SCIN Committee
(Back Row l-r- Greg Tingate, Ian Turnnidge, Geoff Ellis  Front Row: Helen Page, Sally Conning)

Greg Tingate

Greg moved from Melbourne to Bass Coast after spending some years traversing the highway to Phillip Island. He now works for the sub-regional health service, Bass Coast Health. He lives on Phillip Island with his partner of 14 years, they have two amazing adult children who breeze in and out of their lives. A change of role within the service and a chance invitation to attend their Diversity Committee, lead to a first meeting with Helen Page and a recognition that like-minded souls do exist and that there was a lot of work to be done. Greg continues to work on inclusion and diversity within the health service and is currently part of the Rainbow Tick working group who are working towards accreditation late in 2020.

 “The opportunity to be a part of SCIN was something that I leapt at and has provided a wonderful rounding out of fitting in, healing and finding a voice. It’s also provided a haven for the local LGBTIQ community to share and learn from some of the groups’ extraordinary stories”.

Rev. Ian Turnnidge

Ian is the local minister at Cowes Uniting Church.  He is also a chaplain at Newhaven College and Banfields Aged Care Centre.  Ian joined SCIN after the initial Roadshow visited Wonthaggi in 2017.  Prior to working in the Church, Ian worked as an actor and theatre maker. 

“Inclusion is making sure every space has a space for every person.”

He supported his creative work applying his trade as a Beauty Therapist in Salon, Retail Cosmetics and teaching in the TAFE sector.  He enjoys a good story, story telling and writing.




Geoff Ellis- (Councillor- Bass Coast Shire)

As a teenager in Sydney’s Western Suburbs, Geoff was aware of the poor treatment and exclusion of LGBTIQ friends.  Later, he was able to see the benefits of inclusion and celebration of diversity through his Oxford St social and community connection.
After a career in logistics management, Geoff and his wife moved to Wattle Bank in 2011. He worked on a dairy farm for a couple of years, became a freelance writer and then ran for council in 2016 on a social justice platform. He is one of the three councillors from Western Port Ward, which covers 20 small towns and most of the farmland and beaches in Bass Coast.  Geoff is a regular contributor to the Bass Coast Post while editing and publishing the Waterline News, and he also contributes regularly to the Bass Coast Poetry wall.
“When we moved here I was glad to know Bass Coast as a welcoming and supportive community though I noted an invisibility of LGBTIQ people, an absence of gay iconography and a lack of safe spaces compared to metropolitan areas. As a councillor I have worked as part of SCIN and, as Deputy Mayor, I have worked with the CEO (and Mayor) to make Bass Coast Council a place where diversity is celebrated. My personal highlight was walking with the CEO as part of the Team Bass Coast contingent at the 2020 St Kilda Pride March.”

Helen Page

Helen is one of the founding members of SCIN, she has worked as a Rainbow Tick Accreditation Project Officer with Bass Coast Health and undertaken HOW2 Training with Rainbow Health Victoria. Helen designs and facilitates SCIN’s Diversity and Inclusion workshops for service providers. Helen passionately believes that lead organisations in rural and regional towns need to be proactive, get involved and make public statements in support of diversity if they truly want to address discrimination. “It’s the only way that people are going to be able to see that our community is inclusive. If someone comes from Melbourne, they’ll go to their local Council website and look for signs that such an important organisation actually does see them – the information needs to be there.”

Not just Council, mainstream community groups, sporting clubs, even small businesses can demonstrate that they are supportive of everybody. “Have a rainbow sticker on your window, call out homophobia, Google and educate yourself on how to be inclusive, celebrate events – that sort of thing. A little group like us would never get anywhere just hanging around with each other, we need everybody’s support. Even the smallest gesture means so much. So, I like to think SCIN plants seeds and then people go away to learn more.”

Sally Conning- President

Sally ConningSally Conning, in her own words “is just a crazy chick enjoying life”.

But seriously she is a well-travelled and acknowledged LGBTI Elder, advocate, educator and speaker who has a great message to share about life, transgender issues and working on older and aged LGBTI issues. 

“I was the community team member on the Equality Roadshow bus tour on the Gippsland leg with the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality and a pivotal reason that tour came to Wonthaggi. This is where most of the founding SCIN members first met.”

At the present time she working with; 

  • Bass Coast Health on their quest for Rainbow Tick in their Family Violence Unit 
  • West Gippsland Healthcare Group on their “Community Voices” working group and their internal LGBTIQ training plans
  • Alice’s Garage on many projects around older and aging LGBTI people through their Kinfolk and Embolden projects
  • Proudly a founding member of both South Coast Inclusion Network Inc., and Gippsland Pride Initiative Inc. both advocating for LGBTI people across Gippsland

The SCIN committee proudly acknowledges our LGBTI elders whose resilience and courageous voices have created a much better world for all of us here today.

Thank You.