Concetta Benn AM

Concetta Benn worked professionally for decades as a caseworker, researcher, teacher, and social change agent in welfare, education and health.

Honour Roll

Born in 1926 in Australia of Italian parents, Concetta (Connie) Benn graduated from the University of Melbourne with an Arts degree and in 1949 married Keith Benn, a young psychiatrist. They subsequently had three children. She returned to study social work in 1955 and gained her qualification in that discipline in 1957.

Her first position was as a psychiatric social worker for the Mental Health Authority. She became Vice-President of the Australian Association of Social Workers in 1958 and she was later President until 1972. Connie Benn's first senior appointment was in 1961 as the Director of Social Work and Research for the Citizens Welfare Service. Subsequently she was Associate Director, Social Policy and Research at the Brotherhood of St Laurence (197782), Head of School of Social Work (Phillip Institute of Technology, (1982-83), Director, Social Development Division, Department of Premier and Cabinet (1983-85), Deputy Director-General, Community Services Victoria (1985-88), Director, Older Persons Planning Office, Community Services Victoria (1988-89), Professor, School of Social Work, University of Melbourne (1989-91) and Chairperson, Adult Community and Further Education Board Victoria (1992-95).

Professor Benn served on more than 20 Boards, Commissions and Task Forces and undertook many significant reviews and consultancies. Throughout her long career in social work, human services and social policy development, Connie Benn was always passionately committed to social justice. She championed the rights of people living in poverty, women, Aboriginal people, immigrants, people with disabilities, the unemployed and all who suffer social exclusion.