David Meldrum

Executive Director

Mental Illness Fellowship Australia

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David is the Executive Director of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, a federation of long-standing member organisations delivering specialist services for individuals and families. MIFA members now operate out of nearly 180 locations in all states and territories.


David has worked in a variety of executive positions across much of the human services sector, both in government, in NGOs and as a private consultant. Along with time spent working with young offenders, child protection, public  housing and aged care, he has been found himself repeatedly drawn back to Australia’s unfinished business of guaranteeing decent services and a better quality of life for people with mental illness.


As well as his MIFA role, David is the recent past President of the Mental Illness Fellowship South Australia for the past six years. After more than 25 years working in and around the mental health sector, David believes the overall situation shows more promise now than at any time since the Richmond Report of the late 1980’s, which set out much of the framework for post-institutional  services. Recovery-focused NGOs, with whole of family approaches, and strongly peer-influenced in all aspects of their work, are here to stay, and he finds it exciting to be part of that action.

Speaking On:
KEYNOTE Planning & funding the NDIS for future improvement

Anthony Stratford

Community Advisor Recovery and Wellbeing

MIND Australia

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Anthony Stratford is the Community Adviser Recovery and Wellbeing at Mind Australia.


He is a Visiting Scholar at Yale University School of Medicine.


Anthony is also an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the University of Melbourne.


Along with Professor Larry Davidson from Yale, Anthony is Co-Chair of the International Lived Experience Summit at Yale and co-chair with Professor Davidson of the International Charter on Peer Support Values, Practice and Standards.


He is a Board Member of the International Association of Peer Supporters based in the United States of America.


Anthony’s work is strongly informed by his personal experience of mental ill-health and recovery. He has a strong interest in system change and peer work.

Speaking On:
KEYNOTE Choice: the key to recovery-orientated practice

Ben Matthews

Transition Manager

MI Fellowship

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Ben is a senior manager with MI Fellowship overseeing the Vista Vocational Rehabilitation program and is responsible for the implementation of the NDIS for MI Fellowship in the ACT.


Ben has a lived experience of mental illness and is held in high regard as an advocate and activist for those who experience mental distress. This is evident by his role as the chair of the Mental Health Consumer Network which is the peak body in the ACT for people who experience the effects and social consequences of mental illness.


In 2013 Ben was engaged to develop and facilitate the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work which was one of the first times this fully accredited qualification had been delivered in Australia.

Speaking On:
KEYNOTE Capacity building & the future of service provision

How to prepare your services & staff to support the planning process

Prepare your service provider

In the previous disability support system, people with disability were left skirting on the edge of society, as the Productivity Commission report (2011) stated “current disability support arrangements are inequitable, underfunded, fragmented and inefficient and give people with a disability little choice”.

However, the reforms of the NDIS will empower the consumer, allowing them to choose the best services for themselves.

The NDIS was rolled out in trial sites across Australia catering to people with physical disabilities, however mental health was a late addition, with roll-out across the country in July 2016, how have mental health providers fared in the trial sites? How will people with mental health be catered for?

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  • Insights from trial sites
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  • How to prepare your staff and services for the NDIS launch
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  • Experiences from consumers and carers at NDIS launch site
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  • Ensuring treatment for mental health consumers with an episodic diagnosis
Day 1

Judy Harper

Board Member

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Leanne Dowse

Chair in Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support

UNSW Australia

Anthony Stratford

Community Advisor Recovery and Wellbeing

MIND Australia

Paul O'Halloran


Mental Health International Networks for Developing Services

Day 2

Debbie Hamilton

Systemic Mental Health Advocate

Hunter Trial Site

Vanessa Kirk

Program Manager

Mission Australia

Robert Theobald

Program Manager

Mission Australia

Jonathan Harms


Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Australia

Jane Henty

Executive Officer

Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia


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