Our Board of Directors

2017 QDN Board of Directors
2017 QDN Board of Directors

Nigel Webb

Chairperson, Brisbane

Nigel Webb

Nigel believes QDN, being an organisation of, by and for people with disability plays a vital role in influencing change to improve the lives and community participation of people with disability.

As a man with cerebral palsy, Nigel has dedicated himself to infiltrating the ‘system’ to make changes. Nigel’s experiences in institutionalised settings led to a fundamental belief that everybody has the right to participate within his or her community, including social and economic participation.

Nigel has been on the QDN Board of Directors since June 2009 and Chairperson of the Board since February 2010. During this time, Nigel has lead the collective work of QDN members in regard to key government reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Nigel also has experience on the boards of a number of Queensland-based advocacy and support organisations for people with disabilities over the past 20 years. These include President of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Community Member of the Disability Council of Queensland providing advice to the Minister for Disability Services Queensland and advocate for the needs of Queenslanders with disability and their families.

Nigel currently works for the Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland and I Can Direct, Caboolture. Nigel and his wife Nenita have been married since 2009 and have two beautiful daughters Keisha and Hannah.


John MacPherson

Deputy Chair, Brisbane

John McPherson

John is a founding member of QDN and is a strong believer that the network enhances its members’ lives and empowers them through information and representation.

John has a highly developed skill set around technical areas. He has represented QDN on many committees and forums including technical advisor during the drafting of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, one of the authors of the Premises Standard, author of the Accessible Rail Code of Practice, and authored or commented on numerous QDN responses to DDA related draft technical documents and DDA related legislation.

John currently represents QDN on:

• Queensland Rail DDA Advisory Group;
• Transport and Main Roads Access Committee;
• Australian Network for Universal Housing Design;
• Queensland Action for Universal Housing Design.


Matt McCracken

Board Director, Caboolture

Matt McCracken

Matt has over five years’ experience as a QDN Board Member.

Matt is also the founder and president of the Caboolture Disability Support Network Inc which has been running for seven years and incorporated for five years. The Network runs the successful Is Everybody Here community service expo every year in Caboolture.

Matt is also Assistant Co-ordinator for Better Together which supports people with disabilities to access their community and a member of the Moreton Bay Regional Disability Network.


Sharon Boyce

Board Director, Toowoomba

Sharon Boyce

Sharon is a part-time education academic and consultant in disability awareness across the state. She is passionate and committed to social justice – empowering people with a disability and supporting real living independence.

Sharon is the Chair for the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and Regional Chair of the South West Regional Disability Advisory Council.

Among the awards she has received are the Queensland Regional Achiever Award in 2012 for her work in awareness raising and creating inclusive communities across Australia, a Human Rights Award in 2008 for her contribution to creating inclusion across the community, and a Disability Action Week Award in 2003 for her work writing an accessible children’s story book.


Philia Polites

Board Director, Brisbane

Philia Polites

Having lost considerable mobility over the last 10 years, Philia hopes to use her skills and knowledge from her public sector and voluntary roles, to further the cause of people in similar circumstances.

As a senior Federal Government public servant, Philia was responsible for a number of social justice initiatives, including monitoring, evaluating and reporting on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy and programs. A particular initiative, the slogan ‘Focus on Ability, not dis-Ability” was also used in the non-government sector.

As Director of the Government’s first Access and Equity (A&E) Program in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Philia was responsible for making A&E considerations a central concern for effective policy and decision-making, as an integral part of overall corporate planning and operations.

She also has close community links, particularly in the ethnic and multicultural fields, and was recipient of a Women’s Award for the ACT for her work in women’s health, disability issues and multicultural/ethnic issues.

In her Board role, Philia believes she can be useful as QDN moves to develop strong local support groups, and more specific capacity building in preparation for the roll out of the NDIS.


Peter Gurr

Board Director, Townsville

Peter Gurr

Peter was born in Cairns and has grown up in Townsville. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago. A boilermaker by trade and a licensed building contractor, Peter operated his own business in the building industry until three years ago when his son took over.

He has a Diploma in Community Service with electives in disability.

Peter brings to the Board his extensive business knowledge, and a passion for helping other people with disabilities and learning more about himself. He is finding the disability sector interesting and challenging.

He is an active QDN member taking on roles including Regional Facilitator, Convener of the Townsville Local Support Group, and Peer Facilitator for QDN’s Ready to go Project.

Peter has been married to Joy for close to 30 years, and they have two great kids, Emma and Lachlan.


Grahame Robertson

Board Director, Brisbane

Grahame Robertson

Grahame has a wealth of corporate experience tempered with relevant life experience.

He is a former Public Company Managing Director, having founded an Information Technology Project and taking it to a successful Initial Public Offering on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Currently, as an executive consultant, he provides strategic advice and project direction to an organisation that delivers business process improvement to a range of industries including the insurance and superannuation, manufacturing, ITC and the not for profit sectors.

Having grown up in regional Queensland and worked in regional and remote communities, Grahame has empathy for the regions. He also has lived experience with disability – personally and through family and friends.

Grahame believes the best and most effective way he can give back to the community is by using the experience and skills he has been fortunate to acquire.


Colleen Papadopoulos

Company Secretary, Brisbane

Colleen Papadopoulos

Colleen is a practicing Chartered (Corporate) Secretary and Independent Director with board/committee experience in a number of capacities, including Chair, Deputy Chair, Executive Director and Independent/Non-executive Director.

Her professional qualifications include a Master of Public Health, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.

She has credentials as a Performance Auditor, Strategic Analyst, Risk and Project Manager, with (honours/cum laude) undergraduate degrees in Writing (Humanities: technical, business, creative writing), and Society and Culture (Behavioural Sciences: anthropology, socio-biology and environmental psychology).

She is a mediator and facilitator, with experience teaching independent living skills and in assisting people with disability and disadvantage.

Colleen’s service to the Board is informed by over 25 years’ experience in governance and public administration, largely devoted to understanding and addressing complex social and organisational issues in the health and community services sector (both US and Australia).

She has a passion for assisting community boards to build governance capacity and improved performance, and has a record of successfully leading companies through audit and compliance improvement, incorporation, transition, restructuring and culture change.

Colleen is a Fellow Member of Governance Institute Australia and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (UK), and Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.


About our Board

Please click here to contact the office for individual contact details.

From time to time Board vacancies arise. Please let us know if you wish to register an interest in Board vacancies. Otherwise, the Board is elected at the Annual General Meeting each year, between September and November.