Val French AM, MLitStd, BA
Val is a member of the Order of Australia has a Centenary Medal and Commonwealth Senior Achiever Medal.
She is a journalist by profession and inclination. She worked in print, radio and television and in this respect is still active.
Val taught at the University of Queensland and was Senior Lecturer in Journalism at QIT (now QUT).
Her voluntary career whilst working included teaching women debating and debating for girls in the schools, women’s issues, mental health and carers issues.
She established the first school for prisoners in the old Boggo Road prison and an innovative self-help program for prisoners. She sought for equal rights for women journalists and was a director and co-founder of women’s radio as well as an instructor.
She represented Queensland on the Australian National Association of Mental Health, where she developed the one in five mental health week campaign. She was vice-president of the Queensland Mental Health Association and the Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill.
After a time she was co-founder and foundation President of the Queensland Council of Carers (Carers Qld) and one of the founders of the first national carers association.
She established Older People Speak Out at the media’s request at a forum between older people’s organisations and the media in 1993 and has been President ever since.
She traveled with OPSO around the state seeking the issues and needs of older people. With OPSO she takes these to government or helps find local solutions.
She initiated the Queensland and National Media Awards to help address negative ageing and its consequences of depression, loneliness, elder abuse, suicide and mature-age unemployment. To this she added training courses on working with the media for volunteer organisations.
The concept was accepted by the State and Commonwealth governments and OPSO has conducted these since 1993.
She was Queensland Chairperson of: the Commonwealth Consumer Forum for the Aged; The Older Australians Advisory Council; and The Nursing Homes Appeals Committee.
She was a member of the Retirement Village Accreditation Committee and a surveyor for nine years, and the Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Council of Older Persons on which she served under various Ministers for five years.
She has been and is a member of numerous government and non-government advisory committees, including for the last 10 years, the Ministerial Road Safety Advisory Committee and for the last three years, the Police Seniors Task Force and committees on housing, intergenerational projects, aged care, elder abuse, grandparenting and social isolation.
She also represents OPSO on the seniors’ Round Table, is on the Board of Volunteering Queensland and is the Patron of Brisbane Seniors online.
Val attended the 2020 Summit and was appointed to the Harmer Pension Review.
George Kambouris “Living on Wheels”
George has never let being in a chair stop him from having a good time in life, or from getting out amongst the world. George’s ultimate passion is to help others to enjoy the same freedoms in life that he does. George has programs to help others learn how to handle their wheelchair from small children to adults. For more information link to his website here