Jacqueline McGowan-Jones appointed Commissioner for Children and Young People

Western Australia’s Attorney General John Quigley has announced the appointment of Jacqueline McGowan-Jones to the office of Commissioner for Children and Young People.

McGowan-Jones takes over from Mr Colin Pettit, who was appointed to the role in 2015.

The new commissioner is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Thirrili Ltd, an indigenous led and controlled organisation delivering critical supports and services to families and communities following a loss to suicide or other fatal traumatic incident.

She holds an Executive Masters of Public Administration from Curtin University. She will be the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed to the role.

“Ms McGowan-Jones brings a wealth of relevant experience to the office of Commissioner and I welcome her to the role.” Quigley said, announcing the appointment earlier this week.

“Prior to her current role with Thirrili Ltd, Ms McGowan-Jones held a number of senior positions including with the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Western Australian Departments of Education and Indigenous Affairs.

“Through her participation on a number of boards and committees Ms McGowan-Jones has also contributed to important bodies of work with a focus in the Aboriginal health and education sectors. She has previously contributed to the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People through membership of the Youth Justice Reference Group.

“I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of outgoing Commissioner Colin Pettit who has held the role since 2015 and leaves the office well positioned to address the challenges ahead.” Quigley said.

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk also praised the appointment.

“Ms McGowan-Jones’ experience at senior levels of the public and community sectors, and in particular her significant work in the area of youth mental health, make her an ideal person to take up the important work of advocating for all children and young people in Western Australia.

“On top of her considerable experience across relevant fields, I welcome Ms McGowan-Jones’ appointment as WA’s first Aboriginal woman Commissioner for Children and Young People.

The government said Colin Pettit had been a strong advocate for Western Australia’s children and young people and for their rights to be heard on issues that are important to them.

During his term, Mr Pettit has consulted thousands of children and young people on issues including mental health, youth justice, out-of-home care and education and he has used these views to recommend to the government where policies and services can be strengthened.

Pettit initiated WA’s Speaking Out Survey, a triennial survey to monitor the wellbeing of children and young people across the State.

The office of Commissioner is an independent statutory office which reports directly to the WA Parliament and is established under the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006 to advocate for all WA children and young people under the age of 18.

OIP Staff


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