Meet the Board

judy-youngJudy Young – President

I have over 30 years experience in community based disability services, having been a key figure with the Gladstone and District Combined Handicapped Association, which became GCLA in 1983. I have four adult children, one of whom was born with Autism and an intellectual disability.

My passion and drive to see people who have a disability become integral, valued members of our community has also led to my appointment to a variety of local and state community based boards. In 2014, I was honored to be awarded Gladstone Citizen of the year.

I have held different roles within the GCLA Board and feel very privileged to serve as the President for the past 10 years. Apart from GCLA, I also serve as an active board member of Parent to Parent Qld and in the past, on the Disability Services Regional Council, Education Queensland Advisory Council, Gladstone District Respite Care Association, known as Mainstay Respite House, and Rosella Park School P&C.

Driven by a person-centered practice, I am excited to see GCLA move forward into the NDIS and continue to be a leader in the Disability and Aged Care sectors. As President, I am committed to ensure GCLA customers continue to receive Individual Personalised Support. It gives me great pleasure to be involved with GCLA, a BEYOND ordinary local, respected, community organisation.



Karen Leinster – Secretary

I have lived in Gladstone for 39 years and for the last 25 years have been involved in the disability sector. My interest in disability has been driven by a desire for social justice for all and also by having three nieces with varying disabilities.

For 16 years, I worked for Disability Services in the role of Resource Officer and Family Support Coordinator. I also helped establish Mainstay (a respite care facility), toy library, community access service, accommodation support service and a local branch of Women’s Health. I am continually impressed by the drive and determination shown by parents in their desire for a community life for their family members.

Currently I serve as a board member for a variety of local and state community agencies, whilst volunteering in a reading program for primary school students. I am currently the Secretary of GCLA and look forward to the challenges that NDIS will bring.




Kerry Whitaker – Treasurer

I have had extensive senior management and Director experience and have served on a number of boards and committees.

I was proud to have been invited to serve on the GCLA Management Committee in the role of Treasurer where I can contribute my experience in business, as well as Industrial and Employee Relations.

My background is in the community based not-for-profit sector and I believe passionately that everyone deserves a fair go. 

As a current Board Member and Treasurer with GCLA, I look forward to working with the organisation in continuing to be a leader in the disability and aged care sector, committing to delivering BEYOND ordinary services for the Gladstone region.






Kate Dufty – Vice President

I started as a customer in 2006 and since then have received continued BEYOND ordinary support. This lead to my involvement and willingness to join the Management Committee in 2011, in which I am an active member. 

Before commencing with GCLA, I studied a Library Degree at CQU and worked in the NSW Public Libraries.  In 2007, I commenced a BA in History and Literature Studies with Central Queensland University.

 I am an active committee member sitting on several boards and being a spokesperson for people who have a disability. I feel it is quite a privilege to be associated with GCLA as both a customer and Board Member and look forward to GCLA being a continued leader with the inception of NDIS.




rick-hansen Rick Hanson – Member

I moved to Gladstone with my wife Lyndal and first daughter Pia 38 years ago, relocating from Maryborough for work. My second daughter Annika was born in Gladstone. Together, we both have two granddaughters Georgia and Isabella. Pia is married to Jeff and Annika to Trent. We all still call Gladstone home.

I am extremely proud of the region with its blend of industry, opportunity and environmental commitment. I believes that we have it all in the Gladstone Region, from the beautiful beaches of Agnes Water/Seventeen Seventy and Tannum Sands to the scenic views of the valleys, mountains and the islands, coupled by the existence and potential of our great harbour. The region has enormous community pride and spirit.

I have been involved in the community extensively, worked in major industry for 19 years and owned and managed a small business for 19 years. I have represented the community in Council since being first elected in 2006. I fully understands the business of Council from Planning to Community and to Finance. I have held the Engineering Services and Corporate and Governance portfolios and i am a member of Council’s Business Improvement Committee as well as many other committees. I have extensive knowledge of Small Business being Vice President of the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was a previous President of the Port Curtis Day Respite (Aged Care) which is now part of the GCLA and a life member of Gladstone Basketball and have been involved in Rugby League. I am a member of the Gladstone Sunrise Rotary club.



 Josh Ariens – Member

I am the Research Partnerships Manager for the Division of Research within CQUniversity. My chief responsibility is developing the capability of the University’s Schools and Research Institutes/Centres to engage with SMEs and industry organisations in partnering for collaborative impact. Myself and my team support the strategic goals of the University by developing new business partnerships to provide research solutions and impact.

I bring a wealth of international experience in community development as well as targeted work as a teacher/training consultant in places as diverse as Japan, Papua New Guinea and Spain. Previously, as Program Manager for a federally-funded local program, Communities for Children, I was instrumental in brokering a range of government, corporate and NGO stakeholders to commit to improving development outcomes for local children, signing the Gladstone Region Child and Family Charter. More recently, my work within the University has fostered partnerships in both education and training as well as across a wide range of research projects, accessing both private and public funding streams.

I understand the value of strong relationships between organisations to foster and embrace collaborative change. I am committed to achieving collective impact, especially through open and equitable partnering processes. My experience comes from working with both senior management and at the grass-roots to promote and lead proportional, sustainable human development in business and the community through professional education, training and research.