Taskforce members

Mr Robert (Bob) Atkinson AO, APM

Bob commenced public service with the Queensland Police Service in 1968, serving as Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service for 12 years from 2000 until his retirement in October 2012.

In a 44-year career with the Queensland Police Service, Bob served throughout Queensland from Goondiwindi to Cairns. Bob oversaw reforms after the Fitzgerald inquiry from 1990 as well as the recommendations of the Public Sector Management Commission review of the Queensland Police Service in 1993.

Following his retirement from the Queensland Police Service, Bob was appointed as one of six Commissioners of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Bob served as one of the six Royal Commissioners during the five year inquiry from 2013 to 2017.

In 2018, Bob was appointed as the Chair, Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce.

In 2019, Bob was appointed as Co-Chair of the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council.

Bob's lifelong dedication to public service was recognised through a Queensland Great Award in 2019.

Joan Isaacs

Joan is a wife, mother and doting grandmother. At the age of 14 she was groomed and sexually abused by the chaplain at her school. Despite her abuse, Joan went on to be a teacher.

Silenced by her abuser and later by the Catholic Church through their Towards Healing program, Joan was finally able to speak in 2013 when she gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In 2016, Joan released her book–To Prey and To Silence–to expose the truth and to encourage others who have experienced similar challenges. In 2017, her book was a finalist in the Queensland Literary Awards–People’s Choice.

Diane Carpenter

Diane is a proud Aboriginal woman, mother and grandmother from the Mitakoodi people, who lives in Brisbane with her husband and 2 blue cattle dogs. Diane grew up in St Joseph’s Orphanage, Neerkol. Diane courageously provided evidence to the 1999 Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Queensland Institutions (the Forde Inquiry) and in 2004 to the Senate Inquiry into children in institutional care, later known as the Forgotten Australians Report.

Many years later in 2015, Diane again provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about her experiences in Neerkol.

On leaving Neerkol, Diane spent many years working as a nurse. Diane has coordinated a shelter for women experiencing domestic and family violence in Mornington Island and was a community health facilitator at the Townsville Migrant Resource Centre. Here she supported people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access mainstream health services. With the other community facilitators, one of her achievements at the Migrant Resource was the introduction of the interpreter’s card.

Mike Wragge

Mike is a proud Wakka Wakka South West Queensland man, born in Cherbourg Aboriginal community. Mike was institutionalised at the age of 5 and placed with his 4 brothers and 1 sister in the Cherbourg Boys home. Mike left the Cherbourg Boys Dormitory in 1973 and stayed with his mother and various other family members around South East and Western Queensland.

Mike began his working career in Cherbourg before moving to Brisbane in 1983 to take up a position as a community worker with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services. It was around this time that Mike started his affiliation with many of the Indigenous organisations and the Murri community in the Brisbane region.

Mike has had the opportunity and privilege to work closely with many good community workers, such as the Brisbane Council of Elders, which has given him great insight into their experiences and knowledge. Mike has been an active member of the Indigenous community in Brisbane since 1983.

In 1988, Mike commenced work with the federal Department of Social Security which is now the Department of Human Services, where he is still employed.

Karyn Walsh

Karyn Walsh is the Chief Executive Officer of Micah Projects, a not-for-profit organisation in Brisbane committed to social justice. Since the mid-1990s, Karyn has been supporting people with lived experience of institutional abuse.

Karyn has supported people through the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (the Forde Inquiry), Senate Community Affairs Committee inquiries including Lost Innocents: Righting the Record – Report on child migration and Forgotten Australians and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

For over 20 years Karyn has advocated alongside the Historical Abuse Network to recognise the needs of people with lived experience of institutional child abuse. Achievements include: the establishment of Lotus Place–the first peer support and resource centre with Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants; the 2007-2010 redress scheme; and the establishment of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce.

In 2016, Karyn was awarded a Doctor of Social Work and Nursing honoris causa by the University of Queensland. In 2017, Karyn was awarded a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

David Baker

David currently serves as General Secretary of Queensland Churches Together, the main ecumenical body for the Churches in Queensland. From 2014 to 2020, David held the position of Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia. David has served in regional oversight roles in the Uniting Church, and as a congregational minister. Before being in ordained ministry in 1991, David was a property valuer for the Queensland Government.

David is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Bachelor of Theology from Brisbane College of Theology and a Diploma in Business Management from Queensland Agricultural College.

Under David’s leadership, the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia set up an Interim Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional sexual abuse, consistent with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. David has also overseen improved training of Uniting Church in Australia congregations to ensure that ministry within the life of the church is safe for children.  

Teena Ingram 

Teena Ingram is the Queensland Director (Child Youth and Family) with Life Without Barriers. Life Without Barriers is a not-for-profit, secular organisation that provides services for children and families intersecting with the Child Protection system, as well as for people with Disability, Mental Health and Aged Care needs. Teena's role leads services across Queensland for children and families, with programs that include out of home care (foster care and residential care), post care support, family intervention support, family and domestic violence and youth justice interventions. 

Teena has over 30 years experience in the social services sector. Twenty-two of those as a police officer, during which she lived and worked in rural and remote parts of Queensland as well as the South East. Transitioning to the then Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in 2013 was a turning point in her career, enabling her to begin to specialise in support for children and families, where her passion lies. Commencing with Life Without Barriers in 2020 placed her in a role where there is potential to influence and drive positive change in the sector, leading to better outcomes for all children.

Teena holds a Bachelor of Science - Psychology and is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to thrive. Her belief that if children can't be safe at home, they must be safer where they are cared for out of home, fires her commitment to continue to grow the out of home care sector to become what children deserve it to be. 

Jacqui Reed

Jacqui has been Chief Executive Officer of CREATE Foundation since December 2007. She has over 20 years’ experience in child protection, out-of-home care, family services and community work and has undertaken social research and held several management roles. She has written not only policy, training manuals and research papers, but also a children’s book. Jacqui is an accomplished public speaker presenting at many national and international conferences. Jacqui firmly believes that children and young people, given the right opportunities, have the capacity to transcend their adversity and reach their full potential. Jacqui is a member of the Board of Directors and Leadership Committee at CREATE. 

Patricia Thompson AM

Pat is a descendent of the Kuku Yalanji people of North Queensland, her parents were born and raised in Cherbourg. Pat is currently the CEO of Link-Up (QLD). She comes with a wealth of management experience across all levels of government, and importantly at a community level, and holds qualifications in management and strategic leadership. Pat has represented Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people at a National levfel as an ATSIC commissioner, Regional Council Chairperson and Regional Councillor over an 8 year period. Pat was Co-chair of the National NAIDOC Committee, a member over 9 years and a member of the State Library of Queensland Indigenous Advisory Group. She comes from a strong social justice background. 

In January 2022, Pat was recognised with a Member of the Order for Australia for her achievements, contribution and significant service to the Indigenous community. 

Past members of the Taskforce

Julie Pemberton

As a member of the Taskforce, Julie represented Link-Up (Queensland) Aboriginal Corporation, in her role as a Specialist Support Counsellor, where she provided counselling and support to people applying to the National Redress Scheme.

Julie has specialised in areas such as trauma, addiction recovery and relationships including families and individuals. Julie's philosophy is to walk with someone while they are on their healing journey. Julie aims to be a co-traveller while providing a safe and secure environment while the person is discovering who they are.

Julie has worked as an educator in the adult education sector with Counselling, Youth and Community Services. As an educator the first step is for a learner to believe in themselves because once that happens anything is possible. Julie holds a Masters in Education (Counselling).

Mary E Adams

Mary was a resident of Queensland institutions for over 16 years. Mary became a qualified Enrolled Nurse in 1972 prior to completing a number of post-graduate courses. Mary has spent time travelling overseas and working in third world countries as a nurse, nanny, English teacher and within a non-government organisation in the area of community services.

Mary has long been a strong advocate for people with lived experience of institutional abuse. In 1997, Mary held the role of Secretary and Treasurer of the Neerkol Action Group, the first support group established in Queensland to recognise the needs of former residents of institutional care. In 1998, Mary advocated to the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (the Forde Inquiry) about issues that needed to be addressed for former resident. Following the Forde Inquiry, Mary was appointed by the Honourable Anna Bligh, the then Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care and Minister for Disability Services as a member of the Forde Monitoring Committee.

Mary has provided her personal account of living in St Joseph’s Orphanage, Neerkol as evidence to the Forde Inquiry, the 2004 Senate Inquiry into children in institutional care, later known as the Forgotten Australians Report, and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Helena Holdaway

Helena has more than 20 years of experience in the social and community services sector and has held a range of senior roles in Australian and UK not for profit organisations as well as government.

In her current role as the State Director for Queensland, Life Without Barriers, Helena has responsibility for a wide range of service provision, including services specific to children and young people in care.

Helena is passionate about ensuring that children and young people that access services are well cared for, supported, protected from abuse and respected as they should be.

Carly Jacobitz

Carly Jacobitz is the Director (Child Youth and Family), Queensland at Life Without Barriers. In this role Carly has responsibility for a wide range of programs including out of home care (foster care and residential care), post care support, family and domestic violence and youth justice. With 15 years’ experience in child protection across both government and not for profit organisations, she is committed to maximising outcomes for children and young people in care.

Having completed a Master of Applied Psychology, Carly is a registered psychologist and has a keen interest in supporting and advocating for individuals with a care experience and ensuring the availability and accessibility of adequate support systems.

Yvette Salam

Yvette is a representative of Link-Up (Queensland) Aboriginal Corporation, in her role as a Redress Counsellor providing counselling and support to people applying to the National Redress Scheme.

She was born in Gladstone Queensland, to parents of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Yvette’s working years began in Education, as an Early Childhood teacher. She then left teaching to work within other governments departments servicing Indigenous communities in Far North Qld, Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait Islands.

Coming from families that had always been strongly connected to and involved with Indigenous communities, Yvette is passionate about serving Indigenous communities and had always worked in community development type roles. Her working life has been predominantly within Indigenous Education, Indigenous Employment and Training, Indigenous Coaching and Mentoring.

In the last four years, Yvette chose to relocate to Brisbane with her children; taking up employment within the fields of mental health, child protection, Redress Counselling and working with our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations.

Yvette’s personal interests have always been in mentoring, coaching and healing type roles, which had led her to current employment within Link-Up (Qld).