The Veterans’ Reference Group is an advisory group that supports the Queensland Veterans’ Council through consulting with the veterans’ community to inform advice to the Queensland Government on veterans’ matters.
Members of the Veterans’ Reference Group have knowledge of and/or experience in matters that affect veterans families and the wellbeing of the veterans' community. These can include:
- veterans' welfare
- veterans’ health
- military service
- transition from military service
- veterans’ employment
- veterans’ aged-care
- matters that affect veterans’ partners, widows and dependents;
- matters that affect the wellbeing of the veterans’ community.
The two Queensland Veterans’ Council members representing veterans’ organisations are also appointed as the co-chairpersons of the Veterans’ Reference Group are:
Robert Skoda commenced his career as a Ground Defence Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and has deployed to Afghanistan, the Middle East and Timor Leste. Robert has extensive domestic and international experience in the private sector, with a focus on risk for remote construction projects and operations management of professional services.
Since 2016 Robert has demonstrated commitment to the military family through growing and enhancing RSL QLD services. Robert is currently the CEO of RSL Queensland and a Director of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.
Nicole is the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Queensland Legacy and a member of the Townsville Hospital and Health Board. Over the last six years, Nicole has worked closely with veterans, Australian Defence Force members and community volunteers to provide care to hundreds of veterans’ families living across northern Queensland.
Nicole has extensive experience in governance, management and stakeholder engagement, having worked in several sectors including education, health, not-for-profit and consultancy.
Nicole’s previous positions include roles in the Department of Education including eight years as the Teacher in Charge of the Townsville Hospital School, A/Principal and Deputy Principal appointments and Senior Project Officer for a major youth suicide prevention pilot project for Queensland Health and the Department of Education. Nicole managed Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Education Program in Northern Queensland and led the Federal Government-funded Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program for James Cook University. Nicole was also the Marketing and Business Development leader for AECOM across Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Nicole holds a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Education and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The eight appointed members of the Veterans’ Reference Group are:
Kate joined the Australian Army straight out of high school in 1998 and obtained her Electrical Engineering Degree from the Australian Defence Force Academy. Following the completion of her officer training at the Royal Military College in Duntroon, she joined the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps where the majority of her eight years in the military were in maintenance and logistics roles.
Kate has a strong background in management, engineering, and project roles across corporate, and in consulting and government sectors. She is currently a trustee on the Board of Trustees for the Anzac Day Trust and is the Reliability Engineering Manager for Aurizon.
Anita joined the Australian Regular Army in July 1988 and served in the Australian Army Psychology Corps as a Psychological Examiner and a General Service Officer in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.
She was employed in the Australian Public Service in the Department of Defence following her transfer to the Australian Army Reserve. In August 2017, she was medically separated from the Australian Public Service and the Australian Army.
Following a successfully working career, Anita has been heavily involved in the veteran community in Townsville as a volunteer.
She was a founding Director, Company Secretary, and Wellbeing Officer of The Oasis Townsville Limited and a Director and Company Secretary of Defence Holidays North Queensland. Anita was appointed to the Capability Framework Management Group for the Advocacy Training Development Program. She was also appointed as a member of the Queensland Government’s North and North West Queensland Regional Community Forum. She is currently a member of the Management Committee of the Townsville Community Information Centre.
Anita is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Institute of Community Directors. She lives in Townsville with her partner who is a veteran of 34 years in the Army. She has a son who is an apprentice diesel fitter.
Brendan Cox served in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps as a soldier and officer in a variety of regimental appointments including being Commanding Officer of 51 FNQR.
Brendan’s operational experience includes tours of Bosnia, East Timor and Afghanistan.
Brendan has received the US Army Commendation Medal, Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation, Australian Land Commander’s Commendation, the US Meritorious Unit Citation and the Commendation for Distinguished Service.
Brendan is a graduate of the United Kingdom’s Joint Services Command and Staff College. Brendan holds a Master of Business (UNSW) and a Master of Arts in Defence Studies (Kings College, United Kingdom). Brendan is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Course and has completed a Harvard Business School scholarship studying strategic perspectives in not-for-profit planning.
In 2022 Brendan was awarded the prestigious Paul Tys Churchill Fellowship to investigate better models of care to support families with a veteran suffering mental health trauma.
Brendan was the General Manager of a Financial Advisory business from 2014-2016 and was awarded the inaugural Practice of the Year from the Association of Financial Advisors.
In May 2016, Brendan was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Brisbane. Brendan is passionate about establishing collaborative models of care to meet the needs of veterans and their families.
Dr Andrew Cronin
Dr Andrew Cronin
Dr Cronin is a Medical Officer with the Australian Veteran Health Services. Dr Cronin served in the Australian Defence Force for over 15 years, first as an Engineering Officer in the RAAF, and then transferring to be a Medical Officer in the Army.
In that time, Dr Cronin served with several squadrons and health facilities around Australia. The highlights of his service include an engineering exchange to NASA in the United States of America and a Battlefield Tour to the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Dr Cronin grew up in a RAAF family and moved every few years, eventually completing high school in Melbourne. He attended the Australian Defence Force Academy straight from school, graduating with an Honours Degree in Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Project Management. Dr Cronin was an avid sportsperson during this time, enjoying success at cricket and Australian Rules Football.
Dr Cronin is a current board Director of General Practice Training – Queensland and member of the Australian Medical Association (Queensland) Council. Dr Cronin is also a member of the Australian Military Medical Association, the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has previously worked for Queensland Health and the Royal Flying Doctor Service as Senior Medical Officer and Medical Superintendent.
Dr Cronin brings his expertise in veteran health, military medicine, and business acumen into the Queensland Veterans’ Reference Group. Dr Cronin is looking forward to helping provide better outcomes for Queensland’s veterans and their families.
Kate is the Director of Urban and Energy within SMEC, a global professional services engineering and design firm. In this role she leads a diverse, talented team of over 300 specialists across the country.
With more than 25 years’ experience in the property, construction and infrastructure sectors, Kate has held several senior leadership roles and is currently a Director on the Board of SMEC Australia as well as Consult Australia, the peak industry body for design, engineering and advisory firms in Australia.
Kate commenced her career in the Australian Regular Army and is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College Duntroon. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Commerce both from the University of New South Wales. Kate served in the Royal Australian Engineers and completed postings to 21 Construction Squadron, the School of Military Engineering and Defence Estate and Infrastructure Group. She is the President of the Queensland Military Historical Society which is an association dedicated to preserving Queensland’s military heritage.
Kate is a well-respected voice in the industry and is sought after for her leadership insights and strategic and commercial acumen and industry knowledge. She has considerable experience delivering complex facilities and infrastructure for public and private sector clients. She has been the Project Director for over $2 billion in private, Commonwealth and State Government projects in the property, energy, Defence, aviation and justice sectors.
Kate is a member of the Queensland Veterans’ Council Advisory Committee for the Anzac Day Trust Fund.
Jenny Gregory OAM
Jenny Gregory OAM
Jenny is the widow of a veteran who served in the Australian Army in Malaya, Vietnam and Singapore. She grew up in Adelaide where she attended school and later trained at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to become a Registered Nurse.
After a number of years working in the aged care sector, Jenny gained tertiary qualifications and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing Science from the University of Canberra and a Graduate Diploma in Health Services Management from Charles Sturt University. Jenny understands many of the issues that face war widows and veterans as they prepare for residential care when it is needed and the sometimes, complicated process of obtaining Home Care.
Jenny Gregory is currently the National President of Australian War Widows. She joined Australian War Widows Queensland shortly after her husband’s death in 2013 and became State President from 2016–2022.
Jenny’s passion in aged care was working with people with dementia and she became the inaugural President of Alzheimer’s Australia ACT (now known as Dementia Australia). At the tail end of her nursing career, she was a nurse educator in the field of Dementia Care. Jenny brings with her expertise in understanding the issues that affect older persons navigating the aged care space while still supporting and advocating for younger contemporary defence and war widows.
Jenny is passionate about her role on the Veterans’ Reference Group to advocate for and support the veteran community.
Jenny was awarded an OAM in the King’s Birthday Honours List in 2023 for service to veterans and their families.
Bill Marklew OAM
Bill Marklew OAM
Bill is now retired after a working career that spanned employment in the private sector, the military and the public sector. His last position was as the Queensland State Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, a position he held for 20 years.
He has significant experience in working and liaising with Senators and Members of Parliament at both the Federal and State levels, participating in committees’ and groups involved with the development of various Bills and pieces of legislation.
Bill was born in Adelaide and joined the Australian Army at 18 years of age, he was allocated to the Infantry Corp where he served in four Regular Battalions and one Reserve Battalion as well as a short period with Army Recruiting.
Some of the previous positions held by Bill include:
- Member of the Queensland Heritage Council
- Vice President of the Queensland Council of Unions
- Board of Endeavour Foundation (Townsville and Districts)
- President ACTUQ (Townsville & Districts) 1994 – 2001
Bill is a member of a number of professional bodies including the Australian Institute of Management, Queensland Justices Association, and the Institute of Community Directors Australia.
Currently he is Secretary of Paws for Hope and Understanding Inc, an ex-service organisation whose aim and objectives are to provide a specifically task trained service dog for veterans diagnosed with a PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury.
Bill was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2020 for services to the Trade Union Movement and to other community groups.
Bill is a member of the Queensland Veterans’ Council Advisory Committee for the Anzac Day Trust Fund.
Edwin Mi Mi
Edwin Mi Mi
Warrant Office Class Two Edwin James Mi Mi is a proud Wakka Wakka man, born and raised in Gayndah, Queensland. After completing Year 12, Warrant Officer Mi Mi enlisted in the Australian Regular Army (ARA) on 03 September 1985. After completing recruit training Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW, he was allocated Infantry Corp, based at Singleton, NSW and after completing Initial Employment Training (IET) was posted to the The First Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR).
Throughout his 24-year service within the ARA, he held a number of regiment and non-regimental posting and has progress through the ranks from Private to Warrant Officer Class Two within Infantry Corp, including postings in:
- The First Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR),
- Depot Company, School of Infantry,
- The Second Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR),
- Battle Wing, Canungra,
- The Twenty Fifth/Forty Ninth Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment (25/49 RQR)
- Land Warfare Centre - South Queensland,
- Platoon Team, Tactics Wing, School of Infantry, and
- Warrant officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (WO&NCO Academy).
His deployments also include,
- Op Solace, Somalia, 1993 with 1 RAR,
- East Timor, 1999 with 2 RAR,
- East Timor, 2003 with the Defence Cooperation Program- East Timor (DCP-EM),
- Iraq, 2004 with the Australian Army Training Team - Iraq (AATTI 2)
He enjoyed his sport within the Army, playing Rugby Union, Touch Football and Cricket for his units that he was posted to.
Warrant Officer Mi Mi is proud of his time in the Army and his achievements and being Aboriginal has shown that we are following in our Ancestors footsteps to continue a great tradition of Indigenous Service Personnel. For our future Indigenous leaders always remember "Who you are and where you came from" - "DUTY FIRST".
- Last updated:
- 6 July, 2023
- Last reviewed:
- 30 June, 2023