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New head for social council

Date

Michael Inman

Susan Helyar.

Susan Helyar. Photo: Melissa Adams

Former welfare service advocate Susan Helyar has been appointed director of the ACT Council of Social Service, the peak representative body for not-for-profit community organisations in the capital.

Ms Helyar was selected over 21 applicants for the position vacated by Roslyn Dundas in December.

Ms Helyar has worked for UnitingCare Australia as the director of services development for the past four years.

She brings with her experience in the community and government sectors, including in the ACT Chief Minister's Department.

The council's president, Jenny Kitchin, said Ms Helyar's strong commitment to social justice and the community sector stood her apart from other applicants.

"We felt [Ms Helyar] had a very good understanding of the needs of disadvantaged people but also some of the key issues for the community sector which ACTCOSS is advocating for,'' Ms Kitchin said. "She was certainly the best applicant."

Ms Helyar said she looked forward to working with community leaders to strengthen the sector's voice.

"Together with the ACTCOSS committee and members, I will continue the work of building a positive future for the community sector in Canberra, and advocate strongly for a better deal for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our city," Ms Helyar said.

"ACTCOSS has a very strong tradition and big presence within the community, so I need to come in and build personal relationships with decision-makers and community leaders.

"It's a good time to think about what we want to change," she added.

Ms Helyar begins work in mid-February.

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