The MEDA program is managed by a community based committee that is elected annually. It is responsible for overall strategic direction, policy development, financial management and oversight of the paid staff members.

Melbourne East Disability Advocacy Management Committee (“The Committee”)

Edward Elder (President)
Edward is a secondary school teacher. He has been teaching for the last seven years in the Catholic and Independent school systems. Prior to working in Education, he worked in Human Resources with one of Australia’s larger retailers. He is passionate about spending time with his family, traveling with his partner, and playing hockey.

Mary Appleby (Vice President)
I joined the Committee of Management in May 2013. I hold a Masters in Human Resource Management and am a Certified Professional Member of the Australian Human Resource Institute. I am a respected Senior Executive with extensive experience in leadership and expertise in all facets of organisational and workforce development. Skilled in collaborating will all members of the organisation to improve required knowledge, skills and practices to achieve business objectives. With over 20 year’s strategic and operational management expertise in education and hospitality, I am currently Head of Communications and Engagement Governance at the Department of Transport. Also, as the Principal Consultant for my own HR consultancy and specialising in managing and developing teams, linking strategy to operational targets and business improvement. My commitment is to advocating for people with a disability so that they are equally valued and are given opportunities to contribute to the community.

Eddie Clark
I am a member of MEDA’s Committee of Management as well as MEDA’s Consumer Advisory Group.  I am very committed to both roles and want to stand up for people with disability.  I am a big gamer and would like to start up a gaming group.  I am part of MEDA’s Consumer Advisory Group because I represent the Advisory Group members at MEDA’s Committee of Management.

Debbie Orr
My name is Debbie. I have spent over 20 years working in call centres in different sectors assisting people with all types of enquiries.  I have passion for social justice and have completed a Diploma of Community Welfare Work and an Advanced Diploma of Justice.  As someone with a disability, I want everyone with disability to be treated respect fully, not judged and to be given a fair go.


My name is Natalie. I am a committee member, student in legal services, have a career background in administration and have studied business and economics at TAFE and University.

I have a strong interest in supporting the rights of people and advocating for those with disabilities, I am against discrimination in society and feel that everyone should have a chance to achieve their goals. I have firsthand experiences in living with disabilities.

My personal interests are spending time with my husband, family and friends and travelling.

Lachlan Evans
Lachlan joined The Committee in 2022 and has years of experience in the non-profit sector with roles such as Chief Executive Officer, Board Member, Human Resources Consultant and Treasurer. Outside of MEDA, Lachlan is a Management Consultant with a focus on Federal Government projects specialising in new ways of working. His focus is to ensure the information (including the financials) are simple to understand and empower decision making. He also enjoys basketball, traveling and spending time with his family and friends.

Akanksha Bhatia
Akanksha is passionate about the mental health and disability sector and has worked and volunteered in this space in various roles over the past 5 years. She is excited to support the work of MEDA and its tireless commitment towards advocating for people with a disability. She has moved down from Sydney this past year and in her spare time loves exploring this new city with her husband.

Become a Committee of Management Member

The primary role of the committee is to ensure MEDA operates effectively and remains accountable. The committee is elected from the membership annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), nominations are open to anyone who has an interest in advocacy and making a difference. Meetings are held monthly and the composition of the committee includes people with a variety of skills and experience from a diverse range of backgrounds with a shared commitment to assist MEDA in fulfilling its legal and ethical obligations, these include:

  • Consumers
  • Citizen Advocates
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Legal

Opportunities are available for anyone who has a passion and commitment to join an active, progressive and effective committee and contribute to the governance and future strategic directions of MEDA.

Click to view the MEDA 2023 Annual Report.

Click to read about our Consumer Advisory Group.