Members Statement: Western Suburbs Employment

Mr NOONAN (Williamstown) (14:08:42) — I rise to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution and leadership of Berry Street CEO Sandie de Wolf, who will retire from her position on 8 December after 26 years in the role. Sandie has committed her life to vulnerable children and families, commencing her career as a social worker in the early 1970s with the then Department of Human Services before progressing to senior management and policy roles. Sandie moved to the community sector in 1989 before being appointed CEO of Berry Street in 1994 when it merged with the then Sutherland Homes for Children. Whilst its core mission may not have changed in Sandie’s time, the organisation has grown enormously from 80 staff and a $3 million budget in 1994 to nearly 1200 staff and a $104 million budget today. This makes Berry Street one of our largest independent child and family service organisations in Victoria.

Through Sandie’s leadership Berry Street’s programs work tirelessly to uphold the rights of all children to have a good childhood, and they support countless children, young people, women and families with the most complex of issues arising from their personal experiences of abuse, neglect or violence. Sandie has always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving life opportunities for some of the most vulnerable young people in our community. Never one to seek the limelight, Sandie’s contribution was recognised in 2009 when she became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2011 when she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. The Victorian Parliament thanks Sandie for her outstanding service.