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.

Current Membership of 2017-18 Ministerial Advisory Council on Women

The current Council was appointed by the Minister for Women on 3 February 2017, and its term will expire at the end of 2018. The 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 five years, Dr Beth Beckmann has worked with many diverse institutions and groups in the capital, through the perspectives of small business, volunteering and significant periods as a university academic.

Beth is currently a private consultant working throughout Australia advising universities on ways of recognising and rewarding teaching excellence.


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 was awarded the 2012 Chief Minister’s Award for Inclusion by an Individual, in recognition of her ongoing contribution to the disability community.

Ms Bannister is currently sitting on the Board of Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT); the ACT Disability Reference Group; and Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA) Executive Committee; as well as several ACT Health RACC Committees. She served as Deputy Chair of the ACT Disability Advisory Council from 2011-2014.

Ms Bannister has been nominated by WWDACT as their representative to MACW.

Ms Bannister is currently working with the NDS Disability Workforce Impact Collective.


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 Director/Public Officer for Karralika Programs Inc.

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


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 served on their Board of Directors from 2014 to 2017. 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 around the world.

Ms Draskovic has held positions in the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the ACT Government, and currently works in the Family Safety Branch of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

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 was a member of the Board of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM) from 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.

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. She was also a member of the Board of Netball ACT from 2014, serving as Chair in 2016.


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 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, young mothers and young people in custody.


Ms Fiona PetersonFiona Peterson

Ms Fiona Peterson is an experienced business owner with a demonstrated history of working in public, higher education and non-profit management.

Ms Peterson is passionate about supporting and celebrating education and career journeys for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Healing Foundation which is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation. They work with communities to create a place of safety, providing an environment for Stolen Generations members and their families to speak for themselves, tell their own stories and be in charge of their own healing.

In addition to her roles with The Healing Foundation and MACW, she is also involved with Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre, ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Consultative Group, ACT Torres Strait Islanders Corporation.

Terms of Reference

ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women - Terms of Reference



MACW Communiqué [PDF 671KB] [Word 826KB]
MACW Communiqué 1 August [PDF 835KB] [Word 950KB]
ACT Gender Equality Forum: Sharing Stories of Success
ACT Gender Equality Forum, Summary of Recommendations


ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women
C/- ACT Office for Women
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6205 0515