Board Members

Genevieve Bolton, Chair
Genevieve Bolton is the Executive Director/Principal Solicitor of Canberra Community Law, a position she has held since 2010. Genevieve has had a long involvement in the community legal centre movement. Her commitment to advancing human rights was recognised in 2015 when she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Law Award. In 2015, she was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with a Medal of the Order of Australia for her welfare rights work. In 2018 Genevieve was included in the ACT Women’s Honour Roll and her work has been recognised nationally in the ‘Trailblazing Women and the Law’ project, a collaboration between the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.

Katherine Boyle, Deputy Chair
Katherine Boyle joined the Welfare Rights Centre in 2016 as Coordinator/Principal Solicitor and was appointed Executive Director in 2019. She also volunteered at the Welfare Rights Centre during 1996. Her 25-year career in the community legal sector, private practice, public service and trade union movement has focussed on defending and promoting the rights of vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged people. Katherine is committed to ensuring that all people in Australia have an adequate standard of living and to advocating for a fair social security system. Katherine has first class honours in both Political Economy and Law. Katherine joined the Board in 2019. She is committed to advancing EJA’s funding strategy and further developing EJA’s media and communications strategy.

Kate Beaumont, Ordinary Board Member
Kate Beaumont is a social worker and is the Executive Officer at Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service in Western Australia (WRAS). She has worked in this role since February 2002 after previously working as a welfare rights advocate with the service from December 2001. Prior to her studies in social work Kate worked for 19 years with the Department of Social Security and Centrelink in a variety of customer service settings across Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia. In 2003 at the time of incorporation Kate joined the Board of Economic Justice Australia in its earlier iterations of the National Welfare Rights Network and the National Social Security Rights Network. Over the last 18 years she has held several roles on the EJA Board – initially elected for the first three years as an Ordinary Committee Member, she was either the Vice President or President of the association from 2006 to 2017 and for the last three years has been the Treasurer of EJA. Kate was appointed as a Commissioner of the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia from July 2012 to June 2017. She has been a Board Member of a number of other community legal centres within Western Australia including, Employment Law Centre, MIDLAS, Street Law Centre and Tenancy WA.

Natalie Ross, Ordinary Board Member
Natalie Ross is a new member of the EJA board and she is the Principal Solicitor of the Welfare Rights Centre in New South Wales. Natalie has been working and volunteering in NSW community legal centres since the 1980s and has also worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission and LawAccess NSW. She has had previous experience as a board and management committee member and chairperson of a range of non-government organisations, and is on the editorial committee for the NSW Law Handbook.

Emma Cvitak, Ordinary Board Member
Emma is a Community Lawyer and in-house School Lawyer at Barwon Community Legal Service. In her current role, Emma champions in the areas of social security, family violence, elder abuse and youth law. Alongside casework, Emma’s role includes developing and delivering community legal education as well as contributing to law reform work. Emma is passionate about working to ensure people have access to justice and in 2020 she was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly ’30 under 30’ awards. Emma has been a board member of EJA since 2019.

Mitra Khakbaz, Independent Board Member
Mitra Khakbaz has over 20 years’ experience working in human services. In her current role as deputy CEO of HOST International she leads program design and service delivery across Asia Pacific including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Her track record includes developing and leading projects across humanitarian settlement, employment, regional development, community wellbeing, youth engagement, child protection and women economic empowerment. Mitra currently is a board member of Nationality for All and is excited to join board of EJA. 

Rhea Thomas, Secretary
Rhea is a solicitor at Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service in Western Australia (WRAS). Since joining WRAS 5 years ago Rhea has worked on various social security and residential tenancy law issues. She is currently undertaking a family and domestic violence project aimed at providing legal advice, representation, community legal education (CLE) and referrals for victims of FDV in relation to their social security issues. She has previously been involved in a youth focused project and is passionate about CLE. Rhea has been a co-convenor of the CLC Community Legal Education Workers network since 2018 and a management committee member of SCALES community legal centre since 2017. Prior to joining WRAS Rhea worked in other realms of administrative law, in particular immigration law and coronial inquests into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Staff

Kate Allingham, Chief Executive Officer

Kate has worked as a manager, advisor, community advocate and strategist across a range of government and non-government organisations. She is passionate about tackling complex issues, in a collaborative environment, to better empower all members of our communities. Kate recently worked as  senior advisor to an independent member of federal parliament, and previously worked in housing and Aboriginal and community legal services. Kate lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania.

Tori Edwards, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Tori Edwards is a lawyer, manager and leader in the not-for-profit sector.  She joined EJA in June 2023 after more than 7 years with Justice Connect, leading teams delivering legal services to those experiencing economic and social disadvantage.  She is passionate about using the law and public policy for positive impact in people’s lives.  Tori previously worked for a large charity in pro bono legal service delivery, and as a native title lawyer working alongside Traditional Owner communities across NSW. She holds postgraduate qualifications in Human Rights Law (LLM) and Social Impact.

Linda Forbes, Senior Adviser
Linda joined EJA in April 2020, after four years with South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute working on policy and health promotion programs to address STIs among young people in remote Aboriginal communities; and seven years with the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, managing its policy and comms team. Linda worked at NSW Welfare Rights Centre for 18 years from 1991 and prior to that worked in the Department of Social Security’s policy and appeals branches, where she first developed an abiding obsession with addressing issues affecting access to income security rights for people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and migrants and refugees.

Dr Simone Casey, Senior Project Officer

Simone has previously held a variety of roles in policy advocacy, research and communications where in the employment services and welfare sectors. Simone holds a PhD in employment services, is an expert on marketisation, welfare conditionality, digital social policy and related social security topics, and is a Research Associate at RMIT. At EJA, Simone will focus on automation in social security.

Sally Cameron, Senior Law Reform Officer

Sally has worked for community sector organisations, state government, international community organisations and UN agencies for more than 30 years. That work has included numerous stints in community legal centres including Women’s Legal Service (Qld), Kingsford Legal Centre, and Welfare Rights Centre, where she worked as a caseworker and later as the communications and community engagement lead. Sally has strong policy analysis skills, and is the author of numerous reports used to campaign for law reform. Her Masters in Women’s Studies included a focus on social security policy.

Taylah Bell, Project Officer – Remote Women’s Access Project

Taylah is an advocate and lawyer. She joined EJA in October 2023 after working as a community lawyer in regional and metropolitan Australia specialising in housing, social security, and family violence matters. Taylah is deeply passionate about advocating for regional Australians’ access to justice, human rights, and equity. At EJA, Taylah will focus on access to social security for women living in regional and remote Australia. Taylah lives and works in regional Western Australia.

Terina Hegarty, Policy and Communications Support Officer

Terina is a social worker and she has worked across the community and social service sector in law, policy, youth work, homelessness, and research and evaluation. Terina joins Economic Justice Australia (EJA) as a Policy and Communications Support Officer. She previously worked at Basic Rights Queensland (BRQ), a community legal centre and member of EJA. Terina holds a Master of Social Work Studies degree, as well as a Bachelor of Psychological Science and Graduate Certificate in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Studies. She is passionate about social justice, human rights and advocating for community members impacted by the legal system.

Lucia Mai, Project Officer

Lucia joined EJA in March 2020 as a volunteer Communications Intern as part of the Brennan Justice and Leadership Program. She currently studies a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing) at the University of Technology Sydney. Lucia is passionate about access to justice and ending State-sanctioned violence against people with disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.