Our year in review –

Annual report FY2021

A message from Acting Chair of the WHGNE board

Reflecting on the past year, I’m inspired and proud of the work Women’s Health Goulburn North East staff, under the leadership of chief executive officer Amanda Kelly, have achieved in driving systemic change to improve the health and wellbeing of regional women.

Working for gender equality has its challenges, particularly when we consider the social and political environment in which we find ourselves in.

To bring about such change requires grit, resilience and dedication and the staff of WHNGE have these qualities and more. 

We celebrate the success of the March for Justice campaign that saw more than 500 people from our region joining thousands of others around Australia uniting to raise their voices to say enough is enough to violence against women and the sexist culture that drives it. 

It is through WHGNE’s important advocacy work along with other Women’s Health services across Victoria that result in meaningful progress, none more important than the Gender Equality Act 2020 which commenced on 31 March 2021. The Act requires the Victorian public sector to be proactive in achieving workplace gender equality. We congratulate WHNGE for providing local government with gender equity snapshots through a gendered lens along with resources and training to support them to achieve gender equality.  

We also celebrate WHNGE’s role in the Gender Justice in Disaster: Inspiring Action conference and collaborations with the Wheeler Centre, particularly Women at the Edge: Disaster and Beyond event, which were both highly successful and attracted press attention in our region.  

As we near the end of our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan we reflect on the successes the Board of Management and WHGNE staff had in its achievements.  In developing our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, our Board along with WHGNE staff and members had a fantastic strategic planning session. In the session we explored WHGNE’s vision and mission, defined what success looks like for our organisation and what we would strategically focus on for the next four years. It was an enjoyable process where we collaborated to form our new Strategic Plan whose purpose is to lead change towards gender equality to improve women’s health, wellbeing and safety in rural and regional Victoria. Our integrated impact areas for the next four years integral to women’s health, wellbeing, and safety to achieve gender equality are: Gender Justice, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Climate Justice. Thank you to all who contributed in this process.  

I would like to thank our Board of Management for their work during the past year and in particular our members that are departing. Thank you to Nadia Tilson for her eight years on our Board, much of that time in the capacity of Secretary and thanks also to Simone Campbell and Helen Hickinbottom, Board Chair for their contributions. On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank and congratulate Christine Alexander, for her 20-plus years working for WHGNE contributing in many ways, particularly in finance. We wish Christine well in her future endeavours. We look forward with great enthusiasm to the next 12 months as we work to deliver on our strategic plan, improving women’s health, wellbeing, and safety to achieve gender equality.  

– Katherine Robertson
Acting Chair, WHGNE

A message from the CEO

The work we do at WHGNE can seem confusing and messy to the many of us who live in a response-driven world.

Much of the world says – here’s a problem, let’s fix it! Here’s someone who has a health problem, let’s get them treatment. And they either get better or not.

But primary prevention doesn’t fit that model. Prevention considers the issues that exist, whether they relate to physical or mental health, or lack of resources or access to resources or issues that relate to attitude (think racism or misogyny or homophobia). Issues that result in some members of our community not getting access to what they need. In some cases, the things they need may not even be available for them to access.

Primary prevention doesn’t just prevent something from happening, it sets up an environment where the things we want to happen, can happen easily, for everyone. It’s creating an environment that ensures participation in all aspects of life by all people in our community. 

Because you’re reading this, I imagine I’m talking about concepts you already understand. But I mention it because of the pandemic we’ve been living with for the past 18 months. When we encounter such a concrete example of something that needs ‘fixing’, it can be easy to stop thinking about prevention. 

But our recent experiences have shown us at WHGNE that we need to keep focusing on prevention.

The pandemic hasn’t broken our community, it’s shown the cracks that already existed and it has shone a bright light on them. 

So during this past year, we’ve hunkered down and we’ve thought through our approach, we’ve talked and worked with stakeholders, we’ve listened to the news, the policy environment, we’ve built our internal capacity to do our work and supported our stakeholders to build their capacity. You can read all about the work we’ve done over the last financial year in our Annual Report so I won’t detail it here.

But I will say, that even with all of the challenges that have been heaped upon us in the Goulburn Valley and north east Victoria, it has been a privilege to  continue to deepen our work with our stakeholders and communities and to keep working towards gender equality with each and every one of you. It’s your commitment to this that keeps us motivated – thank you for your willingness to do the work. 

It continually strikes me that the people we go to for support during crises like the pandemic are also living their impacts . With that in mind, I want to thank the Board for its support during this time. And I want to thank the staff at WHGNE for their continued commitment to our work, for turning up each day and for being committed to the health and wellbeing of women of all ages across the Goulburn Valley and north-east Victoria. 

– Amanda Kelly

A message from the treasurer

It is my pleasure to present the audited annual financial statements for Women’s Health Goulburn North East for the year ending 30 June 2021.  FY21 has again provided difficult operating conditions for the organisation, marred by the ongoing global pandemic, lockdowns, remote working and challenging social, political and economic environments.  It is a credit to the WHGNE team’s resilience and commitment that they have been able to produce quality work, maintain operations and deliver a very solid financial result.  


In summarising the statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income –

The total income for the year was a profit of $67,623, which was a $30,424 uplift on the organisations FY20 result. Revenue totalled $1,023,207, which was a minor reduction of ($4,809) from FY20. This minor reduction was more than offset however, by a decrease in expenses of ($20,625) largely related to staffing costs, bringing total expense for the year to $1,012,888. 


Moving on to BALANCE SHEET of the organisation –

It remains exceptionally strong with: 

  • Assets of $1,142,158, of these assets 93% are cash & cash equivalents. 
  • Liabilities of $418,849;  and  
  • Total Equity of $723,290.   

The current ratio stands at 2.58 which demonstrates the organisation’s strong liquidity. 


In term of our cashflow –

The statement of cashflows was exceptionally robust, with positive cash and cash equivalents of $1,063,245 for FY21. This was an increase of $223,623 from FY20, which was reported at $839,622.  This puts the organisation in a strong position for future capacity building and greatly reduces risk in these uncertain operating conditions. 


Audit – 

Our annual audit was completed by Selwood Ackerly Accounting Services. The audit report confirmed the organisation’s financial position.  Overall, the report commended the organisation on its high standard of financial record keeping and office procedures, both of which assisted the audit process in these unprecedented times where face-to-face contact was limited. 

In closing, I would like to thank Christine Alexander our Financial Officer, who departed this year, following over 20 years of service.   This is a tremendous achievement and on behalf of the Board and myself, I would like to thank Christine for her commitment, diligence and excellent financial leadership. We wish you all the very best of luck in the future.  

Additionally, I would like to thank Amanda Kelly for her leadership and vison throughout FY21. and further commend the WHGNE team for their resilience and dedication throughout the year.    

– Emma Butko
Treasurer, WHGNE

Working with our community

16 policy submission and advocacy pieces

This year we led 11 policy submissions and collaborated with our sister Women’s Health organisations and other services on a further five advocacy pieces, from the federal to regional level. This work has been in alignment with our role, highlighted in our new strategic plan, to lead advocacy that amplifies the voices of women and gender-diverse people in our communities.

  • Rural City of Wangaratta Environmental Sustainability draft plan – WHGNE submission (April 2021);
  • DELWP Climate Ready Hume draft strategy – WHGNE submission (May 2021);
  • Rural City of Wangaratta Council Plan – WHGNE submission (May 2021)

We responded to 194 enquiries for collaboration, support and information

From local government agencies to health services, community organisations to education providers and political representatives, enquiries for our support and resources have come from far and wide across the region and the spectrum of settings.

This year the bulk of requests for support were for the provision of our expertise via specialist feedback on plans and policies, for resources, or for network linking through the provision of referrals or request to join existing groups.

Several of these enquiries have led to us developing closer working relationships with organisations.

Our work with Murrundindi Shire is a case in point, with enquiries from this council turning into an official four-year partnership to support the council in its work towards the requirements of the Gender Equality Act.

We reached out to our communities through our new website and social media channels

With a new website in our suite of communication tools this year, we’ve been able to not only amplify our messages across our region and the state, but also consolidate, connect and build upon our resources.

Most notably, the website formed a major part of our 2020 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign, with WHGNE team members each contributing a blog post related to our 16 Days theme to the site, which was then promoted via our social media channels. It was also the centralised point for us to coordinate a regional events calendar, 16 Days talking points and share a Powerpoint presentation template for use by our partners.

Likewise, our 2020/21 Gender Equality 4 New Year (GE4NY) blog posts were a highlight of our communications work during this period, promoting a series of practical “new year’s resolutions” for gender equity.

Throughout the year, our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn -have been critical to enabling us to continue to connect and communicate critical information with our communities, even during times of lockdown. Through these channels we’ve:

  • shared a localised, intersectional campaign raising awareness about Covid-19 vaccination;
  • reiterated messages about about women’s right to leave their homes to escape family violence during periods of lockdown;
  • promoted new resources like our Straightforward Guides to Sexual and Reproductive Health;
  • participated in collaborative social media campaigns with our sister Women’s Health Services, such as the 2020 Sexual and Reproductive Health Week campaign and Women’s Health Victoria/Women’s Health in the North/1800 My Options reproductive coercion awareness campaign;
  • promoted the work of partners and allies such as Gender Equity Victoria, the Climate and Health Alliance, School Strike for Climate, Women with Disabilities Australia/Victoria; Rumbalara and Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporations, Your Ground/XYX Lab;
  • celebrated days of significance such as NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week, Mabo Day, Sorry Day, Pride Month, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia; and
  • generated community support for and conversation around the Women’s March for Justice in March 2021.

Our following on each of these pages experienced a considerable spike in the lead-up to and aftermath of the Women’s March for Justice in March 2020, and continues to grow.

Throughout the year, WHGNE has been mentioned or featured in 91 news articles in print and online media. These stories have covered topics including the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, International Womens’ Day and the Women’s March for Justice; the Gender Justice in Disaster: Inspiring Action conference; responses to the Victorian budget 2021-22; women in bushfire-affected areas; gender equality and flexible working arrangements; the gender pay gap and the Covid-19 pandemic and the Gender Equality Act.

Knowledge sharing

Creating toolkits and resources to support our communities and partners to work towards gender equity

An Introduction to the Gender Equality Act webinar

With the Victorian Gender Equality Act (2020) coming into effect in early 2021, WHGNE sought to provide an overview of the Act, gender equality principles and the practical implications of the Act for defined entities via a webinar, shared with our partners and relevant local organisations.

Women Gathering Online

As COVID-19 necessitated a shift in the way we interact with family, friends and colleagues, we noted an opportunity for online platforms to bring women together and grow new connections. And so, our Women Gathering model, developed in 2008 in response to the Millenium Drought, found new relevance and was transformed into Women Gathering Online.

This iteration, Women Gathering Online, involved the creation of a toolkit and a training module which equipped women with the skills to establish and grow a strong network of women to regularly meet using online platforms. Group leaders were upskilled to be able to reach women from across the region and engage with them through regular interactions in online structured support groups around a shared interest or theme.

Gender and Disaster Pod postcards project 

One-fifth of the Australian population speaks a language other than English. Therefore, appropriate information and resources to support those experiencing violence in our communities must be readily available in their language. 

This year, our Gender and Disaster (GAD) Pod launched newly translated versions of our ‘Disaster is No Excuse for Violence’ postcard, making this essential but straightforward referral material available in 10 of the most prominent languages spoken across Australia. 

The ‘Disaster is No Excuse for Violence’ postcard is designed to be distributed among relevant organisations and communities affected by natural disasters and outlines an easy-to-remember four-step process for identifying family violence incidents and accessing appropriate support services. 


Tennis Victoria

A Sport For All in Every Way was developed as part of a joint initiative of the Action for Gender Equity Partnership, Tennis Victoria and Women’s Health Grampians in order to support Tennis Victoria employees and local tennis club committees to create safe and inclusive club cultures, built on the principles of equality, inclusion and respect. 

The resource included the Inclusive Club Culture checklist for tennis clubs, supporting club committees to reflect on the ways that the physical environment, leadership and policies and social environment influence club culture, and commit to tangible actions to transform the culture at their clubs.

Women Driving Transport Careers
Women’s Health worked alongside Wodonga TAFE to develop and deliver train-the-trainer resources to build resilience in women who were working towrds their heavy vehicle driver’s licenses in order to enter the transport industry.The resilience module was designed to strengthen participants’ skills and strategies to support them to succeed in the male-dominated transport industry.

We spent more than 200 hours building our skills as a team

Our team has built skills in a variety of focus areas by completing professional development such as:

  • Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria Fast Track Intensive Leadership Program
  • Melbourne University/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/UN Population Fund (UNFPA) kNOwVAW data course
  • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health Intersectionality Training
  • Acknowledge This! training session on Welcome to Country/Acknowledgement of Country
  • Women’s Health Victoria Storytelling Masterclass
  • Women with Disabilities Victoria Women’s Health Services PVAW Capacity Building Forum

We actively participated in 16 networks

WHGNE continues to be represented and actively participates on a total of 16 partner networks across the region. These include the following activities:

  • Mitchell Shire Social Justice Committee, including input and feedback on draft Council/MPHW plan and COVID recovery strategy, WHGNE presentation on Gender Equality Act, and collaborative planning with Murrindindi Shire for 2020 16 days campaign event;
  • Goulburn Family Violence Executive, including input and feedback on DET consultation paper on options to support schools to implement consent education;
  • Moira Shire Preventing Family and Gendered Violence subcommittee, including collaborative planning for 2020 16 days campaign;
  • Goulburn Health and Wellbeing Partnership, including two WHGNE presentations on key priority areas Climate Change and Sexual and Reproductive Health;
  • Wangaratta Health and Wellbeing Partnership, including feedback on draft Council/MPHW plan and Environmental Sustainability plan, and launch of the Great Game podcast series;
  • Alpine Health and Wellbeing Partnership; Benalla Health and Wellbeing Partnership, including feedback on draft Council/MPHW plan;
  • Central Hume Strategic Implementation network;
  • Ovens Murray Integrated Family Violence Operations Committee, including participation in Prevention working group and resource development;
  • Corryong and District Family Violence network;
  • Tallangatta Family Violence Prevention committee, including input and feedback on primary prevention strategy review;
  • Benalla Youth Services Providers network;
  • Wangaratta Youth Services Providers network.
  • CERSH Sexual Health Network;
  • CERSH SHOUT working group;
  • YACVic regional huddle.

We trained 706 people across 34 formal training sessions

During 2020-21, WHGNE has continued to adapt our training delivery, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and delivered the majority of our training sessions online.

We delivered a total of 34 training sessions to 706 participants in all, with a particular focus on informing and upskilling staff working with defined entities, to prepare them for the implementation of the Gender Equality Act in March this year.

When COVID restrictions permitted, we were able to stage face-to-face gender equality induction sessions for councillors and executive teams at three local governments: Moira Shire (February 2021); Rural City of Wangaratta (April 2021); and Greater Shepparton City Council (May 2021).

Our project highlights

Have you renewed your WHGNE membership for 2021-2022?

Women’s Health Goulburn North East Incorporated is a dynamic, independent, feminist organisation committed to improving the health, safety and wellbeing of women in the Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria.

A strong and active membership base is vital to our ability to achieve safer, fairer and more equitable social, environmental and economic outcomes for women. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to renew your membership for 2021-22 and to encourage your colleagues, friends and acquaintances who are invested in gender equity in our community to join.

To become a member of Women’s Health Goulburn North East, it is important that:

  • You, or your organisation, agree that all women should have the right to make informed choices and the right to control their bodies in every aspect of health and wellbeing, and
  • You, or your organisation, support the purposes of the association and agree to comply with the RULES OF WOMEN’S HEALTH GOULBURN NORTH EAST INC.

By becoming a valued member you will receive our bi-monthly newsletter, a copy of our annual report, voting rights at our Annual General Meeting and invitations to key events and forums.

To become a member or to represent an organisation as a member of Women’s Health Goulburn North East, you must identify as female and be over 18 years of age.

Sign up as a WHGNE member now by clicking HERE.