range of backgrounds and roles.

Minh has qualifications in law, humanities and social work which have been brought effectively together in her various roles in the social and community sectors. These include roles in supporting women experiencing workplace problems, research and evaluation, systemic advocacy and sector development. In her work, Minh is committed to building capacity for individuals, families and communities to thrive and become the best version of themselves.

Minh has a strong commitment to the needs and aspirations of the local Aboriginal community, and believes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing can only be addressed when we also address the fundamental issues of dispossession, cultural identity (and community) and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our national identity. This underpins her approach to working in, and with, Aboriginal organisations and communities.

Graeme Bird – Manager Corporate Services

Graeme has more than 30 years’ experience working in the banking & finance sector across Australia. He is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of Finsia (the Finance & Securities Institute of Australasia)

With a great deal of training and experience in accounting & finance, Graeme has led teams of lenders and branch managers in corporate and personal lending areas. He has worked in diverse areas with a 5 year period as CEO of Lifeline in Ballarat, 3 years as Victorian Divisional Director with the Australian Funeral Directors Association and 8 years as Business Manager with Berengarra School. He holds an Associate Diploma of Business (Banking & Finance) and is a graduate of the Company Directors course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Graeme has been a member of Apex and Rotary Clubs throughout Australia over a period of 40 years and has held positions of club president, secretary and treasurer on numerous occasions. Graeme is a Life Member and a past District Governor of Apex. He is a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary.

Graeme holds directorships with COTA Vic (the Council on The Ageing) as treasurer; and Interchange Victoria as chairman. He hopes to aid DDACL through passing on his experience to staff and community members, helping community build a strong resilience and self-direction.

Christopher Tsagaris – Tackling Indigenous Smoking Coordinator

As the Healthy Lifestyle Team Coordinator, Christopher aims to help close the health gap through reducing the instance of smoking, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in Eastern, South-Eastern and Southern Metropolitan Aboriginal communities.

A former Men’s Health Worker & Coordinator of Uncle Reg Blow’s Healing Program, Christopher has a Bachelor of Applied Social Science, a Diploma of Counselling & Communication and a Certificate IV in Population Health. He works for the Co-operative in order to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Kylie Semmens – HACC Coordinator

With a background in palliative care and a Certificate III in Aged Care and Home and Community Care, Kylie is passionate about helping people to live an independent, healthy life in their own home.

Kylie is committed to supporting those eligible for Home and Community Care through assistance in the home as well as increasing social engagement through the Co-operative’s Planned Activity Group.