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Sue Woodward AM

Commissioner

Sue Woodward AM commenced as Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) on December 12, 2022. Previously she was Chief Adviser for Not-for-profit Law with the charity Justice Connect.

Sue was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for “significant service to the not-for-profit sector, fundraising and the law.”

Sue played an instrumental role in the formation of the ACNC, serving as the inaugural Director of Policy and Education during the early years of the Commission.

She has been involved with a number of leadership bodies including: the Victorian Government Volunteer Strategy Taskforce, the Victorian Government’s Social Services Regulator Taskforce and the National Strategy for Volunteering Council.

In pursuit of a stronger, more resilient sector, Sue also contributed to the governance of organisations in the sector, most recently sitting on the boards of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), the Human Rights Law Centre and the Australian Communities Foundation, and previously SANE Australia.

As an academic at Melbourne Law School, she made a seminal contribution to reform of the regulation for the charity and not-for-profit sector with her 2004 research report: 'A Better Framework: reforming the not-for-profit regulation'. Justice Connect’s Not-for-Profit Law service was established in 2008 based on her research recommendations.

Sue is also a staunch supporter of reducing unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector. She has worked with an alliance of peak bodies and federal and state governments to make modernised and harmonised fundraising laws a priority.

To hear more from Sue, you can follow her on X @acncommissioner and on LinkedIn, and read her monthly Commissioner's Columns.

You can also listen to Sue talk about her career in the charity sector and her vision for the ACNC in our Charity Chat podcast.

Natasha Sekulic

Assistant Commissioner - General Counsel

Natasha is the senior legal advisor to the ACNC Commissioner and contributes to corporate and strategic leadership as a member of the Executive team.

Natasha has a broad range of experience and expertise across law and service delivery. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the public service, specialising in both in house legal services and taxation law, in particular not-for-profits.

Natasha was awarded the first ACNC/ATO joint secondment to Justice Connect in recognition of her skills. Most recently, Natasha has led large workforces in the provision of service delivery with a heavy focus on the client experience. She was a 2023 National Finalist and the South Australian winner of the Auscontact Excellence Award ‘Customer Experience Champion.’

Previously at the ACNC, Natasha served as a lawyer and later as Acting Director Legal and Policy. She has been a volunteer and board member for several charities.

She is admitted to practice law and holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and a Master of Taxation.

Mel Yates

Acting Assistant Commissioner

Mel has broad experience in public administration and joined the ACNC in 2016 to lead the collection of reporting from charities with a focus on reducing unnecessary regulatory obligations. Since 2018, Mel also ensured the ACNC had sound corporate governance arrangements.

Prior to joining the ACNC, he worked at the Australian Taxation Office for over a decade across compliance, internal policy, assurance, operational financial management and government tax management roles.

Mel also worked for the Victorian Government in a finance role. After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Computing (Information Systems), Mel began his career at a large professional services firm and travelled and worked in England in a Social Services finance role.

Mel is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Sally Stonier

Senior Director - Registration

Sally was part of the taskforce set up to establish the ACNC in 2012 and has been responsible for managing the ACNC Registration Team ever since.

She has worked with international charity regulators, including the New Zealand Charities Commission and the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

Sally has extensive experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector in both the UK and USA. Sally has been CEO for charities providing support for the homeless, individuals with mental ill health and drug and alcohol misuse. She has held senior roles with Home-Start UK (an organisation working with vulnerable families) and Odyssey House in the USA. She has served on the board of several schools and various other community groups.

She has experience in charity law, strategic planning, human resources, project management and service development.

Rajan Aiyappan

Technical Director - Registration

Rajan is the Technical Director of the Registration team, and oversees the legal interpretation and risks associated with assessing charity registration eligibility at the ACNC. He is also responsible for the technical capability of the team.

Rajan commenced at the ACNC in 2012, and has worked in roles across the agency. He has a strong understanding of charity legislation and case law and has led the development of key ACNC wide initiatives.

Prior to joining the ACNC, he worked at a large professional services firm and has a background in tax and accounting.

Outside of work, Rajan has regularly volunteered at charities and been involved with community organisations.

Rachel Smith

Director - Advice Services, Education and Public Affairs

A member of the ACNC management team since the establishment of the Commission, Rachel has worked in leadership roles in not-for-profit regulation for state and commonwealth agencies.

She guided the consumer protection services strategy for vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians. She has also served as the District Registrar of the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal which conducts independent merits review of decisions made by the Australian Government relating to migration and refugee visas and visa-related decisions.

Prior to her public service roles, Rachel worked in the not-for-profit sector for ten years at Australian Volunteers International, a registered charity committed to achieving economic and social development outcomes across Asia, The Pacific and the world through sharing skills, knowledge and experience. Rachel has also served on several not-for-profit boards.

Joanna Austin

Director - Legal

Joanna provides strategic advice and develops strategies to deal with and solutions to complex policy and operational law problems. She also provides leadership and direction to the in-house legal team.

Joanna started her career at Gadens Lawyers in Sydney before joining the NSW Crime Commission as a lawyer in law enforcement and integrity agencies. She then worked with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in Sydney before moving to Melbourne in 2013 to take up a role at the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission.

Joanna is experienced in criminal law, administrative law and in managing the legal risk in compliance and investigations work in a law enforcement and integrity context. Joanna is pleased to be able to bring these skills to the regulatory environment.

Joanna holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales. She was admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2003.

Tim Liu

Acting Director - Reporting, Red Tape Reduction and ACNC Corporate Services

Tim’s team leads the collection of reporting from charities with a focus on reducing unnecessary regulatory obligations and ensures the ACNC has sound corporate governance arrangements.

Tim has been with the ACNC since its establishment, initially working as an analyst in the Registration area. He has worked across the public service for over 13 years.

Tim holds a Bachelor of Commerce/Arts (majoring in Economics and Finance) and is an accredited Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute.

Prior to his work in the public service, Tim volunteered for a range of charities, with a focus on charities that assist asylum seekers and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Michelle Cozadinos

Director - Compliance

Michelle is a career public servant of 25 years, with experience working in a variety of different agencies.

She started her public service career as a national park ranger, before becoming a sworn police officer and running investigations in the Australian Federal Police’s major crime units.

Michelle has worked as a director overseeing investigations, and compliance and regulatory operations for the last 15 years. Her specialties include building and construction, workplace relations, counter terrorism, aviation and maritime security, and identity fraud.

Michelle holds a Master of Politics and Policy with Distinction from Deakin University, a Bachelors Degree of Applied Science (Environmental Science) and a Graduate Diploma of Business Management.

Rob Jackson

Director - Information and Technology

Rob leads ACNC’s Information and Technology team in managing and developing its cloud hosted business and enterprise systems.

Rob has broad industry experience in Information Technology spanning 18 years across Australia and Europe.

His most recent roles include leading technical teams within the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Prior to this, he has held multiple roles in professional services and software companies.

Rob holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and is completing a Masters of Information Technology Leadership.