Justice, Opportunity and Shared Wealth for all South Australians

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Treasurer's breakfast speakers

The speakers for SACOSS' 11th annual Breakfast with the Treasurer on Thursday 1 July 2021

Key speaker


Hon Rob Lucas MLC
Treasurer, Government of South Australia

Rob Lucas was elected to the Legislative Council in the South Australian in 1982 and has continually served the parliament since that time. He was appointed Treasurer in the Marshall Liberal Government in March 2018 and is also the leader of the Government in the Legislative Council. It’s a role he previously served between 1997 and 2002 for the last Liberal Government. Rob has accumulated a wealth of experience during his political career. He was the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council from 1993 to 2002, Minister for Education and Children’s Services from 1993 to 1997 and Minister for Industry and Trade. Rob has been a member of various committees including the Budget and Finance Committee and the Statutory Authorities Review Committee. Rob was born in Kure, Japan before moving to Mount Gambier. After completing high school, Rob moved to Adelaide and completed a Bachelor of Economics and Science, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.



Associate Professor Michael O’Neil
South Australian Centre for Economic

Michael O'Neil is currently the Executive Director of the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies of the Adelaide and Flinders Universities.   He was appointed Executive Director in 2000.  Michael holds an M.B.A., University of South Australia, an Economics Degree from the University of Adelaide and University of California, San Diego, Post Graduate Degree of Social Administration, Flinders University, and B.A. (majoring in History, Regional Economics and Politics) from the University of Adelaide. In the position of Executive Director, Michael is responsible for oversight of the Centre’s operations and performance within a University environment, including the bi-annual Corporate Economic Briefing Report, seminars on economic and social issues, the Centre’s Economic Issues Paper series and public policy Focus Papers and research commissioned by the Centre’s Independent Research Fund.


Helen Connolly
Commissioner for Children and Young People, SA

Helen Connolly became South Australia’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2017.  The position was established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016.  The Commissioner promotes and advocates for the rights, development and wellbeing of all children and young people in South Australia, with a special focus to engage with and listen to children who aren’t usually heard. Helen has 30 years’ experience as a leader in human services.  Throughout her career, Helen has taken an active advocacy role on the main policy issues that impact on the wellbeing of Australian families and children, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention strategies.


Professor Sarah Wendt
Director of the Social Work Innovation Research Living Space

Sarah Wendt is currently Professor of Social Work and Head of Discipline at Flinders University. She was awarded the title Matthew Flinders Fellow in recognition of her national and international standing for research into violence against women and their children. She is also founder and Director of the Social Work Innovation Research Living Space (SWIRLS) a research centre at Flinders University focused on partnering with industry to build the evidence base of practice in social work across diverse fields.