Gerard began in consumer advocacy as a policy officer and solicitor with Consumer Law Centre Victoria, before working as a Senior Policy Officer with Consumer Action. Gerard then worked with the Brotherhood of St Laurence as Senior Manager Financial Inclusion, leading the national rollout of the Saver Plus program. Gerard returned to Consumer Action in 2011 to lead the Centre’s policy and campaigns work. Gerard has represented consumers on a number of bodies, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Consumer Consultative Committee, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Consumer Advisory Panel and the Australian Energy Regulator’s Customer Consultative Group. Gerard has a Masters in Public Policy and Management, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.
Chief Executive Officer
Param joined Consumer Action in 2017 and for almost a decade prior Param was assisting large and small non-profit organisations across Australia with grant applications and work for the dole programs. More recently he was managing the ICT & Security needs of Consumer Action and has been instrumental to significant infrastructure improvements. The Operations team delivers practical solutions to complex problems all whilst helping to create an inclusive, diverse and collaborative workplace culture and Param couldn’t be prouder in leading them.
BBus (Banking and Finance) David is the former General Manager, Broker Operations at NAB, and has extensive experience in the areas of credit and debt. He is currently CEO of Way Forward Debt Solutions Ltd, a not for profit established by the four major banks, ABA and Financial Counselling Australia with a focus on assisting people in hardship with debts across multiple organisations.
LLB BA LLM DipEd Vic Marles is the CEO of Trust for Nature, a statutory entity established by the Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972 working in the area of private land conservation. Prior to that, Vic was the first Legal Services Commissioner and CEO of the Legal Services Board, a position she held for four years. Vic was the Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman from 2002 to 2005. She worked as a lawyer with the Communications Law Centre from 1993 to 2002, and was the Deputy Director and manager of the Melbourne office. She was a legal member of the Guardianship Board and Guardianship List of VCAT for ten years, finishing in 2002. Vic has worked as a solicitor at Corrs and Holding Redlich. Vic has held a number of board and council positions. She has been a member of the Consumers Federation of Australia Council and the TIO Council. She chaired the board of Circus Oz for fourteen years until 2007. She has been a member of the Board of the Victorian Arts Centre, the Victorian Women's Trust, the Australian Community Support Organisation and the Melbourne Writers Festival. She chaired Vic Health's Community Arts Participation Scheme program for ten years, finishing in 2007.
Katia joined Consumer Action as a Litigation Solicitor in 2011. For three years, she worked in the role of Manager Legal Advice Services and worked a further three years in the role of Manager Impact Monitoring & Evaluation, conducting major service evaluations, supporting impact-led service design and delivery, and helping engender a culture of honest inquiry and learning. Trained as a lawyer and social worker, Katia has a passion for advancing fairness and inclusion and is honoured to lead our Financial Counselling Practice.
Director Financial Counselling
Katie Fraser leads the Engagement and Learning team, which coordinates Consumer Action’s professional development for financial counsellors, lawyers and workers; leads partnerships; leads outreach to Aboriginal community; and does evaluation and monitoring to capture the Centre’s impact. She is passionate about providing access to justice for people who are experiencing disadvantage and using client stories to change unfair systems. Katie joined Consumer Action in 2019 after working in CLCs for more than a decade. She has an LLB (Hons) and BA (Hons) from ANU, and started her legal career as an Associate at the Federal Court in 2001 (moonlighting as a volunteer at Redfern Legal Centre).
Director Engagement and Learning
Tania joined Consumer Action in 2022 after decades of experience advocating and driving social change and an extensive track record in delivering impact relating to industrial relations and employment law, human rights and discrimination law, family law and family violence legal and justice systems. Tania’s background is in legal, advocacy and dispute resolution. She has worked in a diverse range of organisations including NGOs, federal and state governments, trade unions and universities throughout Australia and the UK. Tania is a sensitive listener to her team and those around her. She has a strong history of using ‘positive disruption’ to successfully resolve complex, politically sensitive disputes and problems that exhibit volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Director Policy Campaigns
Nila Martin joined Consumer Action Law Centre in April 2011 as Finance Manager and looks after all finance, accounting, and payroll functions for the organisation. Nila (CGMA, ACMA) is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant. She is an associate member of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) Nila has over 25 years’ experience in finance and accounting and has worked overseas as well.
BA LLB John is a principal of the consumer law firm Berrill & Watson practising in superannuation, insurance & financial advice claims & disputes & is also a volunteer lawyer at Social Security Rights Victoria & the Mental Health Legal Centre.