NSW Councillor Profiles

  2017/18 ICPA - NSW Council

NSW State Council 2017

Back Row (Left to Right) -- David Butler, Bruce Paynter, Kate Treweeke, Irene Lund, Helen Ponder, Claire Butler  Front Row (Left to Right) -- Tanya Mitchell, Rachel Brindley, Nerida Healy (and baby Zoe), Jennie Shrimpton, Skye Bragg. ABSENT -- Kate Herring


Kate TreweekePRESIDENT
Kate Treweeke

Branch: Lightning Ridge/Goodooga

Portfolio: Tertiary Education

Background: Kate lives on a family farming enterprise with her husband, Michael and his parents, Joan and Rory Treweeke. Their property is situated north of Lightning Ridge and 20 kilometres south of the Queensland border. Kate and Michael have two children: James, 19 and Zoe, nearly 16, who were educated in a small rural school just over the border and finished/finishing their secondary schooling in Victoria. James had a gap year at home and commences an Agricultural/Law degree at Armidale University in 2016.

Kate became involved with ICPA because of the historical family involvement in ICPA that was always present in conversations all year round. One day she became Secretary then President of the local branch, Lightning Ridge/Goodooga and it was in 2011 that she joined State Council. She is not sure why she was asked but now that she has been on Council Kate knows how the process works in recruiting councillors and feels privileged that Council thought of her.

Somewhere along the line Kate started as the Publicity Officer and Top Wire Editor for three years as well as stepping up to Vice-President (all without actually a holding portfolio). She found herself, at the beginning of 2015, President of ICPA-NSW. Kate feels she has learnt much over the years from the meetings attended, the people she meets and the Councillors she gets to mix with while she is on State Council and feels it is very rewarding when ICPA has successes and can see some way ahead.


Claire Butler

Branch: BalranaldClaire Butler

Portfolio: Communications

Background: Claire lives half way between Balranald and Ivanhoe with her husband, Shane, on their merino sheep property, ‘The Vale’. They have three children – Beau (Yr 8), who is boarding at Assumption College Kilmore, Liam (Yr 5) and Larah (Yr 3) currently at Clare Public School. Born in New Zealand, Claire spent her early schooling in a small rural school and also some time in distance education, until moving to Australia at the age of 10 years. Her family lived on a cotton property near Moree and Claire completed secondary school in Southport Qld, boarding with a Gold Coast family.

After working at Balranald Shire Council, Claire was the registrar at Balranald Local Court for eight years. When the farm/work/travel/school routine became too much, she & Shane decided to concentrate on educating the children and driving them the 50kms to Clare Public School each day, a decision that they have not regretted.

Claire has been a member of the Balranald Branch for 11 years and currently the Branch President. She likes the challenge of ‘finding another way’, so is really excited to have become part of such a great team of like-minded people on ICPA-NSW State Council . Claire loves the idea of breaking down the barriers between the bush and the city as believes both demographics have so much to offer our children. She is looking forward to learning the ropes from her fellow State Councillors in her role as Publicity Officer. Much to learn, much to gain is Claire’s thinking!


Helen Ponder

 Helen Ponder

Branch: Louth

Portfolio: Distance Education / Rural Schools

Background: Helen along with her husband, Waldo, live on 'Avondale', located 200kms west of Bourke and 100kms north west of Louth in western NSW. They run a sheep/ wool enterprise. Their three daughters completed their primary education via distance education through the Bourke Walgett DE Centre and later on, the Dubbo School of Distance Education. For the main part Helen was the home tutor, helped along the way by a terrific governess who worked for she and Waldo while the three girls were all in the school room at the same time (about 2 ½ years). They remain great friends. Helen also had the benefit of a wonderful VISE tutor who, with her husband, visited the family for about a month each year for three years. Helen’s appreciation of the VISE network is second to none!

Helen herself grew up in western NSW and completed her education via correspondence, as it was referred to ‘back then’. The method of delivery was leaflets in the mail and cassette tapes with about a six week turnaround of the lessons from Sydney. Things have changed! Similar to herself, her girls went onto boarding school for their secondary education. Kate completed her HSC in 2014 and in 2015 took a gap year working on a cattle station in Western Australia before starting at Armidale uni studying a Bachelor of Education.

2015 sees Anna and Jennifer in Years 9 and 7 respectively and coping with life in a boarding environment well. At least that is to say they have not beaten their parents home yet! After 13 years in the school room Helen is now enjoying helping on their property. She is looking forward to time on ICPA-NSW State Council and hoping she might have some valuable input for such a dedicated body supporting the education of rural and remote students.


Bruce Paynter

Bruce PaynterBranch: NSW Lone Members

Background: Bruce Paynter has been involved in education his entire working career. Firstly as a TAFE Cabinetmaking teacher then as a secondary school Agriculture, Woodwork and Metalwork teacher. Teaching many boys who were boarders from regional areas, Bruce became aware of the challenges faced by these students. It was throughout his teaching career that Bruce became aware of the work of ICPA and has enjoyed attending various State Conferences.

After retiring from face to face teaching in 2006, Bruce has remained committed to rural and remote NSW through regularly attending Boarding School Expos and Rural Field Days. In more recent years, Bruce has developed an interest in breeding and showing Devon cattle at Sydney, Brisbane and local shows. He also works part time at a local Norco produce store. Bruce is married to Marianne a horticulturalist who has also been an Exam Supervisor for the Board of Studies.  Together they have two sons, one a plumber and the other a builder who also reside in Gloucester, NSW.

During his time as State Secretary of ICPA-NSW, Bruce looks forward to serving ICPA members and helping rural and remote families understand their child’s full educational opportunities.



Jennie Shrimpton

Branch: Broken Hill

Background: ‘So why are you involved in ICPA if you have no children?’ asked a fellow State Council member as she and Jennie chatted to get to know each other. What a great question Jennie thought and one (strangely enough), she had never been asked. However, Jennie is sure you’d like to know the answer!

Jennie first came into contact with ICPA in the Northern Territory where she and her husband David became Lone Members. It was this exposure and subsequent attendance at a number of State and Federal Conferences that got Jennie hooked on the value and importance of ICPA. The principles behind ICPA have jelled perfectly with Jennie’s background in teaching and working with youth and children as well as David’s role as a ‘Flying Padre’.

So, even though they don’t have children, Jennie and David do have five chickens, Donald Duck, Charlie Drake and Archimedes, their NT carpet python. According to Jennie, it is a pleasure to be able to serve on NSW State Council as Assistant Secretary and State Webmaster.


TREASURERRachel Brindley
Rachel Brindley

Branch: Balranald







Skye Bragg

Branch: Bourke




Nerida Healy

Branch: Wentworth

Portfolio: Early Childhood

Background: Nerida grew up and attended school in the small Victorian town of Robinvale, most notably known for its multiculturalism.  With her husband Laurie and their four young children, she now lives on a mixed enterprise farm on the banks of the Lower Darling River.  When not busy with sheep and cattle, tractors are ploughing dirt for cereal crops or spraying table grapes.  The children have just started their journey with Broken Hill School of the Air, and baby Zoe attended her first ICPA conference in Bourke this year. 

Nerida is currently President of the re-formed ICPA Wentworth Branch which came out of recess in 2016.  There are many young families in the area who knew the importance of ICPA in helping parents educate their children in rural and remote areas. The branch has now attended two conferences and is looking to further establish their presence in the Wentworth area. 

After the closure of the small Pooncarie School, Nerida has also helped in establishing the Pooncarie Outreach Children’s Service (POCS), of which she is president.  POCS provides a fortnightly outreach program offering a classroom experience and extra-curricular activities for the isolated children of the Pooncarie district.   Nerida considers access to quality early childhood education vitally important for all children in Australia, and is keen to explore creative ideas to achieve this for rural and remote children.  



David Butler

Branch: Nyngan

Portfolio: Travel

Background: David and his wife Michelle, are from a grazing property in the Nyngan district where David is currently President of the Nyngan Branch. Their families have been involved with ICPA for as long as they can remember. They have three adult children – Jacqui, Rachel and Mitchell. The children were educated at a small isolated school, Marra Creek and then, for Rachel and Mitchell, in Nyngan for the last couple of years so Michelle could pursue work opportunities. This meant travelling 160 kms each day for the children to get to and from school.

Boarding school in Sydney was the place for secondary education. Jacqui has completed a Bachelor of Policing at the University of Western Sydney, Rachel has just finished a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Sydney University and Mitchell has finished his first year of a Bachelor of Agribusiness at UNE Armidale. These experiences mean David is very familiar with what it takes to educate a child and the difficulties you can encounter along the way. As a State Councillor, David believes he will enjoy working with fellow councillors in their endeavours to try and close the gap between the costs of educating children in rural areas compared to their city counterparts.



Tanya Mitchell

Branch: Bourke

Portfolio: Allowances

Background: Tanya and her husband Scott manage a property 40km north-east of Bourke on the Darling River. They have four children, 3 of which are currently at boarding school and one still at home who attends one of the local schools.  Both Tanya and her husband were educated via distance education until going off to boarding school for their secondary education.  After school Tanya travelled overseas, attended UNE Orange and lived in Sydney before eventually returning to Bourke. Tanya works as the Administrator for 2WEB Outback Radio and jointly owns ‘Carole’s of Bourke’, a shop in the main street of Bourke with three other local ladies.

Scott’s father was one of the founding members of ICPA and both the Stephenson and Mitchell families have been involved in various ways ever since. Tanya is currently the Bourke Branch President and looks forward to giving back to ICPA as without it she would not have had the education she received, nor would her children have the opportunities they experience now.

Despite the difficulties of distance and costs of educating children in the bush, Tanya believes it is still a great place to raise a family.


Katelynn Herring

Branch: Broken Hill

Portfolio: Special Education


Irene Lund

Branch: NSW Lones

Background: Irene has been involved in education most of her  life. Both parents were primary school teachers and her early life was spent in one teacher schools in rural NSW before she later moved to Sydney.  Irene trained as a Maths teacher and after marrying Andrew, they moved to Canberra and now have three children and four grandchildren.

When their youngest child was 6, Irene returned to teaching and spent 20 years teaching Maths in mostly Year 11/12 colleges as well as some time in the central office.  Andrew and Irene retired in 2007 and 2008 and became volunteers with Outback Links, the volunteer arm of Frontier Services.  Together they have completed a number of placements, mostly in Queensland but also in WA, doing such things as property sitting, schoolroom help, general domestic duties and general property duties.

It was on one of their early placements that Irene discovered a pile of ‘Pedals’ magazines and was introduced to ICPA.  On subsequent placements with different families Irene heard about involvement in ICPA and in 2012 was challenged to join.  Since then, Irene has attended the State Conference in Cooma as an observer and in 2015 attended the Federal Conference in Brisbane as a Lone Members’ NSW delegate. Irene is committed to equity in education for rural and remote children.