Board of Management

ARC is governed by a Board of Management which oversees the strategic operations of the organisation. The Board of Management is elected from the members of the organisation at the Annual General Meeting with Board Members being elected for a 2 year term.

Our current board members are:

President – Sue Edwards

Sue Edwards is a registered nurse and teacher of aged care, disability, home and community care, primary health care and nursing qualifications at TAFE North. Sue has qualifications in teaching, nursing, management, diabetes education and support, epilepsy care and also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in disability studies.

Sue’s association with ARC spans 15 years and she is committed to ensuring the strategic direction for ARC is realistic, exciting and sustainable. Sue is very proud to be a board member and is privileged in being able to represent ARC in a positive and enthusiastic manner to the wider community.

Vice President – Tanya Straguszi

As a born and bred Cairns local, Tanya has known about ARC for many years. She was admitted as a lawyer in 2007 and is now the head of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’ Cairns office. In 2014, the opportunity to join ARC’s Board of Management came about through her firm’s involvement in Brain Injury Awareness Week. She regularly helps people who are living with brain injury, disability and/or catastrophic injuries to access their legal rights and entitlements, and knows too well that such injuries and/or disabilities can have a far-reaching impact on family, friends, work colleagues and the general community.

Tanya is excited about the opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives through her work with ARC and her work at Maurice Blackburn.

Treasurer – Dot Shea

After teaching in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout South Australia for 20 years, I arrived in Cairns in 1995 and was appointed as the Learning Support Teacher at St Thomas’ School in Mareeba. In 1996 I went into the Catholic Education Services as an advisor in Special Needs and then over the next 9 years as Catholic Education began to increase it services for children with disabilities, I became the coordinator and then the Manager of Student Services for the Cairns Diocesan Catholic Schools. In the late 1990s I became involved with ARC through the schools accessing the Toy Library. I was first appointed to the Toy Library reference group and then became part of the ARC management committee. During this time I was very involved in the extension of the facilities and the move from it being just a Toy Library to becoming the ARC Resource centre with qualified therapists as well as teachers offering advice on equipment. It was great being on the committee as it allowed me to have the knowledge to assist parents from our schools to gain the knowledge of what services were available to them.

In 2005 I was appointed Principal at St Teresa’s school in Ravenshoe and so I needed to resign from the committee. I did however continue to be interested in ARC and our school became a client of the Resource Centre which gave me the excuse to have long chats with Wendy when she came visiting in the Van.

In 2010 I returned to Cairns to semi retire and told Anita that I would love to get involved again with this wonderful organization whose ethos is based on being an advocate for children and young adults with a Disability. I was appointed as a board member in November 2011.

Secretary – Lorraine Carroll

Lorraine has spent over 20 years in Cairns working in the area of disability.

Having worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for many years, Lorraine completed her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and now coordinates the disability and therapy services across all Catholic Schools in the Cairns Diocese.

Lorraine is a strong advocate for the rights of people with disability and through her role on the Board, is committed to ensuring ARC’s ongoing future as an organisation of excellence.

Board Member - Fiona Hiatt

Fiona is a Child Health Nurse at the Cairns Early Years Centre at Bentley Park where she works supporting families and their children. Fiona has been involved with ARC for many years, firstly using the Toy Library for her son. He now attends the Learning and Lifeskills Program and is involved in many opportunities through ARC, particularly in the Arts. 

Fiona is the FNQ Regional contact for Tuberous Sclerosis Australia. Fiona has seen significant growth in the services ARC provides to clients and the difference it makes to individuals, their carers and families.

Fiona is proud to be a member on the ARC Board to support the organisation into the future with the many changes ahead in the disability sector.

Board Member – Cathy Aitken

I completed Year 12 at Isis District State High School in Childers, I then moved back to my home town of Bundaberg to attend TAFE Commercial and Office Studies followed by an Office Traineeship with Dept. Public Works (QBuild). At the conclusion of my traineeship, QBuild Cairns offered me permanent work so I moved up here in 1989. From 1990 to 1998, I was employed by the Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Far Northern Region, as an Administration Officer.  During these years, I attended evening courses at Cairns TAFE College and earned an Advanced Certificate in Business (Management). I met Peter in 1992 and we married mid-1993 in Bundaberg.  We travelled a lot before starting our family.  Whilst pregnant with Nicholas (b.1999), I

worked on a Certificate in Child Care and Education. Michael (b.2001) completed our family.  Both Nicholas and Michael have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and both boys became ARC service users in 2002 and 2004 respectively.   The boys love staying at the “Holiday House” (Waratah Drive Residential Respite House) and are very fond of all their respite carers past and present.

I have been a parent member of two ARC sub-committees and am honoured to be appointed as a member of the ARC Board of Management.  I am looking forward to being part of this exciting time of development and growth of the organisation.

Board Member – Fe Flanagan

Fe is a Fellow of CPA Australia and has extensive knowledge and experience in financial and management accounting, audit, risk management, treasury management, taxation, policy formulation, and financial systems implementation.

Fe has worked for over 20 years in the banking sector, forestry, mining, local government, state government, and aged care sectors in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Philippines.

Fe currently works with a Government-Owned Corporation and is a Director of Flanagans Accounting and Tax Services.

Board Member – Michelle Dunk

Michele joined the board of ARC in March 2016, having moved to Cairns from Adelaide in 2015 for a “Sea Change”.  She has worked in the Not for Profit sector for more than 25 years  including SCOSA an organisation providing more than 8,000 hours each week in disability services and support for people living with disabilities.

Michele is currently working for Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council and is responsible for Human Resources, Industrial Relations, Corporate Risk and Workplace Health & Safety.  She also has an extensive background in Quality Systems and Quality Systems Auditing.

She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those around her and to improve the wellbeing of ARC and ultimately the successful delivery of services to the service users.