Our Board of Directors

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There are seven Aboriginal community elected Directors who form the Board and at VACCA the role of the Board is one of governance. The Board works with the CEO to oversee the longer term strategic goals (as set out in our strategic plan), set aims and objectives and establish policies.

The Board has overall responsibility for:

  • Authorising all major decisions
  • Setting long-term goals
  • Appointment of the CEO
  • Seeking information from the CEO as to whether its major decisions and long-term goals are being met
  • Ensuring legal compliance and financial accountability standards are met

Board Rules
VACCA was established in 1977 as a Cooperative under the Victorian Cooperatives Act. In 2014 the Co-operatives Act was replaced in Victoria by the Co-operatives National Law. In accordance with the Co-operatives National Law, only members of VACCA can nominate for vacant positions on the Board. To become a member of VACCA you must be of Aboriginal descent, over 18 years of age and comply with the Code of Conduct. The Board are elected by members at the Annual General Meeting.

The Directors meet bi-monthly and their role is to govern, not manage, the Agency. Therefore the Directors address ends and delegates the means to the CEO. The CEO is responsible for the good management, direction, co-ordination and future development of the organisation and all its services.
The CEO is appointed by and is accountable to the Board of Directors.
Members can receive the model rules on request.

James Atkinson - Chairperson

Yorta Yorta / Bangerang

James is employed as the CEO of the Aboriginal Community Elders Service. James’ previous employment was as CEO of the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative and as Manager, Koorie Education with the Department of Education and Training.  James has a great deal of organisational experience and has served on Boards at a state and national level. James has been a VACCA Board Member for 19 years. He was one of the founding members of the first Victorian Aboriginal Youth Advisory Committee and a participant in the Koorie Leadership Program.

Jason Kanoa - Vice Chairperson

Gunditjmara / Bunitj

Jason is employed as the CEO at the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation. Prior to this Jason was employed as CEO of the Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative. Jason has been employed as a Senior Project Officer, Indigenous Family Violence, at DHHS and with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) as the Koori Caucus Executive Officer.  Jason has been a VACCA Board Member for 9 years. He has a Diploma in Business Management and has completed governance training and the Indigenous Leadership Network Victoria course.

Aunty Margaret Atkinson - Director

Yorta Yorta / Taungurung / Wurundjeri

Aunty Marg is employed as a Wurreker Broker with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI). She was previously employed at the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-op and was employed at VACCA for over nine years.  Aunty Marg has been a VACCA Board Member for 10 years and has completed Governance training.

Aunty Deidre King - Secretary


Aunty Deidre was employed as CEO of the Aboriginal Community Elders Service (ACES). Prior to this, Aunty Deidre worked at the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) for 17 years and at VACCA. Aunty Deidre is a Life Member of VACCA and has been a Board Member for 6 years and was previously on the Board for 14 years. She has completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Management and completed Governance training.

Aunty Debra Swindle - Secretary


Aunty Debra is an advocate for Aboriginal community in Victoria, and Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisations. Aunty Debra is actively involved in the Healesville Aboriginal community and has been a VACCA Board Member for 12 months.

Matthew Burns - Treasurer


Matt is the CEO of the Taungurung Land and Waters Council. Prior to this, Matt has worked in the banking and financial sector. He is an elected member of the First Peoples Assembly as the Taungurung representative. Matt holds an Advanced Diploma in Financial Services.

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