Ministerial Advisory Council

The ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women provides strategic advice to the ACT Government on issues affecting women in the ACT. It also provides a link between the Minister for Women and women in the ACT community.

The work of the Council reflects the objectives of the ACT Women's Plan 2016-26.


On 3 February 2017,the Minister for Women announced the appointment of a new 11 member Advisory Council on Women. The new Council brings together women with a diversity of experience and expertise to assist the Government develop and implement policies that are relevant to women in the ACT.

The Council represents a wide range of women's views and is a valuable link between ACT women and the ACT Government.

Dr Beth BeckmannBeth Beckmann - Chair

A Canberra resident for more than thirty years, Dr Beth Beckmann has worked with many diverse institutions and groups in the capital, through the perspectives of small business and volunteering.

Currently, she is an academic at the Australian National University, and an Australian National Teaching Fellow, focusing on professional development and recognition to enhance teaching quality and learning experiences.

Supported by the ANU Gender Institute, Beth has long been active in supporting women staff and students at ANU, for example through resilience and writing workshops.


Ms Dana Esperanza

Dana Esperanza - Deputy Chair

Ms Dana Esperanza is the current Chair of ACT women’s refuge, Beryl Women Inc and brings a strong voice and expertise in the area of reducing the incidence of violence against women and children.

For the past 12 years, Ms Esperanza has worked in social and welfare policy and practice in Australia, the United Kingdom, Cambodia and the Pacific. Her public policy experience includes sex discrimination, human rights and housing.

Ms Esperanza has a strong interest in gender equality, having previously served as a Board Director for an anti-human trafficking organisation and implementing the Male Champions of Change strategy in her workplace.

Ms Esperanza has also led on key gender equality initiatives in the workplace, including developing a domestic and family violence resource guide for employers, employees and colleagues.

Ms Esperanza holds a Masters in Human Rights and a Masters in Politics and Public Policy. She has completed a Master’s thesis on addressing gender based violence for Indigenous women.


Ms Louise BannisterLouise Bannister

Ms Louise Bannister has over twenty years experience as a disability advocate and is passionate about creating a fully inclusive community through leadership, education, mentoring, advocacy, promotion of access, and the right for individual choice and control.

Ms Bannister has served on a number of Ministerial Councils and Community Boards and Organisations. She is a current member of the Women with Disability ACT (WWDACT) Steering Committee, a current member of the Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA) ACT, and served as Deputy Chair of the ACT Disability Advisory Council from 2011-2014.

Ms Bannister is able to consult widely with women with disability through her involvement with WWDACT and HCCA as well as through her tutoring and facilitating roles with Belconnen Community Service; National Disability Services; and CIT. She also has particular expertise in building trust and rapport with women with intellectual disability.

Ms Bannister has been nominated by WWDACT as the organisation’s representative to MACW.


Ms Julie BlackburnJulie Blackburn

Ms Julie Blackburn is a Registered Nurse and Midwife. She has a variety of experiences working with individuals and family groups across broad age groups and demographics, within public and private sector hospitals, community groups, private industry, and government and not for profit forums and committees.

Ms Blackburn is currently the Clinical Convenor for the Bachelor of Nursing Program at University of Canberra. She is also a non-executive director for Defence Health Ltd; Chairman of the Defence Health Foundation; and Administrative Director for Karralika Programs Inc.

Ms Blackburn has been a member of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council for Women, since 2014.


Ms Caterine CarterCatherine Carter

Ms Catherine Carter is a leader in the property and construction industry. She served as the ACT Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia from 2005 to 2015. In this role Ms Carter developed and implemented a comprehensive diversity strategy aimed at building a diverse and inclusive industry.

Ms Carter continues her commitment to the advancement of women in industry through her appointment to the National Association of Women in Construction ACT Council.

Ms Carter has published articles, held events and presented in relation to diversity and championing the interests and concerns of women. Ms Carter has strong business networks and connections with the Canberra community, particularly in the Canberra property and construction industry.

Ms Carter is also able to draw on her experience as a working mother involved in a number of community based activities.


Ms Alisa DraskovicAlisa Draskovic

Ms Alisa Draskovic was a Deputy Women’s Officer of the Australian National University’s (ANU) Women’s Department for 2012-13. During this time she took a key role in the establishment of not-for-profit organisation, This is Not a ‘Wife Beater’ (NAWB). Through NAWB, Ms Draskovic led an ANU campus-wide advocacy campaign addressing the underlying drivers of domestic and family violence and promoting positive bystander action in 2013.

Since then, Ms Draskovic has led two Canberra-wide advocacy campaigns through NAWB, most recently on International Women’s Day 2016.

Ms Draskovic has been a member of YWCA Canberra since 2013 and has served on their Board of Directors since 2014.

Ms Draskovic is also a member of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program, a three-year fellowship for youth advocates working to advance the health and wellbeing of girls and women.

Ms Draskovic previously worked as a Crisis Worker with the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service for 6 years.

Ms Draskovic draws on her experiences as a young migrant woman growing up in Canberra to advocate for the views and interests of young women and culturally and linguistically diverse women.


Ms Lauren GaleLauren Gale

Ms Lauren Gale has been a member of the Board of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) since 2011, and Chair from 2013-2016. Ms Gale is strongly committed to the objectives of WCHM - a not-for-profit community organisation working to enhance the health and wellbeing of women in the ACT through social research, advocacy, community development, capacity building and information provision.
With the WCHM Board and staff, Ms Gale is committed to the building of a strong evidence base around the issues impacting the health of women in the ACT to inform the work of government and other service providers and provide voice to the diversity of women in the ACT. Ms Gale has been nominated by WCHM as the organisation’s representative for MACW.

In addition to her WCHM involvement, Ms Gale has been actively involved with UN Women Australia, and served as the Youth Representative to the United Nation’s 2012 Commission on the Status of Women.

Ms Gale has also been a member of the Board of Netball ACT since 2014, and currently serves as Chair.


Ms Jayanti GuptaJayanti Gupta

Ms Jayanti Gupta is the founder and Chair of the Integrated Women’s Network and is on the executive of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum Inc. and the Canberra Interfaith Forum.

Ms Gupta was a professional broadcaster and telecaster in India and Malaysia and has continued to volunteer as a community radio broadcaster with several radio stations in Canberra. She has been the proud host of a number of radio programmes that have focused on women’s issues. She was on the board of community radio 2XX, representing ethnic broadcasters.

Ms Gupta has been involved with women’s issues since her college days and brings a particular emphasis to women’s health, positive parenting skills, education programs for women, social inclusion of culturally and linguistically diverse women, economic and leadership opportunities for women and flexible workplaces.

Ms Gupta is a founding member of the Federation of Indian Associations of ACT (FINACT), a peak body representing several Canberra based Indian associations. She has held positions of Vice President, President, Women’s Representative and Community Coordinator on FINACT.

Ms Gupta will represent women from a culturally and linguistically diverse background on the Council.


Ms Patricia JonesPatricia Jones

Ms Patricia Jones is the Manager of Education, Health Promotion and Training for Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT Inc (SHFPACT). Ms Jones brings a particular emphasis on the needs of young women and women with disability, and the development of healthy, respectful relationships.

Ms Jones has extensive professional experience working in government and non‑government health and community service organisations. She has a deep understanding of gender and the needs of women in the design and delivery of services to support health, wellbeing, social inclusion and safety.

Ms Jones also has a special interest in women’s financial security and has experience teaching financial literacy to women.


Ms Joanna LeJoanna Le

Ms Joanna Le is passionate about contributing to positive social change through strategic communication. Having worked in both the for purpose and private sectors for more than a decade, Joanna’s particular areas of expertise include digital and traditional public relations, partnership brokering, advocacy, and multimedia production.

Ms Le became a member of YWCA Canberra in 2011, and served as Vice President and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee from 2012-2013. In 2013 she joined the operational team as Director of Communication, Advocacy and Fundraising.

Ms Le holds a Masters in Strategic Communication from the University of Canberra, where she is also a Sessional Academic Tutor in digital public relations and media.

Ms Le has been nominated by YWCA Canberra as the organisation's representative for MACW.


Ms Megan TaylorMegan Taylor

Ms Megan Taylor is a Nurse Practitioner working with women who experience difficulty accessing mainstream services due to the impacts of violence, abuse or neglect, language or cultural barriers, homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse issues, disability, sexual identity and/or financial hardship.

Ms Taylor has particular skills in working with women who are or have been affected by violence. She has collaborated with women’s refuges to provide health promotion activities focused on assisting women with a trauma history and considering the impacts of trauma on their health and wellbeing.

Ms Taylor has also worked with young people, including in the areas of young people’s sexual health, youn mothers and young people in custody.


Terms of Reference

ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women - Terms of Reference



Ministerial Advisory Council on Women 2010 2015 Report against the ACT Women's Plan Progress Report [PDF 318KB] [Word 167KB]

MACW Key achievements for 2008-09 [PDF 23KB] [RTF 77KB]
MACW 2010-11 Budget Submission [PDF 138KB] [RTF 105KB]
MACW Submission to the Women's Plan (November 2009 [PDF 314KB] [RTF 248KB]
Ministerial Advisory Council on Women 2013 Report against the ACT Women’s Plan Progress Report [PDF 318KB] [Word 167KB]