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Colleen Pearce

For more than 40 years, Colleen has been committed to helping those experiencing social disadvantage.

Honour Roll

As the longest serving Public Advocate and first female in the role, she has been outspoken and fearless, particularly in addressing abuse and violence towards people with a disability or mental illness. Throughout her career, Colleen has assisted some of the most vulnerable individuals and communities in Victoria, managing community and health services in government and nongovernment sectors across the state.

After graduating from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1977, Colleen commenced her career as an Information Officer for Disadvantaged Groups within the Department of Social Security in Sydney. Since then, much of Colleen's work has taken place with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Colleen has worked for the former Department of Justice, where her roles included responsibility for the department's Disability Action Plan and Cultural Diversity Plan and managing the development of the Victims' Charter Act 2006. As a result of her commitment and expertise, in 2007 Colleen was appointed Victoria's fourth Public Advocate and has raised the profile of that role in the community through her sustained public advocacy.

The legacy of Colleen's commitment to public administration, community service and advocacy is evident in the lasting influence on services she has designed and delivered, from her early involvement in advocacy as a community education worker for the Women's Council on Homelessness and Addiction, to her current senior statutory role.

In addition to her professional roles, Colleen has committed her time to numerous boards. In 2012 she was appointed as a member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission for a five-year term and is a member of the boards of Wintringham, a specialist aged care service assisting homeless elderly men and women, and Connecting Home, a service established to assist the Stolen Generation.

Colleen is a member of the Yuin mob from southern New South Wales.