Michael White

Executive Director at SANDAS
August 2017
Each issue we ask someone from the alcohol and other drugs sector to share a little about their work and life.

This weekend I will… mow the lawn, help my son clean the rabbit hutch, and go for a long walk.

I wish I'd never… Bought cheap second hand cars, they always cost me so much in repayments and repairs.

I'd originally planned to work… As an early childhood teacher but didn’t have the stamina required.

The qualities I most value in my colleagues are… Humour, commitment, honesty and an ability to keep calm and carry on.

I'll never forget… Travelling to remote parts of Australia including Aboriginal communities because of the impact the culture and history had on me.

If I had more time, I'd… Read more books and with even more time, I would write one.

I'm most scared of… Heights, high things, being up high and elevations after which I am scared of falling.

For my next holiday… I would love to visit the Great Barrier Reef before it is fully wrecked by climate change.

I can't get enough of… Detective fiction/psychological thrillers – (Swedish, noir, Scots) on film and in books.

I'm really terrible at… Making time for exercise.

Career wise, I’m most proud of… Creating learning and development strategies that empower services, workers and clients to address complex social issues.

My big hope for the drug and alcohol sector is… We move to a far stronger focus on the health interventions necessary to reduce alcohol and other drug harms and move away from the current punitive approaches that are especially damaging for young people and marginalized groups.

The sector's biggest challenge going forward is… Reducing stigma by shifting the media and community from an ‘othering’ of people with alcohol and drug issues to a recognition that it is something we all do and that sometimes some of us will need help when it causes problems.

Michael is the Executive Director at SANDAS.

 He has over 30 years’ experience in the community services and health sectors.

Michael has held a range of positions in other organisations including: Senior Project Manager – Workforce Development at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Flinders University; Workforce Development Lead at the Australian Centre for Child Protection; and Director, Learning and Development at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (Vic).

His roles have focussed on developing cross-sectoral collaborations; establishing state and national learning and development programs; developing training resources; course and organisational accreditation; participating in national and jurisdictional VET qualification committees and representation at national and state level.

Michael regularly presents on sector issues, child and family sensitive practice, workforce development, workplace health and safety, and inter-sectoral practice.

Michael is a Director of the Australian Professional Society of Alcohol and other Drugs and the State Representative for South Australia