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Recent Work

Toni began a new role as Executive Driector at Anti-Poverty Week in January 2019. She has led the development and implementation of a new strategic direction including writing the refreshed website and associated poverty materials. APW 2019 brought in many new partners and created strong support for the campaign to increase payments for people who are unemployed. She joined the Australian Network on Disability in July 2015 to lead Policy and Projects.  

Toni's researched and wrote a report on youth transistions programs: "Improving young people’s educational outcomes through school business community partnerships - The Smith Family’s Partnership Brokers", February 2014. Click here for a copy.

In 2013 and 14, Toni's clients included ACOSS, A Gesture, The Business Council of Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Job Find, Job Futures, The Smith Family and Social Ventures Australia.

Toni  is recognised as a leading expert in demand-led employment policies.  She was engaged by ACOSS, the Business Council of Australia and the ACTU to advise them on their Demand-led Roundtable held in December 2012. Click here for a short overview of demand-led approaches.


Toni also has expertise on jobless families and has undertaken extensive work for The Benevolent Society and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).The DEEWR Family Centred Employment Project (FCEP) project is a demonstration project being administered by DEEWR in three priority employment areas across Australia. Toni consulted in the Goodna, Queensland and Broadmeadows, Victorian sites.  The FCEP aims to increase the employment participation of people in jobless families through co-ordinated service delivery amongst local service providers.  Toni worked with the FCEP providers and key local employers, encouraging them to provide employment opportunities for local families. More information about the project can be found at: http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/JSA/Pages/InnovationFund.aspx


Toni's book, More Forces at Work, how 10 nonprofits tackled unemployment and more in their communities was launched on 29 October 2010 by the Minister for Employment Participation, the Hon Kate Ellis MP. Commissioned by Jobs Australia to research and write the book, it was launched at their national conference in Melbourne.  Copies of the book are available from Jobs Australia, tel 1800331915.


Since 2009, Toni has worked with Arrilla Indigenous Services and Consultants to assist them develop Indigenous employment strategies for their clients.


Toni wrote the submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Contribution of the Not-For-Profit Sector for the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Australia's peak welfare and community sector organisation.  She also wrote the ACOSS response to the Productivity Commission's Draft Report released in October 2009.  For a copy of the November submission, click here and for the major June submission, click here.


During 2009 Toni advised ACOSS on clean energy jobs for low skilled and disadvantaged Australians and to Job Futures on employer-led approaches to improve outcomes for disadvantaged Australians, including people with disabilities.


Keeping Skills During Hard Times – a discussion paper for DSF and Job Futures, 11 December 2008.  Please click here for a copy of the 2 page Key Findings and Recommendations. For a copy of the full report, click here.


Speaking engagements:


  • Presentation to Long Term Unemployment Conference, Gold Coast, 19 August, 2014.
  • Panel discussion: Equity and Diversity in Employment, ACOSS National Conference, Brisbane, 12 June 2014.
  • Presentation to Job Futures Conference, Gold Coast, 8 May, 2014.
  • Chair the day and speech to “Partnerships for Employment Outcomes” (Criterion Conference), Sydney, 26 February 2014.
  • Presentation to National Disability Services internaitonal conference, Gold Coast, 9 October 2013.
  • Presentation to the Investing in Youth national conference, Sydney,  19 September 2013.
  • Presentation to Australian Network on Disability National Conference, Sydney, 15 May 2013. RevTWANDPresentation.pptx
  • Presentation to Employment Services for the Future Conference, Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne, February 2013. TWFutureEmpServPresentation.pdf
  • Presentation to Jobs Australia national conference, Lessons for tackling family joblessness and engaging local employers, Sydney,1 November, 2012.
  • Employment and pathways out of poverty speech in Anti Poverty Week,  Brisbane, 19 October, 2012 . 
  • Presentation to Family Joblessness Seminar, Wyong NSW, 8 August, 2012.
  • Presentation at the Australian Institute of Family Studies national conference, 27 July 2012. Our clients are your clients - bringing services together to tackle family joblessness.
  • Guest presentation at inaugural meeting of Hume City Council Jobs and Skills Task Force, 23 May 2012.
  • Presentation at Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and Australian Social Policy Association seminar "Connecting research, policy and practice to achieve social inclusion for the most disadvantaged," Canberra, 22 March 2012 .  Click here for a copy of the slides.
  • Presentation to National Employment Services Association (NESA) National Conference, Brisbane 8 August 2011.  Click here for a copy of the slides.
  •  Presentation to workshop "Employment services and the Government's participation agenda," ACOSS 2011 National Conference, Melbourne 29 March 2011. Click here for a copy of the full paper.
  • Speech on More Forces at Work, Jobs Australia National Conference, 29 October 2010.
  • Presentation "Demand-led strategies: lessons for Australia from the UK and US", to DEEWR senior staff, 26 October 2010.
  • Presentation "Engaging Employers: strategies that deliver jobs,” Job Futures National Conference, 22 April 2010
  • Discussion of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector, ACOSS Future of the Sector Day, 12 November 2009.
  • Speech to Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Senior Executive Service, 16 June 2009.
  • Panel Discussion with Tom Bentley, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at launch of Australian Social Innovation eXchange Workforce Participation Pilot, 10 June 2009.
  • Presentation on Demand-led employment and training approaches at Job Futures National Conference, 14 May 2009.
  • Seminars on Keeping Skills During Hard Times for Whyalla Economic Development Board and Northern Regional Development Board, South Australia, 25 March 2009.
  • The Global Financial Crisis – challenges and opportunities for Non-Profit Managers, Presentation to Third Sector/Not-for-Profit Managers, The Centre for Social Impact, Sydney, 19 March 2009.


"I commend More Forces at Work as an excellent review of the community sector, as well as an inspiring study of individual organisations that have developed over time and their capacity to bring about change within their communities. As not-for-profit organisations you provide important links into the community through your governance, credibility and broader contribution. Importantly, this book provides a snapshot of this sector and it’s a sector that deserves to get recognition for the excellent contributions that you are making. I would like to congratulate David, the team at Jobs Australia, the organisations that have shared their stories, and to Toni Wren as the report’s author, on what I believe is a truly impressive achievement and a must read."


The Hon Kate Ellis MP,Minister for Employment Participation, 29 October 2010


  • Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia;


  • Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.




Toni is a member of the National Facilitating Group for Anti- Poverty Week.

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