Announcing our Festival of Inclusion Conference
The Festival Fireworks are Beginning to Sparkle

Community Centres SA delivers an Annual Conference to its members and the Human Services sector, that focuses on emerging trends and themes that impact the work you do every day. It is the single largest professional development opportunity for our members and beyond to attend.

We know that inclusivity deeply matters. It is a necessary pre cursor to healthy and empowered communities. It is necessary for acceptance, belonging, and being free from stigma and judgment. It is necessary in our workplaces and in our communities. And it’s a whole lot more than diversity. And harder to measure. 

Our conference is a festival of in depth contributions from top inclusivity innovators and leaders from around Australia. It’s a festival of making new connections and forming lasting allies. A festival of on the ground case studies, workshops, and practical tools to design, build and deliver strategies and belonging programmes. And a festival of fun using creativity to break down silos! 

We would love you to join us at our Festival on 4th and 5th November 2021. 

Day 1 will bring you speakers, workshops and networking opportunities. 

Day 2 will bring you our infamous Bus Tour exploring Community Centres and community based activities that encourage inclusion that you can take back to your centres. 


We’ve sought out the most inspiring advocates of inclusion to motivate and invigorate you, while enhancing your knowledge.

more speakers to be announced soon...


Katey Bereny is the second eldest of six (she’s pretty sure she’s the favourite), has approximately 30 cousins and is a single parent of adult twins. She has also worked hard to eke out spaces within her communities and friendship networks where bonds are formed that resemble that strong familial bond that is both nourishing and grounding – because it is often here where we find out strongest allies and experience our most growth.

Katey works in community mental health as a Peer Practitioner for Mind Australia, and is a passionate advocate for ensuring lived experiences voices get a seat at the table – ‘nothing about us without us’. Katey has a lived experience of Borderline Personality Disorder and speaks openly about these experiences and her recovery journey as a way of challenging stigma and discrimination around mental illness. Katey encourages  people to reframe the way that they think and speak about mental ill health, particularly with the question, ‘is there a better way? Is there a kinder way?


Katey has an academic background in Adult Education, Gender Studies, Public Health and Rural Health, and is currently undertaking a Masters in Social Work, and believes learning is a lifelong journey. She has a particular interest in the ways in which we navigate self-care, particularly as a way of mitigating the effects of mental ill health. Katey also enjoys trail running with her dog and spending time in nature as a way of maintaining her own wellbeing. Her dog loves it too.


“Cool headed. “Charismatic.” “Piercing intelligence.”
“Resolute.” “Self possessed.”  “Penetrating thinker.”  

 Penny Wong was born in Malaysia. As an eight year old she moved to Australia with her family and settled in the Adelaide Hills.

Penny graduated in law and arts from the University of Adelaide. She went on to practice labour law, advocating for the rights of workers. She also secured better pay and conditions for workers as a union representative, and served as a policy adviser in the New South Wales Government. Penny was elected to the Australian Senate in 2001, with her first term commencing in 2002. She was re-elected in 2007, 2013 and in the double dissolution election of 2016.

After just two years in the Senate, Penny was promoted to the Shadow Ministry. Upon the election of the Labor Government in 2007, Penny was appointed Minister for Climate Change and Water. In Labor’s second term, Penny served as Minister for Finance and Deregulation. In 2013 Penny was appointed Leader of the Government in the Senate, the first woman to hold this role. After the change of government she became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.  Since 2016, Penny has served as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Penny lives in Adelaide with her partner and their two daughters.


Shona Reid, a proud Eastern Arrernte woman Shona Reid who once wanted to be a truck driver, then a psychologist, and now who believes she has found the middle ground in her role as CEO at Reconciliation SA, is all about “the doing”, every day driving change closer towards a safe and inclusive state free from racism.

Growing up in Central Australia, with family connections that extend into the Hart Ranges in the Northern Territory, Shona has devoted her knowledge, experience, professional and personal life to the advancement and rights of Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities for over two decades.

“Cultural competency is not just about learning. It’s about feeling what it feels like to be part of the solution.”  And being part of the solution means understanding that Reconciliation is all about relationships, Shona will take you through an exploration of our relationships between First Nation people and the wider community’ what it looks like at a community level, and how allyship adds value to our everyday lives.


Robert Fitzgerald AM has spent his career helping to protect vulnerable people, his deep experience and powerful intellect make him exceptionally qualified to speak to inclusivity at our Conference. He is the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner and has been a veteran of more than 18 government-commissioned national inquiries including being Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Variously as the Chair the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board, the convenor of the Indigenous Disadvantage Working Group for the Review of Government Service Provision, the President of the Australian Council of Social Service, the Chair of the  National Roundtable of non-profit Organisations, State President – St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW) and National Committee Member of Caritas Australia, Robert is a motivating, incredibly insightful and challenging speaker.

We are lucky enough to have Robert as our opening speaker at this year’s conference, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be bringing him over to speak with us!

“Connectedness. Deep connectedness and connectivity. To services. To each other. To new technology which we can use to empower our communities…. Connectivity – you create it, you shape it, you maintain it. Because it is at the community level that nations are shaped.  I want something better and something different for our communities. And so do you, or you wouldn’t be here! And we have the capacity to do this is, if we tap into these four critical things – governments, citizenship, the notion of community and the notion of connectivity to bring about those changes”

Robert, speaking at the Connecting Communities Conference in Melbourne earlier this year.


Daniel thinks about inclusivity differently. Inclusivity is a serious topic – but the conference can’t all be no fun and no play, can it? So we are introducing some “play” time.

But then again, maybe “play” is actually serious stuff? There are numerous examples of how “play” is used throughout education, game design, theatre, philosophy, psychology, marketing and science to challenge us as to how inclusive we actually are.

That’s where Daniel comes in. He’s a cabaret performer, radio broadcaster on 3RRR and ABC, a teacher, a facilitator with a background in law, philosophy and theatre, and a champion for tiny houses and dignified housing for all.

He’s incredibly smart, extremely engaging, and he’s a very funny guy to boot! Daniel will have you laughing, pulling funny faces, and pondering deeply about the power of language. You will learn some new skills and tools that are easily introduced into your everyday practice – and you will never quite see the power of language from the same lens again!


Kate Thiele is a Non-Executive Director, Board Chair and Founder of Klarity, where she works with for-purpose, government and private organisations.  In this capacity she supports Meals on Wheels Australia as their National Executive Director.  She is also a sought-after Executive Mentor.

Kate’s executive career includes two leading Australian not-for-profits, a global manufacturing company, national optometric chain, an Australian top 10 retail company and in health.   During her time as CEO Guide SA/ NT, the organisation was recognised with 17 industry awards, including Australia’s ‘Most Trusted Charity’

She is the President Skylight Mental Health, Chair Adelaide Crows Foundation, Deputy Chair UniSA’s MBA Advisory Board and Board Member of Zoos SA. 

Kate is the 2015 Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year and the 2015 Australian Telstra Business Woman of the Year in the ‘For Purpose and Social Enterprise’ category.  The same year she was honoured with a Fellowship from the Harvard Club of Australia to attend Harvard University.


Natalie Wade is a disability rights lawyer. At our conference, she will explain the fundamental importance of systems and structures being built to include and promote the participation of people with disabilities in all areas of life including education, work, decision-making and service delivery. 
To create truly inclusive societies, we must decipher systems and structures. Are these systems and structures the eggs that then lead to the hatching of inclusively or exclusively attituded chickens? Or are these systems and structures actually the chickens who are keeping people with disabilities from participating equally?



You will very quickly warm to Vicky’s positive energy and infectious smile, and her drive for social justice and the rights of women, migrants and refugees.

Vicky is a lawyer, a forensic handwriting specialist, a graduate of Contemporary Migration and Refugees and currently manages the Multicultural Community Connections program at one of CCSA’s fellow peak bodies – The Multicultural Communities Council of SA. Vicki migrated to Australia from Greece five years ago with her partner and their two young children, and has first-hand experience of the challenges, vulnerabilities and potential risks migrants are facing. 


Isaiah is a member of the CCSA Board, and… yes he is very tall! So you won’t be surprised to learn he is also a star basketball player (playing for California, Germany and Australia), His grandfather, basketballer Michael Ah Matt, became the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to compete at an Olympic Games. Isaiah is a proud descendant of the Ngalakan people of the Roper River Region  and Badu Island in the Torres Strait. Currently working for the Aboriginal Education Directorate of the Department for Education as the Workabout Centre Regional Cooordinator, Isiah has worked exclusively in Aboriginal education since graduating.



Your ticket to the Conference goes a long way! It doesn’t stop at 5pm. And nor does it stop at gourmet BBQ dinner! It brings you also the compelling music of international touring singer-songwriter and powerful lyricist and composer, Kooma man Glenn Skuthorpe. Described as an ”infusion of genres with vibes of urban street blues to dusty plain and wide open skies”. Glenn gives a voice to those whose stories must be told. With his 7th double album on the way and music featured in movies and documentaries such as The Emu Runner and John Pilger’s Utopia, Nhunggabarra, The winner of the overall Best Music Award at Adelaide Fringe 2021, we are so honoured to have Glenn entertain us into the night.

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