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National Facilitating Group

Our Purpose

Anti-Poverty Week supports the Australian community to have an increased understanding of poverty and to take action collectively to end it. We are a diverse network of individuals and organisations who share this purpose.  Since 2002, we have been active each year in the week around the 17th of October, the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Our key message is: Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all.  We can all do something about it.  It is one of hope, not despair.  In 2023, Anti-Poverty Week will be held from the 15th to 27th of October.  

Check out what’s on this APW:

Anti-Poverty Week Activities and Events


Governance and Structure

The Week is coordinated through a National Facilitating Group, with two honorary National Co-Chairs and two part-time staff. Our finances have been kindly managed by Uniting Communities SA for many years. Key organisational roles are played by honorary Co-Chairs and Facilitating Groups in each State and Territory. Our National and State Facilitating Groups represent a large range of community organisations working to fight poverty all around Australia.  Many of these have been our long term financial sponsors and we have also been joined by some philanthropic funds, a number of unions and the University of New South Wales.


National Facilitating Group 2023:

National Co-Chairs:

Eileen Baldry AO,  Professor of Criminology, UNSW Sydney

Eileen Baldry (BA, DipEd, MWP, PhD, FASSA) is a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and current Professor of Criminology at UNSW Sydney. Professor Baldry has held senior positions in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and is the first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UNSW. Professor Baldry has taught social policy, social development and criminology over the past 30 years. Her research and publications focus on social justice particularly in relation to the criminal justice system. She is currently a Director on the Board of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre as well as the UNSW lead for their Poverty and Inequality Partnership with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and joined APW as National Co-Chair in May 2018. Professor Baldry was awarded the NSW Justice Medal in 2009 and in 2016 was named in the AFR/Westpac 100 most influential women in Australia.

Simon Schrapel AM, CEO, Uniting Communities

Simon joined Uniting Communities as Chief Executive in mid-2010. His aim was to build on the organisation’s history and reputation as a progressive agency for social change, reconciliation, and fostering compassionate, resilient communities.  Originally trained in Social Work, he has spent more than 30 years in social services practice, management and policy development and advocacy. He has worked in both the Government and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and abroad.

In 2017, Simon was awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia which recognised his commitment to supporting children and families.



Travers McLeod, Executive Director, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Kasy Chambers, CEO, Anglicare Australia

Claerwen Little, National Director UnitingCare Australia

Michael Perusco, CEO, Berry Street


National Staff:

Toni Wren, Executive Director

Toni Wren joined Anti-Poverty Week in the new role of Executive Director in early 2019. She was Project and Policy Lead at the Australian Network on Disability from 2015-2018. Prior to that, Toni spent a decade advising leading non-profit agencies across Australia on employment and social policy research, development and advocacy, as well as non-profit management and strategic thinking. Between 1995 and 2005, Toni worked in employment and social policy in Japan, the USA and the UK. During her earlier career in Australia, she was a consultant to a Ministers and Shadow Ministers across the political spectrum and worked for ACOSS and the NSW Welfare Rights Centre. Toni was a member of the National Facilitating Group for Anti-Poverty Week from 2009 to 2018 and has been a member of the Advisory Committee for the Life Course Centre since early 2022.  Toni has a Masters in Non-profit Management from the New School for Social Research in New York, and undergraduate degrees in economics and business communication from Australian universities.