Education State
Principals Conference 2022

Panel 1: The Power of Education

Panel 1: The Power of Education

Martin Newman
Maryborough Education Centre

Martin Newman is a former student of Maryborough Education Centre.

Chris Varney
Founder and Chief Enabling Officer
, I CAN network

Chris is an Autistic law graduate and a pioneer of Autistic-led service provision in Australia.

Chris has a background in children’s rights and youth programs, having been 2009 Australian Youth Representative to the UN and World Vision Australia’s Manager of Youth.
Chris founded I CAN Network in 2013 and as Chief Enabling Officer has grown it into Australia’s largest Autistic-led organisation with 60 Autistic staff and 1,500+ students in the program nationally.

Chris was a 2018 Victorian Australian of the Year Finalist and recipient of the 2017 Supreme Court of Victoria’s Best Achievement in Human Rights Award. He also serves as National Patron of the Australian Association for Special Education and is on the Advisory Board of Learning Creates Australia. Chris married his wife Karen in 2019 and is a proud father to son, George.

Belinda Duarte
, Culture is Life

Belinda Duarte is a Wotjobaluk, Dja Dja Wurrung descendant with Polish and Celtic heritage.  She holds a range of appointed and voluntary positions including: Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria, Director of Western Bulldogs, Deputy Chair Responsible Gambling Victoria, MCG trustee, member of the Victorian Premier’s Jobs and Investment Panel and board member of the AnnaMilla Foundation.