The ACECQA Board

The ACECQA Board is appointed by, and responsible to, the Education Council for the overall strategy, governance and performance of ACECQA. The responsibilities of the Board include:

  • providing strategic direction and assisting management in the development and monitoring of strategic and performance objectives required to effectively and efficiently implement the functions of ACECQA 
  • overseeing the ongoing performance of ACECQA consistent with its enabling legislation
  • providing policy advice about future directions and making recommendations to the Education Council for implementing and administering the National Quality Framework (NQF)
  • guiding and monitoring ACECQA’s performance against its strategic plan and operational work plan.

The current Board was appointed by the Education Council on 14 April 2016.

The Board of ACECQA brings together a dedicated team, with a wealth of relevant experience and commitment to improving education and care outcomes for Australia’s children. Up to eight members are appointed from nominations by each state and territory, up to four members are appointed from nominations by the Australian Government and the Chair is appointed independently by the Education Council. The Deputy Chair is appointed from the 12 members.

ACECQA Board Members

Ms Judy Hebblethwaite – Chair

Judy Hebblethwaite worked for more than 35 years in education, including more than 13 years in various roles associated with early childhood.  She was a teacher before holding a number of senior positions in the Tasmanian Department of Education.  These included Director, Early Years as well as managing the child care regulatory unit in the Department.

Judy has a strong commitment to quality early childhood education and care.   She oversaw the final development, introduction .and implementation of the state Child Care Act in 2000 and was responsible for much of the establishment phase of the Child and Family Centre program in Tasmania.  Judy also led Tasmania’s participation in the development of the National Quality Agenda framework and the Universal Access to Early Childhood Education initiative. Judy is the Immediate Past President of the Board of the Link Youth Health Service in Tasmania. 

Ms Catherine Hudson - Deputy Chair

Catherine Hudson has extensive high-level experience in government, at federal, state and territory levels, across a range of social and economic areas.

Currently working as a consultant, Catherine specialises in providing advice on governance, policy development and implementation, strategic planning, and change management. She is also a Commissioner with the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and an Independent Member of the Wollongong City Council Corporate Governance Committee. 

From 2006 to 2014 she was a Deputy Director-General in ACT Government. From 2006-2011 Catherine held a key integrity and governance position as the ACT Public Service Commissioner and Deputy Director-General Governance, Chief Minister’s Directorate. This role included membership, as Commissioner, of the ACT Public Service Strategic Board with all Directorate Chief Executives.

From 2011-2014 she was Deputy within the Economic Development Directorate in the ACT Government, with responsibility for business development; ministerial, cabinet and policy coordination; workforce and governance; and media and communication.

In her previous work for the Queensland Government (Education Queensland, Queensland Health and Premier and Cabinet), Catherine gained a deep understanding of the importance of evidence, prevention and collaboration in improving child and youth well-being, and the importance of the early years to life outcomes.

Catherine has a passion for improving the lives of Australians, particularly children and young people.

Ms Maree Bredhauer

Maree Bredhauer

Maree Bredhauer has worked for more than 35 years in both the private and public sector in early childhood in the Northern Territory, including time as a primary school principal in both urban and rural schools.

Maree has been President of the NT Schools Principals’ Association, with an executive role in the creation of the Centre for School Leadership. This centre is a partnership organisation between Charles Darwin University and the Department of Education. In June 2014, Maree left her position in Early Childhood Policy and Regulations in the NT Department of Education to work in the not-for-profit sector. Maree is currently Manager of Early Childhood Australia NT Branch, is a member of the Early Childhood Australia Board and holds an elected position in local government as Mayor of Litchfield Municipality.

Dr Sandra Cheeseman

Sandra Cheeseman is a senior lecturer in early childhood policy, leadership and professional experience at Macquarie University, Sydney. She brings to the ACECQA Board more than 30 years of experience as an early childhood teacher, director and senior executive in a range of early childhood settings and organisations. Sandra was a member of the core writing team which developed the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for Australia and has since worked on a number of related research and professional projects. These include the DEEWR Professional Learning Projects (PLP) supporting the introduction of both the EYLF and National Quality Standard (NQS) to the sector and more recently the Quality Interactions Study (QIS) for the NSW Department of Education. She is also co-author of the book Leadership Contexts and Complexities in Early Childhood Education and is a regular contributor to a range of early childhood publications. Sandra is currently working on a multi-disciplinary research project investigating infant and toddler language development in early childhood settings.

Sandra is also actively involved in a number of community outreach and advocacy organisations.  She has been a member of executive boards for Community Child Care Co-op NSW, Lady Gowrie Sydney and was Vice President of Early Childhood Australia NSW Branch. She is currently on the board of the Infants Home, Ashfield and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for the Raising Children Network.

Professor Ann Farrell

Ann Farrell is Professor and Head of the School of Early Childhood, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology. Earning a PhD from The University of Queensland in 1996, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Gothenburg University (Sweden) in 2012.

Her expertise is in early childhood education and care, children’s rights to protection and participation and research ethics.

Professor Farrell serves as an Australian Research Council International Reader, an External Assessor for the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and South Africa’s National Research Foundation, Reviews and Evaluation Directorate. She also serves as an expert panelist with Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

Dr Robyn Layton AO QC

Robyn Layton is an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia, School of Law. She also works as an education and development consultant both nationally and internationally, including work as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank on poverty reduction programs for women in three Asian countries and consultancy work for UN International Labour Organisation in many countries. Prior to September 2010 she was a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia. During her extensive legal career she has been a barrister and a judge in a broad range of jurisdictions, including a Judge and Deputy President of the Industrial Court and Commission in South Australia and a Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Cth). She has been a member or chair of multiple government and non-government boards across a variety of industry groups, both state and national.

Since undertaking an assessment of whole of Government approaches to improve child protection in South Australia in 2003, Robyn has continued her involvement in child protection and the education sector. She is Chair of the Advisory Council for the Australian Centre for Child Protection; has ongoing involvement with Reconciliation South Australia, having been Co-Chair until 2016 and is a Patron of the Migrant Resource Centre in South Australia. Robyn is also a patron or chair of a number of committees and non-government organisations involved with various aspects of child protection, childcare, education and services as well as standards and training, which particularly address equity concerns, including gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and CALD issues.

Professor Joce Nuttall

Joce Nuttall is a Professor at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, where she leads the Teacher Education, Quality, and Professional Practice Research Concentration in the Learning Sciences Institute Australia. Joce has more than 25 years’ experience as a leader and educator in primary and early childhood settings (principally early childhood education and care) and as a teacher educator and researcher.

Joce’s research focuses on the initial and continuing education of educators and educational leaders, and the development of strategies for system-level workforce capacity-building in early childhood education and care. Joce also has significant expertise in the construction and implementation of early childhood curriculum policy and the design of teacher education programs.

In 2015 Joce was Chair of the Advisory Group on Early Learning, which reviewed the implementation of New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum framework, Te Whāriki, on behalf of the New Zealand Government. Joce is currently President of the Australian Teacher Education Association and is a previous Governor-General’s appointee to the Board of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Ms Jenni Perkins

Jenni Perkins has had over thirty years’ experience in social policy development, program design, community consultation, evaluation and performance reporting, and has led policy reform agendas across disability and community services.

As Director General of the Department for Communities from 2010–2013, Jenni had leadership responsibility for the implementation of the National Quality Framework for children’s education and care services in Western Australia. Jenni was also responsible for the delivery of state-wide parenting information and support services, along with youth and community services.

As the acting Commissioner for Children and Young People in Western Australia from 2013–2015, Jenni established collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal and community organisations to undertake a state-wide consultation with over 1200 Aboriginal children and young people.

Jenni has a strong interest and commitment to the delivery of evidence-based policy and consumer-focussed services. 

Mr Michael White

Michael White

Michael White has had over 30 years experience in the fields of child development, child protection, youth justice and early childhood education as an academic, teacher and administrator in both the government and non-government sectors.

Michael lectured in Human Development at the University of Tasmania and was responsible for the leadership of the Early Childhood Programs of the University for several years.

He has also undertaken significant roles in the non-government sector which have included state and national leadership roles in the early childhood professional association.

Michael was Director of Schools in Victoria and subsequently, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. In the health and human services sector he held the positions of Executive Director Children, Youth and Family Services Bureau (ACT) and State Program Manager for Children Youth and Family Support in Tasmania. 

In Victoria Michael was responsible for the development of “whole of government” policy on children and young people, and for the creation of a system to monitor the health, safety, learning, development and well-being of all children aged 0-18.  The Child and Adolescent Monitoring system remains a major research and policy resource on children in Australia.

Michael’s work also includes an active interest in the economic and social context which frames the development of systemic responses to the needs of families in Australia. From 2009-2011 he held the position of Director in the Economics and Policy Division of PricewaterhouseCoopers focussing specifically on early childhood issues.

Michael provides strategic advice to Government and non-government agencies delivering services to children and their families. He has developed a model for building and maintaining partnerships in the health and human services sector and works with agencies to improve the impact of collaborative networks.

Ms Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson is the Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and Child Care, in the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. She also has responsibility for the State and Territory Network.

Prior to joining the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) in August 2013, Jackie jointly led the Schools Funding Taskforce with DEEWR for 12 months in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From 2009 to 2011 Jackie worked in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and was the Deputy Secretary responsible for Business Services (2011), including responsibility for finance and IT, and Detention and Community Services (2009 - 2010) during a very busy time for the department.

Jackie has also worked in a number of senior positions in a range of Commonwealth portfolios, including the Department of Finance in Budget Group with responsibility for the social welfare areas of the budget and on the overall coordination of the budget.

In the Australian government health and family and community services portfolios, Jackie has worked extensively on policy and program management including management of a range of income support payments.

Mrs Naomi Wilson

Naomi Wilson has been involved in early childhood education and care for more than 40 years. A former teacher and politician, Naomi held the positions of Parliamentary Secretary and then Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care in the Queensland Government. Prior to entering state politics, Naomi was a Mulgrave Shire Councillor.

Naomi has vast experience with the TAFE sector, in both setting up and delivering the initial full and part-time TAFE child care courses in Cairns. Naomi is also an experienced counsellor and operates her own clinic that supports businesses, families and councils across a wide range of issues. She has lectured at James Cook University and was a member of the Queensland state/federal Ministerial Child Care Planning Advisory Committee, representing rural and remote areas for four years.  

Naomi’s passion is in quality early childhood education and care and she has a deep interest in, and understanding of, regional and rural service delivery and Torres Strait and First Persons Community issues. Naomi designed and operated her own long day care service in Cairns, was a  six-year member of the former National Childcare Accreditation Council Board, and was the foundation member and past president of the Cairns and District Child Care Development Association, which recently celebrated 40 years of child care services in Cairns and regional areas.