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Consumer and Community Advisory Committee

What is the Consumer and Community Advisory Committee?

The Consumer and Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) comprises of individual community members who advise the Board of Directors, from a consumer and community perspective.

Members advocate for the best interests of patients, consumers and their families and provide advice and guidance to South West Healthcare in carrying out its community engagement responsibilities. They are a strong voice for promoting partnership with the community we serve.

Members share information, contribute and provide a consumer perspective in service design, key South West Healthcare documents, oversee the development of key strategies and initiatives and quality and safety improvement activities at South West Healthcare.

The Committee is chaired by a member of the South West Healthcare Board of Directors and has 12 positions for community members. Members are usually patients, consumers, carers and community representatives who are current or future users of the health service.


The Consumer and Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) meet each quarter for for 2-2.5 hours, beginning in February each year. CCAC members are also encouraged to participate in other consumer working and advisory groups and attend community based forums and functions.

All appointments are for up to three years and members can elect to reapply for a second term of three years. Terms of appointment may vary to ensure continuity, however members are required to have at least one year break after serving two consecutive terms of appointment.

All applications to the CCAC occur when vacancies exist through a formal interview process. Existing South West Healthcare consumer representatives are welcome to apply.

Now recruiting

Applications are now open for the South West Healthcare Consumer and Community Advisory Committee.  If you are interested in becoming a consumer member, please read the CCAC Fact Sheet and complete the Application form.  Applications can be emailed to

Consumer and Community Advisory Committee Members

  • Nicole Barnes

    CCAC Member since 2021


    Consumer Lead 2023


    Nicole joined CCAC at Southwest Healthcare in 2021. She has a background in Chemical Engineering, and has worked for the past 14 years in the Food Manufacturing Industry in Process and Projects Engineering roles.  She is a methodical and process driven person and works with stakeholders to troubleshoot and come up with practical solutions and ideas, appreciating efficiency and simplicity – skills that she brings to CCAC.  Nicole also volunteers her time on the Committee of the Warrnambool Triathlon Club where she takes care of communications, marketing and social media to engage the local community.  

     “I live with a chronic illness, and across my years have more lived experience of hospitals and our healthcare system that I would wish upon anyone!  My driver for joining CCAC at South West Healthcare was to share my lived experience and stories with the team, with the aim of showing how powerful “Partnering in Healthcare” can be when done well. I have always been an advocate for myself, and now that I am in a position to volunteer my time, I feel I have a duty to give back as a way of saying thank you for the life-saving treatment that I have received, and I hope that my input can help to make the next persons journey that bit easier. I truly believe positive healthcare outcomes can be achieved when the consumer voice is heard, and consumers and healthcare providers collaborate together”

  • Janet Collins

    CCAC Member since 2021

    Janet has more than 25 years’ experience working in various roles including strategic planning and policy development, project management and social work in community services and disability. Janet has lived experience as the fulltime carer of her son with a disability. She has a strong network of disability service providers from government and the not-for-profit sector. Janet is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; her current board roles include Chair of SWAN Australia (Syndromes Without a Name), Treasurer of the Anglican Parish of Port Fairy and board member of Mpower Inc.


    “I recognise the importance of people from diverse backgrounds having the opportunity to actively participate in community life and reach their potential. Key to meaningful connection is the opportunity for diverse groups to ‘have a say’ in how their health services are delivered.”

  • Lou Hollis

    CCAC Member since 2018


    Chair – Written Information for Consumers

    Lou has been a member of South West Healthcare CCAC since April 2018. She has worked extensively in customer facing roles and, having a disability from birth, has lifelong experience in adapting and finding smarter options and ways to get the job done.

    The CCAC provides Lou with an opportunity to give back and connect other people with a disability to services offered at South West Healthcare.

    In her spare time Lou enjoys walking through the great outdoor and competitive dinghy sailing.

    “As I age, my body is deteriorating in ways that were not foreseen when I was young. This has sparked an interest in ergonomics and accessibility. I have also learned to quietly speak up. The response from local businesses and healthcare providers has been fabulous, with one installing an automatic sensor door when I talked to them about the difficulty with the smooth door handle. They certainly want no barriers for their clients. These experiences all help when it comes to being a representative of the people who use South West Healthcare.”

  • Meg Hussey-Hall

    Meg is a mother of three young children. She was born and raised in the local area on a dairy farm. She still milk cows on weekends sometimes for some exercise! Her professional life has extended for over 10 years in the community and family sector in a range of roles. She hopes to move into law eventually. Meg is passionate about ensuring vulnerable people, particularly women and children have a voice and our system protects those who need it most.

    Meg enjoys any form of quiet time she can get, when she can sit back and relax!

    “I joined CACC because I wanted better; better for our community, better for our mothers, our families and our healthcare staff. We’ve had three high risk pregnancies and numerous health experiences with respect to our children and I came to a place where I wanted to share my experiences for the betterment of our only public hospital and community. I believe that we can always aim to do things better if we work together and communicate effectively.”

  • Karen Jackson

    CCAC Member since 2016

    Karen has a professional background in  Real Estate and Hotel Management. Since moving out of the business world she has become an active and central part of her local community. She is an active member of the CWA and is the current President of the Koroit Agricultural Society and a committee member of the Koroit Truck Show.

    Karen has an active and on going volunteer role at South West Healthcare’s Palliative Community Care programme

    These community activities are held alongside her Life Membership of the Warrnambool Agricultural Show and Macarthur Pony Club.

    During her spare time Karen enjoys sewing, cooking and ten pin bowling.

    “I joined the CCAC as I believe I could make a difference, particularly with my volunteering in palliative care.”

  • Ben Witham

    CCAC Member since 2018


    With over twenty five years of his professional life in health education, promotion and management, Ben Witham has been member of the CCAC, since April 2018.

    In the last three years of Ben’s fifteen years at the Victorian Department of Health, he held the portfolio of monitoring of accreditation results of Victoria’s public hospitals against the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards which provide a nationally consistent statement of the level of care consumers can expect from health service organisations.

    “It has been an increasingly pleasing experience to see the CCAC evolve into a body with a particularly strong link to SWH’s Board of Management and formal links to important areas of our diverse community. I’m also very encouraged by SWH’s shifting to a philosophy and practice of consumer directed care – an approach to planning and management of care which enables consumers and carers more power to influence the design and delivery of the services they receive, where they want them and are able to exercise choice. They are in effect, as much as they choose to be, ‘in the director’s chair’ in their care.”

Page last updated: 19 February 2024

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