- Change Agent
Maria’s dual expertise gives her a unique ability to apply the law flexibly and fairly to uphold the human rights of persons with disabilities. As a Senior Member for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Maria was a key decision-maker in the development of the Disability Act 2006. This included measures to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, maintain community safety, and ensure transparency and institutional oversight on the use of restrictive interventions, particularly chemical restraints. Maria also instituted reforms under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 to challenge the sterilisation of persons with disabilities unable to consent.
Her leading work has ongoing applications in other settings like aged care facilities, and she continues to be a passionate educator about these complex issues.
Maria also re-established the formerly dead-locked Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula. Under her leadership as Chair, the panel promoted breast feeding as a healthy nutritional start for infants, and limited the activities of infant formula manufacturers.
Maria was an inaugural Director of the National Breast Cancer Centre, where she influenced research directions and incorporated ovarian cancer into its strategic remit. In her three years as a Director, she contributed to vital work to reduce the morbidity and mortality of both diseases.
In 2016, Maria was selected for the University of Melbourne’s inaugural Pathways to Politics Program for Women. In 2017 she was awarded a scholarship under the Victorian Government’s inaugural Women's Board Leadership Program.
Maria is a mentor to students at the University of Melbourne, building future generations of leaders.