26TEN Coalition

John Smith

Siobhan Gaskell

Convenor, 26TEN Coalition

In her role as Director of the State Library of Tasmania (1997 to 2012), Siobhan saw first-hand the extent of the literacy needs across Tasmania.  A number of local family literacy programs were established as an initial response and Siobhan pursued a longer-term approach including, establishing the LINC Tasmania Adult Literacy Coordinator Network in 2010 and securing ongoing funding for the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan. 

With more than 15 years’ experience in executive management in State Government, Siobhan has been successful in leading significant change and has a keen understanding of social and community issues across Tasmania. In 2019, Siobhan’s leadership in lifting adult literacy and numeracy - both in her role as Director of the State Library of Tasmania, and since her retirement in 2012 - was recognised when she was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women.
To be successful, 26TEN requires significant cultural change to occur within Tasmania. Siobhan also believes that this will only come though all Tasmanians working together.

What Siobhan says about being part of the 26TEN Coalition

As part of the 26TEN Coalition since the beginning, I can reflect on how far we have come in addressing the problem of adult literacy and numeracy in Tasmania. We have raised awareness of the problem and seen many, many individuals, organisations and communities take action. Importantly, 26TEN has come a long way in establishing how to raise literacy and numeracy at the local level - what works and what doesn’t. And, the Coalition has been pivotal in providing the guidance and strategy behind this. As a group, not only do we bring people together, we also drive strategy for the future. 

There is still so much to do. Now working together to build reading, writing and maths skills is more important than ever.

John Smith

Daryl Quilliam

Chair, 26TEN Coalition

​I have been a councillor at Circular Head for 29 years. In the year 2000 I was elected Deputy Mayor a position I held before being elected as Mayor in 2007, a position I still hold.

I am passionate about education and literacy both for young and adults as I am aware many business people struggle to find people with this skill to employ. Circular Head, through many successful partnerships with Council, Rural health, CHAC and 26TEN, has done some great work which should be duplicated in other areas of our State. This work began after an audit was done in our district which revealed a shortage in these skills. 

The audit led to a novel project, "Hatching of the Reading bug", aimed at supporting family literacy.  Parents, especially fathers, were encouraged to read books to their children, something that has unfortunately been let slip over recent times.

Part of my role on the 26TEN Coalition has been to speak regularly with colleagues in the Local Government Association of Tasmania about the importance of councils, other government agencies, community groups, businesses and individuals collaborate to support Tasmanians to get the skills they need for everyday life. It was particularly rewarding to speak at the LGAT Conference in 2019, and congratualte the councils  already involved with 26TEN. 

I look forward to encouraging this good work to continue and motivating others so they too can reap the benefits to their communities when they lift adult literacy and numeracy. 

About being on the 26TEN Coalition

It’s inspiring to be part of the Coalition where my colleagues are dedicated, thought-provoking and smart. With their broad range of experience and skills they contribute to adult literacy and numeracy at both a strategic level in meetings, and at a practical level when out and about in their sectors. We are all working to make a difference for our fellow Tasmanians. If you like the sound of being involved in vital work that is also practical, and you work in a sector where you have influence, I encourage you to apply. 

John Smith

About the

26TEN Coalition

​The 26TEN Coalition is a group of influential Tasmanians motivating business, communities and government to work together to lift adult literacy and numeracy in Tasmania.

We are currently seeking applications from people with the time, passion and influence to join the effort to build reading, writing and maths skills in our state. 

The Coalition supports 26TEN Tasmania’s vision for a State where all Tasmanians have the literacy and numeracy skills they need for work and life. They understand the adult literacy and numeracy challenge and want everyone to know what we have to gain by addressing this challenge.

Coalition members each represent a specific industry, community or education sector where they identify priorities and are responsible for implementing an action plan to encourage organisations to join the 26TEN Network.

The Coalition is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Libraries Tasmania.

John Smith

Liz Jack

Coalition member

Liz is currently the Executive Director, Libraries Tasmania, where she has responsibility for a statewide network of library services, community learning, adult literacy and the state’s archive and heritage services.

She has over 20 years' experience working within the Tasmanian Government in leadership roles across a range of sectors, including property development, small business, community development, the arts and culture, and sport and recreation.

Liz is a Director of the Diving Australia and Relationships Australia – Tasmania boards; a member of the Tasmanian Library Advisory Board, the State Library and Archive Trust, the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts Management Committee and the Australian Media Literacy Alliance. 

She is also Co-chair of GLAM Peak, the umbrella body representing Australia’s galleries, libraries, archives, historical societies and museums.

Liz graduated with an Honours degree in Modern Languages from McGill University in Montreal, and has a keen interest in language and literacy.

What Liz says about being on the 26TEN Coalition

“I am regularly impressed by the passion of the individual members of the 26TEN Coalition, all of whom bring to our discussions different perspectives of the same statewide problem. I consider myself fortunate to be part of such a diverse group of people, who are keen to share their experience and ideas to help break down the stigma of low literacy, while building the skills of all Tasmanians who need help with reading, writing or maths.”  

John Smith

Tim Tierney

Coalition Member

​Tim Tierney represents the legal  sector on the 26TEN Coalition

Tim has over three decades in  private legal practice  and over two decades service on the Law Society of Tasmania’s Property and Commercial Committee.  He has represented the Law Society on various committees and liaison groups with government and non-government bodies, including the Australian Property Law Group of the Law Council, Australia’s peak legal industry body and the redrafting of the standard form of real estate contract used throughout Tasmania. Tim was awarded the 2011 Presidents Award by the Law Society for service to the profession.

He is the principal of the law firms. Tierney Law, a  general legal practice with office in Hobart, Huonville, Sorrel and Dover, and Strand Conveyancing which focuses on  property transfer legal work. He has a law degree and post graduate diploma of legal practice. 

Tim enjoys writing and preparing practice materials. Tim assists the leading international legal publisher Lexis Nexis, in providing legal content for the Tasmanian jurisdiction. He delivers practical training for graduate lawyers at the Legal Practice Course and practicing lawyers for the Law Society of Tasmania.

Tim recognises the legal community has particular:

  • power and responsibility for citizen rights
  • reliance on the spoken and written word
  • complexity of concepts and language
  • accountability to multiple audiences.

Tim is pleased to be able to help the legal  sector and his local Huon Valley community participate in the long term, community wide improvement of literacy and numeracy standards in Tasmania.

What Tim says about being on the Coalition

"I have found my time on the 26TEN productive and uplifting. The 26TEN program is successful and inspiring. The people involved are good to work with and effective. What 26TEN has and can achieve is uplifting. I am pleased I have been able to serve my community by joining in the work."

John Smith

Mellissa Gray

Coalition member

Mellissa Gray is the Executive Director, Strategy and Social Policy in the Department of Communities Tasmania. Prior to this appointment she spent 17 years in the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Tasmania in a variety of roles including A/g Deputy Secretary Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, Director Policy and Director of the Social Inclusion Unit from 2008 to 2014.  

Mellissa leads policy innovation for government including establishing the nation’s first place branding statutory authority, Brand Tasmania and amending the Tasmanian Constitution to recognise Aboriginal Tasmanians as Tasmania’s First people.

Mellissa has had a variety of professional roles including starting her career as an Associate Lecturer in the School of Government at the University of Tasmania; speechwriter, Parliamentary and community development Senior Advisor for the Premier of Tasmania from 2005 to 2007.

Mellissa was born in Tasmania, grew up in Risdon Vale, was educated in Tasmanian public schools, is a graduate of the University of Tasmania and is driven to make a difference to disadvantage in her home state.  She is married to Phillip and mum to Lucas and Joseph.

“It isn’t easy in Tasmania. It never has been. People said it was impossible, and for too long we believed it. This is why, for Tasmanians, good enough is never good enough. We work harder, we follow our obsessions, we support one another, and we protect what makes this place different. Being Tasmanian is the quiet pursuit of the extraordinary.” - Brand Tasmania

What Mellissa says about being on the 26TEN Coalition

"Every day one in two adult Tasmanians who may need help with literacy, quietly pursue their lives and may face extraordinary challenges. The 26TEN Coalition is a group of Tasmanians who are passionate about working hard to support people with adult literacy and raise awareness of its importance. 

As a member of the Coalition I have made cross-sectoral connections with people in industry in the community sector, in law, in medicine, in government and in the business sector, but most importantly I have been able to advocate to make a difference to the lives of everyday extraordinary Tasmanians – so that they can realise their potential and achieve their hopes and dreams, whether that’s reading to their child, catching the bus, or getting a job. 

Adult literacy and the 26TEN Coalition builds opportunity and hope for Tasmanians." 

John Smith

Malcolm Wells

Coalition Member

A former Deputy Secretary in the Department of Education, Malcolm worked for 34 years in public education in Tasmania. He was the General Manager of Learning Services in the North West from 2007 until 2010 and was the Principal of Ulverstone Primary School for eight years. Malcolm is a Director on the Board of the Cradle Coast Authority and is a member of the Non Government Schools Registration Board. In addition to work in the education sector Malcolm is on the Board of Choose Life Services, an organisation providing support services to those affected by suicide. 

What Malcolm says about being part of the 26TEN Coalition

"26TEN is a great initiative. Hopefully each of us on the Coalition can spread the word, get others involved and connect people to the services and support that make a difference to adult literacy in Tasmania. 

Playing a small part in Tasmania’s innovative approach to the challenge of improving levels of adult literacy is very rewarding. Peoples lives have changed because of the work of the 26TEN team, our Network of volunteers and business and community groups who are all committed to making a difference to adult literacy in our state."

John Smith

Kym goodes

Coalition member

Kym is the CEO of TasCOSS and her focus is on working towards a fairer and more equitable Tasmania through collaboration and partnerships between the social services sector, business, communities and government.  Her major focus is on ensuring all Tasmanians have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of life, economic, social and political.

She has a background in the private, government and community sectors and prior to taking up the TasCOSS role was Director of 3P Consulting for six years, working across a range of industry and sector areas.

Kym has worked at a senior level in both the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. In these policy development roles her focus included transition and retention of young people, career and transition support, and ‘youth at risk’ models.  She has led the development and implementation of major reform in government and managed the establishment of new models of care in the health and human services sector.

John Smith

Judith Watson

Coalition member

Dr Judith Watson represents the health sector and has worked as a GP in a Launceston family practice since 1994. She  was a member of the Health Council of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Health Service Governing Council and the Chair of Primary Health Tasmania. 

Judith is passionately committed to improving the health of Tasmanians through both established and innovative strategies. She has a strong understanding of disconnects in the patient journey and of the challenges associated with changing culture and pursuing new opportunities in the health sector.

She sees health literacy as a vital component of a person's ability to contribute to looking after their own health and navigating the health system. It is also vitally important for health professionals to communicate in a way that is easily understandable by the recipients of their care

John Smith

Simon Wiggins

Coalition Member

​Simon is the Managing Director of Avidity Training and Development, a Registered Training Organisation offering nationally recognised training and assessment, as well as customised training solutions to meet the needs of clients.

Simon has worked in the vocational education and training industry for a number of years and holds his Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Diploma of Management.

Simon is a graduate of the 2012 Tasmanian Leaders Program and sits on a number of boards and committees. He is also a qualified chef and has worked in various establishments including the Huntingdale Golf Club and Hilton on the Park, Melbourne. In addition, he has run and owned hotels in Tasmania.