As a Disabled People's Organisation (DPO), NEDA is an organisation run by and for CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) people with disability.
Our constitution states that our board is to be comprised of a majority of CALD people with disability.
In addition to general community membership, NEDA also has state & territory members.
Current sitting NEDA Council
Executive Board Members
Margherita Coppolino is an Inclusion/Intersectionality consultant and photographer. With an outstanding network of contacts in government, business and social justice organisations, Margherita has a proven ability to inspire and influence a wide range of stakeholders on inclusion/intersectionality issues. She has strong commercial acumen and ability to frame inclusion issues in a commercial context. During her career, she also has honed & developed specialist skills in project management, facilitation, recruitment, case management.
Margherita has undertaken the Australia Institute of Company Directors training and has sat on several Boards in executive and non-executive positions. In 2020, she was appointed as ILGA Oceania Disability Sub-Committee Chair and Director on Drummond/&Queer-space Board.
In 2017, she was nominated as the National Ethnic Disability Alliance’s (NEDA’s) President.
Margherita was appointed to the Victorian Ministerial LGBTI Taskforce in 2020 and SBS Community Advisory Committee in 2019. Previously, she held the position of Chair on Arts Access Victoria and Australia Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Boards. She has also held non-executive positions on Spectrum Migrants Resources Centre and Action on Disability Within Ethnic Communities, Women With Disabilities Australia and Short Statured People of Australia.
In 2020, Margherita moderated the Queering the COSP Side Event at United Nations CRPD COSP 13 and was a panelist member on the 2018 LGBTIQA side event at the United Nationals CRPD COSP11 in New York. She was also on the Intersectionality Panel at the Outright Advocacy Summit 2020.
Margherita is a first generation Australian, born to a Sicilian mother who migrated to Australia in 1959. She was born with a Short Statured condition and is a proud feminist and lesbian.
In her spare time, you will find Margherita either taking photos, volunteering, working out in the gym, travelling, wine and whisky tasting and chilling with friends.
Vice President (ACT)
Victor Marillanca was born in Batuco, Chile on in 1954. While a student at the State Technical University of Santiago, he participated in politics under Salvador Allende’s Government. In 1973, after the coup from dictator Pinochet, he was arrested, tortured and placed in a concentration camp. He was released after 48 days. In 1975, two Australians in the Whitlam Government helped him escape to Easter Island, Tahiti, Auckland and eventually, Australia.
Victor settled in Canberra. In 1976 he joined the Commonwealth Public Service and retired in 2009. In 1976, he started the Spanish language radio program on Community Radio 2XX Canberra, which was launched by the then Australian Commissioner for Community Relations and former Immigration Minister in the Whitlam Government, the late Hon Al Grassby AM.
Victor is currently NEDA’s Vice President, Vice President of Ethnic Disability ACT, Canberra Multicultural Community Forum’s Multicultural representative to the Management Board of Community radio 2XXFM, President of the Board of Community Radio 2XX, Chair of the Ethnic Standing Committee for Community Radio 2XX and President of Community Ethnic Broadcasters Association of the ACT, producer and presenter of the Latin American Radio Program at 2XXfm and presenter of Audiodromo Latino Americano in 2XXfm.
Victor has served as a Justice of the Peace since 1980, Auditor for the Australia Cuba Friendship Society of ACT since 1995 and recently as Vice-President and President of 2XXfm, Vice-President and Secretary and President of the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC), Founding President of the Australia Chile Friendship Society, President of the Latin American Refugee Association of the ACT, President of the Alianza Cultural Latino Americana and Honorary Ambassador of the ACT since 2002.
A community activist, volunteer and public servant, Victor has sought to enhance harmonious relations among all people and improve social justice. He has particular interest in democratic structures and fair representation from all groups especially on gender and minority rights issues.
Michael serves on the Executive Council of NEDA, as treasurer. He represents TASC National as the Queensland member of NEDA.
Michael’s work on the Board of TASC National has been long-term undertaking. He believes that the role of not-for-profit organisations like NEDA and TASC National is vital to the continued health of communities in Australia, and particularly for those in the community who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and with a disability.
At TASC Michael has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010, a former Chair of the Board, Acting CEO, and a volunteer lawyer over a period of 27 years. During his time at TASC, the service has developed from a volunteer legal service to a large multi-faceted organisation delivering varied and vital advocacy and support services to the community.
Michael’s background is as a lawyer and Principal in private practice and in lecturing at several universities. He now practices as a mediator based in Brisbane and throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Non-Executive Board Members
Monica Leahy (SA)
Monica Leahy is a former teacher in the fields of English as a Second Language and Disability. She managed the Migration Museum’s Education Service for four years and was a member of the Commonwealth Association of Museums governing council and the International Council of Museum’s Cultural Action Committee. She has been widely published on disability access and received a Ministerial Award and Australia Day Public Service Medal for her work in making SA’s government services accessible to people with disabilities.
She was formerly Manager of Policy and Planning for Disability SA, has consulted for the NDIA and trains Disability Support Workers throughs her own business, Disability/Learning/Management Solutions. She is currently adding to her academic credentials and will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Disability and Community Inclusion. A former Board member of Disability Rights Advocacy Service, she is currently leading their Individual Capacity Building project.
Melissa Del Borrello (WA)
Melissa has a varied and extensive work history having initially commenced working in legal profession as a paralegal, before moving to work as an advocate in the not-for-profit welfare sector to assist those most vulnerable and in need in our community, with a strong focus and commitment to assisting newly arrived migrants, refugees, and humanitarian entrants and more recently people with disabilities, carers and families from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
She currently works in primary health care, having worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 30 years and been on a number of committees and management boards, including the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre Mirrabooka and Ethnic Communities Council WA – Women’s Subcommittee. She is also a former Director of the Catholic Migrant Centre in Perth.
In 1994, she was appointed as the WA representative to the Australian Council for Women and was given the opportunity to attend the UN Regional Conference for Women in Jakarta, with the Australian delegation and in 1995 attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
She has also worked for a number of government agencies at Commonwealth (National Native Title Tribunal), State (WA Legal Aid and Department of Corrective Services) and Local Government (City of Wanneroo).
She is currently a Board member and Treasurer of Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre (EDAC) and EDAC’s representative on National Ethnic Disability Alliance’s board.
Robina Yasmin (NSW)
Robina is the NEDA council member representing NSW and treasurer of the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW.
Robina, a mother of six children, has dedicated her efforts in supporting vulnerable people particularly women with disabilities since her time working in Pakistan and up till now.
Since migrating with her family in 1996 from Pakistan, Robina found difficulties in navigating the system and accessing services for her son with cerebral palsy and was able to connect with MDAA in the late 90's – that was the beginning of her new chapter to advocate for positive changes for all people with disabilities.
Robina's educational background is in anthropology and public health, with over 30 years in experience and expertise in policies in many extensive projects, including US-AID to Pakistan, FACS Family Violence Policy, Disability Restrictive Practices for the NSW government and more recently the NSW Health's Education Centre Against Violence (ECAV) project.
Feroz M Ibrahim (NT)
Feroz M Ibrahim, a senior community volunteer from the Islamic Community of Darwin and an Advocate for Interfaith Harmony, arrived Australia in 2000.
He is currently a Board Member of Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (MCNT) and was associated with MCNT activities since his arrival.
A Civil and Structural Engineer by profession, he migrated from India with a master’s in engineering from QLD. With the support of NT Government, community members and wider community, his first initiative along with many others was conducting an “Open day” celebration at the Mosque since 2002, to eradicate misconception about Islam.
His journey is continuing with his services spreading to wider communities in fostering peace and harmony. He is the Current Chair for the Top End Walk Together and he is actively involved in “Walk Together” events and continues by taking a lead role since 2018 to bring celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity; a tangible expression of the welcoming, fair and compassionate society we are all committed to building under a peace umbrella.
He is a Board member of National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) since 2019. He is also active in the refugee space and actively involved in various activities demanding justice for the Asylum seekers organised by Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN).
Mary-Anne Cosic (VIC)
Mary-Anne was born with cerebral palsy. Her journey till now has been filled with challenges, but she overcame them all thanks to her determination, self-belief and strong family support. She is working towards her goal in becoming a TAFE teacher for future disability workers. She has completed a Diploma in Community Services.
Mary-Anne is a committee member with DnD (Disability & Diversity) for the North West region of Victoria. She is trying to organise a group in Geelong for people with ethnic backgrounds and disability to teach self-advocacy.
She is also on the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) board. She is a committee member, and she represents Victoria. NEDA advocates federally for the human rights of people with disability, and their families, from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB).
Mary-Anne is trying to campaign her local council to make her community more wheelchair friendly because she was housebound for 4 months. When it rains, she cannot get out of her driveway – she lives on a dirt road and it turns into a mud pit.
She intends to use my extensive firsthand knowledge and experience to educate others about disability.
As part as of her hobbies, she does 5D diamond painting is into art: she used to paint with acrylic paints and now sells her art on her artist page.