Our year in review –

Annual report FY2023

A message from the Chair of the WHGNE Board

Recently, as I went to get on the tractor to feed out hay to the cattle, I heard my seven-year-old grandson ask his Pa, “Can girls actually drive tractors?”

“Crikey”, I thought to myself as I climbed up onto the tractor and headed off to the hay shed. “If that doesn’t tell me how far we’ve still got to go when it comes to gender equity.”

It gave me plenty to ponder as I picked up the round bale, dropped and rolled it out. I must admit, I was shocked. Why? Because this little boy had seen me doing all sorts of jobs around the farm and had seen his Pa doing jobs around the house. I had thought we were providing him with a balanced view of gender.

Feminism and gender equity have no doubt come a long way, but what I’m learning is that inequality is deeply ingrained – in us as individuals and in the systems that support us. It will require ongoing focused work to continue the positive change.

Women’s Health Goulburn North East, as a proudly feminist organisation operating across a number of regional and rural communities, has an important role to play in this work – as it has over the past 30 years. Our current strategic plan highlights our role in driving systemic change. As an organisation we have moved strategically from service provision into systems change, working more in the primary prevention space. This has been a shift in ways of working for some of our staff, and they have risen to the challenge. Thanks to the additional funding received from the Victorian Government in 2022-24, we have been able to upskill our staff and board to ensure systems thinking is built into all ways of working.

Having been new to the women’s health sector, and in my second year on the Board, it’s taken a bit of time to appreciate the breadth and scope of work undertaken by the WHGNE staff. Their presentations at our Board meetings have helped with this, as well as demonstrating how their work is underpinned by our strong organisational values. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the team for their ongoing work to achieve our Vision and Purpose.

The WHGNE Board has had a busy and productive year. We have undertaken reflective practice and decision-making workshops, which has helped in the way we approach strategic decisions. Something I am particularly proud of is the decision the Board made earlier in the year to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the call for a Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution. I am proud of the ultimate decision, and also of the considered and thoughtful discussion that took place beforehand. It clearly demonstrated the high level of skills and talent we have attracted to our Board, and their dedication to WHGNE and our feminist values and principles.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working closely with our CEO, Amanda Kelly, and thank her for all the work she is doing – particularly in advocacy and driving our strategic direction. We’re fortunate to have a skilled and passionate advocate for rural and regional women’s health

Finally, I would also like to acknowledge and thank my fellow Board members for their ongoing commitment to WHGNE. I’d especially like to thank Katherine Allsop and Karen Taylor who both – in their first year on the Board – stepped into Acting Treasurer and Secretary roles respectively and ended up in those positions for the whole year!

– Trish Curtis
 Chair, WHGNE

A message from the CEO

 The only thing that’s constant is change. 

Change can come slowly or suddenly, and at WHGNE we’ve seen some slow changes during the past 30 years and some quite sudden ones during the past 12 months. 

Bear with me while I take us right back to 1992. 

In 1992, a group of women from Shepparton and north-east Victoria decided that a first step towards improving the health of women in the region was to establish a Women’s Health Service. A steering committee successfully obtained funds to undertake a consultation and needs study, in the development phase of the Goulburn North Eastern Women’s Health Service, known as NEWomen. 

In March 1993, the report “Health Needs of Women in the Goulburn North East” was completed.  This report identified that rural women experienced disadvantage when it came to accessing health services and information. 

The women obtained funding to establish an autonomous regional women’s health service and following months of negotiation with the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Women’s Health Service was established as a program of Ovens and King Community Health Service. The first manager, Dee Basinski, was appointed in March 1994. 

Between 1993 and 2000, we operated as NEWomen, a program of Ovens and King Community Health Service. 

In 1998 the DHS commissioned NEWomen to develop a Women’s Health Plan for the Hume region. The Women’s Health Plan Hume Region identified three major goals: 

  • To identify regional priorities for the improvements of health outcomes for women 
  • To ensure that health service to women is appropriate, relevant and effective 
  • To ensure a coordinated approach to addressing women’s health issues across the Hume region. 

In mid-1999, a group of women gathered to work towards establishing the women’s health service for the region as an independent organisation.  

At a public meeting in Benalla on 20 June 1999, a decision was made to proceed with establishing a new autonomous organisation. With the support of Terry Garwood, Regional Director DHS, and Suzanne Cooper, CEO Ovens and King Community Health Service, Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) became an independent entity in March 2000. It was established in July 2000 and incorporated as an independent organisation under the Associations Incorporation Act 1989. 

We fast-forward to 2023, when our small team of 10 staff expanded to 17, thanks to a funding boost that expires in June 2024. Our Treasurer will talk more about this, but it has enabled us to bring in being some great projects that have been on our wishlist. You can read about these projects in our Annual Report. 

2023 sees WHGNE completing the second year of our four-year strategic plan. This Plan focuses on the systemic changes that our communities are telling us they want – the changes that we can make if we work together.  

Our strategic plan is part of a cycle that has been going for the past 30 years, and that will continue to carry us into the future. . This year, we’ve been renewing our understanding of what our region needs and wants by initiating several community consultation projects, ensuring that we’re listening to the voices of today’s community, not relying on the past alone to inform us. 

The sort of long-term work that we do incorporates not only the ability to hold a vision for the future, but the skills and commitment to work each day on projects whose objectives might not be realised for many years. It’s such a pleasure to have a Board that holds that long-term vision so that our skilled staff can take care of the right now. I want to thank every Board member for their support and my amazing team who turn up with commitment, drive and clear love for working alongside our community to create the future that our region deserves. 

– Amanda Kelly

A message from the Treasurer

It is my pleasure to present the Annual Financial Statements for Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) for the year ending 30 June 2023.  The 2023 financial year has been a year of stable and sustained growth, as a result of a significant increase in funding of our organisation.  That said, with increases in funding and growth come other challenges that we have responded to as an organisation.  On the whole though, the last financial year has been a good one for our organisation. WHGNE has shown again that it is an organisation committed to producing quality efforts for women in our community in the face of increasing challenges.  In my view, the standards of the organisation – from the services we provide, programs we run, our transparency, systems and accountability, as well as our governance – are extremely high and put us in a strong position moving forward into the next financial year. 

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

Revenue totalled $1,555,889, which was an increase of +$313,638 fromthe 2022 financial year. This increase was the result of a boost in funding from the Departments of Health and Families, Fairness and Housing. The boost is for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2024 and in the first year, not all of the funds were expended as new staff and programs came on board.  

 Expenses were $1,604,170 which was a +$483,423 increase from FY21. This related largely to salaries and wages including an adjustment to long service leave provision that was a correction after the introduction of the Portable Long Service Leave Authority. 

 Overall, this resulted in a deficit of $48,281, which was a -$169,786 reduction compared with on the 2022 financial year result. 

The balance sheet of the organisation remains exceptionally strong with:  

  • Assets of $1,598,131, of these assets 95% are cash & cash equivalents.  
  • Liabilities of $802,479; and   
  • Total Equity of $795,652.    

The current ratio stands at 1.97 which demonstrates the organisation’s strong liquidity.  

 The annual review of the organisation’s financials has been completed by Crowe Australia. 

The reviewers commented that: 

  • All financial record keeping was very strong; and  
  • Complimented the organisation on the level and diversification of the qualifications of the Board Members, which provided strong internal controls and support.   

The 2023 Special Purpose Report was completed after the 2022 financial statements, due to a legislative change were reviewed. While the review undertaken in 2022 was still very thorough and fulfilled of all of WHGNE’s legislative requirements, WHGNE appointed Crowe Australia to undertake future audits and prepare Special Purpose Reports to ensure compliance with best practice for not-for-profit organisations. 

 In closing, I would like to thank Jason Brown of Elliot Accounting, who took over the Financial Management role of the organisation in the 2023 financial year and has provided dedicated financial assistance throughout the year.  On a more personal note, he has also provided the Treasurer and the Board with great support in the reporting and discussion of finances throughout the year. 

 Additionally, I would like to thank Amanda Kelly.  The high standards met by the organisation more broadly are set in large part by Amanda.  Importantly, Amanda consistently and successfully meets these standards herself.  Her management of WHGNE and assistance to the Board is constantly impressive and commendable.  On behalf of the Board, we thank Amanda for her continued efforts in exceptional leadership of WHGNE.  As Treasurer, I would also like to thank the assistance and patience Amanda has afforded to me over this past year. 

We head into the next financial year in a sound and stable financial position, which will provide the foundation to meet our ambitious strategic goals and continue our important work. 


– Katherine Allsop
Acting Treasurer, WHGNE

Working with our community

Tracking progress: WHGNE’s policy submissions  

In December 2022, WHGNE finalised its first ever policy advocacy strategy, which, together with our communications strategy and community engagement framework, seeks to give strategic direction to our values base. That is, the strategy aims to focus our attention not only on the outcomes of policy advocacy, but on the processes involved in researching, developing, communicating and advocating for policy change towards intersectional equity might, themselves, reflect this commitment to intersectional equity.

This strategy is not only intended to guide the way we formulate submissions to government inquiries and policy, but to enable our organisation to create a suite of policy position statements, based specifically on the wisdom, lived experience, needs, strengths and aspirations of marginalised people and communities in our own catchment area. Our first such position paper is currently in the works – a policy position around security of tenure in climate-safe, socially connected housing.

During this past financial year, WHGNE also completed a total of 14 independent submissions and three collaboration submissions with our strategic partners. These submissions included nine at national level, seven at state level and one at regional level.


National Emissions Reduction Target submission (July 2022)

Senate Inquiry into Universal Access to Reproductive Healthcare submission (October 2022)

Stage Three Tax Cuts advocacy campaign (October 2022)

Draft National Care and Support Economy submission, created in collaboration with Women’s Health Services Network (June 2023)

CSIRO Transforming Food Systems discussion paper submission (January 2023)

Housing Future Fund research to support advocacy to Federal Indi MP Helen Haines (February 2023)

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance People’s Food Plan draft plan submission – (March 2023)

National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality discussion paper submission (March 2023)

National Climate and Health Strategy discussion paper submission (June 2023)



Women’s Health in the House – Victorian state election campaign, in collaboration with Women’s Health Services Network (September 2022)

Victorian state budget advocacy campaign, in concert with statewide collective of Women’s Health Services Network (May 2023)

Victorian Suicide Prevention and Response Strategy submission (July 2022)

Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes and Performance Framework submission (September 2022)

Victorian state election advocacy – Hearing Benambra campaign (October 2022)

Victorian state election advocacy – ‘Where do you stand?’ Regional Women’s Health and Wellbeing Candidate Scorecard (September 2022)

Wellbeing in Victoria – A Plan to Promote Good Mental Health submission (November 2022)


Moira Shire Community Strengthening Grants Policy review submission (September 2022)

We responded to 231 enquiries for collaboration, support and information. 


This past year has seen requests for a range of collaborative, capacity building and supportive activities representing various sectors, including health, community, local government, education and training, sports and recreation and of course our sister organisations in the women’s health sector.

2022-23 saw the most frequent enquiries centered around amplifying the message, linking networks and mobilising and empowering others. These areas encompassed activities which included collaborating on advocacy campaigns around topics like sexual and reproductive health access and gender responsive climate planning, strengthening regional ties to empower organisations to embed gender equity through a systems lens and working with stakeholders directly to support efforts to better understand their role in primary prevention and regional gender equality.

By sector, the highest number of enquiries came from health organisations at a percentage of 38.5%. By location, 39.8% of all enquiries came from the Ovens Murray area.

In 2022-23, we streamlined our website and developed our social media processes to fully realise the goals of our Communications Strategy, while also prioritising the voices of women in our region through our Community Engagement Framework.

WHGNE’s website was the focus of a comprehensive review this year, a process which has streamlined ease of use and increased accessibility.

As the central hub for our communications, we have taken steps to ensure that the resources on our website are available for people of all abilities to access, with brand new accessibility software, a language translation function and consistent, easy to navigate pathways between pages.

Special events and days of significance like the 2022 16 Days campaign and our Regions reIMAGINED conversation series were promoted and featured on our website, with video recordings of the latter posted on the events page with supporting social media material.

Our website was the first point of call for information and access to the WHGNE eLearning system, which launched with interactive features and new courses on International Women’s Day in 2023, complimented by a host of blog posts and a social media campaign around digital literacy, linking back to our website.

Throughout the year, our social media channels – FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and LINKEDIN -have been a critical tool in forging connections and communicating relevant information to our communities. 2023 saw a new relationship develop between WHGNE and social media consultants, CorComs, who are working with us to get the best out of our communications channels, directing people to resources, research and opportunities to engage with our work. Through these channels we’ve:

  • continued to share meaningful content around our priority areas to promote credible sources of information, provide tangible actions for people to take around areas like sexual and reproductive health, gender equity and climate justice, and prompt community conversations to further our regional health promotion and prevention work
  • participated in collaborative social media campaigns with our sister Women’s Health Services, such as the 2022 Sexual and Reproductive Health Week campaign, the EndoMarch campaign, HER Mental Health campaign and state budget advocacy;
  • promoted the work of partners and allies such as the Women’s Health Services Network, the Climate and Health Alliance, local Pride organisations, Women with Disabilities Victoria; First People’s Assembly of Victoria;
  • celebrated days of significance such as NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week, Sorry Day, Pride Month, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia.

We sustained public advocacy around abortion and other sexual and reproductive health service access on our social media channels, following several developments in that space internationally and in Australia.

Following the decision in the US at the end of the previous financial year to overturn Roe v Wade, WHGNE as part of the women’s health services stepped up advocacy and remained part of the public discourse to compliment our submission to the Senate Inquiry into Universal Access to Reproductive Healthcare, and via social media released a statement following a data breach which saw hackers threaten to release sensitive information around abortion.

We also participated in the Women’s Health Services Network ‘Keep the momentum going’ campaign during the 2022 Victorian state election, calling for equitable health policy for all Victorians.

Through our social media, WHGNE has been particularly active in putting the spotlight on rurality as a social determinant of health, through the lens of all our priority areas.

Throughout the year, WHGNE has been mentioned or featured in 13 news articles in print and online media, in addition to five radio appearances. These stories have covered topics including the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, International Womens’ Day and the link between gender-based violence and disaster. WHGNE has contributed three articles to the rural health publication, Partyline, throughout the year. These have centered around rurality, the importance of lived experience and sexual and reproductive health access.

We undertook the Hearing Benambra community consultation, with in-person events and an online survey in order to gather lived experience data to present to MPs and candidates during the lead up to the Victorian state election.

WHGNE also conducted community consultations at libraries around the region for a lived-experience perspective to inform our submission to the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan consultation phase.

Knowledge sharing

Twelve staff accessed a total of 156.5 hours of formal professional development.

This year, as part of whole-of-organisational capacity building, WHGNE staff embarked on an in-depth course in systems-thinking, facilitated by the Systems School and tailored to WHGNE. We see this as an integral part of our work towards embedding gender equity, to more thoroughly understand the systems that impact the lives of women in our region and communities across the state. Initial planning commenced with the leadership team in November 2022 with a training plan developed.

What were the next steps: 

  • In February 2022, WHGNE staff began the systems thinking course, with four workshop-style sessions complete as of June 30. The course has continued into the 2023-24 year and will be completed in June 2024.
  • All staff were provided with an account for the Systems School, through which they were able to further develop their skills in understanding systems change between sessions, and to track their progress.
  • The Systems School facilitator, Seanna Davidson has provided support to staff on specific projects and areas of their work, in applying a systems lens and has worked with leadership to embed systems thinking at a whole of organisation level.


Staff professional development included courses from:

We actively participated in 26 networks in the 2022-23 period

WHGNE continues to maintain extensive connections within networks and partnerships at a regional and state-wide level. The networks with which WHGNE maintains engagement are wide ranging in scope, but align with WHGNE’s impact areas and strategic plan. Participation in these networks increase organisational capacity to foster gender equality, increase the wellbeing of communities in our region and contribute to shared prevention efforts across the state.

In 2022-23 WHGNE actively participated in a total of 26 strategic networks, encompassing a diverse range of priorities, including evaluation, rural sexual and reproductive health, mental health, sustainable food systems and the prevention of gender-based violence.

Highlights include:

  • Contribution to the Women’s Health Services Evaluation Working Group: In 2022-23 WHGNE collaborated on the state-wide effort to finalise the recently implemented Indicator Framework, designed to streamline consistent and meaningful evaluation of WHS initiatives and collaborations.  To inform this work, WHGNE participated in four Department of Health Indicator Framework workshops, facilitated by Catherine Harper, to review and provide feedback on the final Indicator Framework for WHS, between August 2022 and June 2023.
  • Consolidated the position of the Victorian Women’s Health Service Network as a leading force in state-wide advocacy for gender equity and social justice: Driven by both the newly formed Women’s Health Services Network and the state-wide WHS Evaluation Community of Practice, WHGNE contributed to developing the WHS’ Collective Impact Report, which will inform advocacy around the 2023 State Budget to ensure sustainable funding for Victorian women’s health and wellbeing. WHGNE also took a leading role in creating the Women’s Health Services Network website, which will act as a hub for collective advocacy.

WHGNE actively participated in the following networks:

State Wide:

  • Women’s Health Services’ Network (weekly)
  • WHS Managers group (6-weekly)
  • Action for Gender Equality Partnership (monthly)
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Community of Practice (quarterly)
  • Communications Community of Practice (quarterly)
  • Evaluation Community of Practice (fortnightly)
  • Quality Framework Community of Practice (quarterly)
  • WOMHEn Community of Practice (commenced June 2023)
  • Women with Disabilities Victoria Community Inclusion and Women’s Empowerment Program Advisory Group (bi-monthly)
  • Women’s Mental Health Alliance coordinated by Women’s Health Victoria (bi-monthly)
  • Department of Health Victorian Women’s Health Program State-wide Advisory Group (bi-monthly)
  • SHOUT working group, coordinated by CERSH and YACVic (6-weekly)

Ovens Murray area:

  • Northeast Recovery Network, coordinated by Emergency Recovery Victoria (bi-monthly)
  • Wangaratta Health and Wellbeing Partnership, coordinated by Rural City of Wangaratta (bi-monthly)
  • Benalla Health and Wellbeing Partnership, coordinated by Benalla Rural City Council (bi-monthly)
  • Ovens Murray Health Promotion network, coordinated by Gateway Health (monthly)
  • North East Local Food Strategy working group, coordinated by Gateway Health (6 meetings held)
  • North East Victoria Sexual Health Community of Practice, coordinated by Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (quarterly)
  • Multicultural Sector network, coordinated by Gateway Health Wodonga (monthly)
  • Ovens Murray Family Violence Executive, coordinated by Centre Against Violence (monthly)
  • Corryong Family Violence Prevention network, coordinated by Department of Education and Training (monthly)
  • Tallangatta Family Violence Prevention network, coordinated by Department of Education and Training (monthly)

Goulburn area:

  • Mitchell Health and Wellbeing Advisory Committee, coordinated by Mitchell Shire (quarterly)
  • Primary Care and Population Health Plan Interim working group, coordinated by Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit (3-weekly from March 2023)
  • Goulburn Valley Healthy and Sustainable Food System working group, coordinated by Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit (4 meetings held)
  • Goulburn Valley Sexual Health Community of Practice, coordinated by Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (quarterly)

WHGNE engaged in facilitated conversations and provided opportunities for capacity building and training to 829 people across WHGNE eLearning, online and in-person activities.

We delivered six tailored training sessions to organisations participating in our Gender Equity Pathway, around capacity building for completing Gender Impact Assessments. Seven additional training sessions were delivered to local government and educational institutions aiming to embed gender equity within their organisations. These training sessions included Bystander Action Training, Healthy Relationships Training and Learn, Support, Lead Gender Equity sessions.

WHGNE facilitated regional capacity building through the Gender Equity Community of Practice, comprising 52 members representing 32 organisations in 2022, growing to 57 members representing 41 organisations in 2023. Individual members represent regionally based organisations in the public health and community sectors.

WHGNE collaborated on the WOMHEn Project (Workforce of Multilingual Health Educators), led by Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH). The WOMHEn project delivered 15 sexual and reproductive health educations sessions, 38 mental health education sessions and 29 community consultations, held across both the Goulburn Valley and northeast Victorian regions. 

In 2022-23 WHGNE took an active role in engaging community around prevention, wellbeing and civic participation through the implementation of the Community Consultation Framework, which resulted in reciprocal sharing in conjunction with WHGNE facilitated conversations in community settings. Facilitated conversations informed by the Community Consultation Framework included: 

  • Tallangatta and Surrounds Women’s Health and Wellbeing event, comprising 33 participants
  • Social Work Day at LaTrobe University, comprising seven participants
  • Girl Guides Victoria event, comprising 30 participants
  • Utilising the Victorian State Government’s Community Toolkit for the Statewide Wellbeing Plan face to face through casual conversation in regional libraries, comprising 185 participants
  • Flexible Learning Centre Group Sessions, comprising 67 participants


We officially launched WHGNE eLearning on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2023

After an extensive period of scoping, consultation, development and refinement, 2023 saw the integration of WHGNE eLearning as a key component of WHGNE’s capacity building offering. WHGNE eLearning has been designed to deliver informal, self-directed online learning on a range of topics relating to gender equity and the social determinants of health.

Our eLearning platform offers awareness-level courses for the general public, while also providing our Stakeholders and partners support in readying their workforce for in-person training and learning at a pace suiting their needs.

WHGNE eLearning was trialed by some of our gender equity partners and was ‘soft launched’ during 16 Days of Activism to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in November 2022. Following feedback which suggested the preference for a more interactive experience, WHGNE eLearning was updated with all new interactive features and officially released on International Women’s Day 2023.

WHGNE eLearning is designed to incorporate region-specific themes to allow stakeholders and interested community members to explore material related to the context within which they live and work, and can be tailored to organisational needs.

Since the WHGNE eLearning soft launch in November 2022, a total of 71 users, including representatives from 18 organisations have registered. Of 124 course enrolments, 64 courses had been completed by the end of the 2022-23 period.

As of June 30 2023, eight courses were up and running on WHGNE eLearning, with new content planned to be released regularly into the 2023-24 period.

Our project highlights

Regions reIMAGINED: A conversation series

Gender Equity Community of Practice

The WOMHEn Project

Flood relief

WHGNE eLearning

Sights of Care: A World Localisation Day magazine (2023)

Have you renewed your WHGNE membership for 2023-2024?

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 2023-24 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 regular 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.