Published March 23, 2024
Last Modified March 25, 2024
First Step
42 Carlisle Street, Australia
Job Type
St Kilda
Contact Phone Number
Closing Date
April 30, 2024

Job Description


We are looking for someone with a sophisticated understanding of state government operations to help us package and present the unique value proposition that First Step has to offer. This part time role is designed to afford maximum autonomy, including remote working and flexible hours. It may be filled by a contractor, consultant, or salaried employee.


First Step is a not-for-profit addiction, mental health, and legal services hub in the heart of St Kilda supporting over 1,600 people each year. We have a team of General Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Lawyers and Allied Health workers, all working together to create a community where people who use drugs and alcohol and people living with mental distress can live well, be safe and be supported.

Our model of care is designed to address the systemic barriers faced by people with co-occurring illnesses and prioritises welcome, empathy and hope. Through the compassionate application of multiple disciplines in a team environment we focus on incremental, whole-of-life improvements that build towards physical and mental health and wellbeing. We work to help people be connected to their families, participating in society, and taking control of their own lives. At First Step we believe that everybody deserves every chance to turn their lives around. We are a thought leader in the area of co-occurring illnesses and service integration contributing to journals and research and receiving minor state government funding for this previously.  Funding from the federal Departments of Health and Justice is already well established.


Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Government Relations Advisor will be responsible for leveraging influence within the Victorian Government.  The primary focus will be on an area where First Step has had only sporadic funding previously: the provision of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services and integrated mental health and AOD care with funding from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division of the Department of Health.  A secondary focus will be on the Victorian Department of Families Fairness and Housing in the promotion of First Step’s innovative pilot program collaborating with housing providers. A tertiary focus will be to provide strategic advice and support to First Step Legal to support its continued funding success with state and federal Departments of Justice.  Ensuring new and continuing funding from the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (federal Department of Health) will be out of scope.

The Government Relations Advisor will:

  • Analyse and advise on executive and legislative branches of state and federal government in relation to potential funding of First Step.
  • Actively advocate to government for recognition of First Step’s contribution to the community.
  • Lead the development of government briefs and pre-budget submissions.
  • Identify and lead the development of government tenders and commissions.
  • Manage stakeholders relating to government roles of specific relevance (particularly in the Department of Health (Mental Health and Wellbeing Division) and the Department of Families Fairness and Housing)

The goal of the Government Relations Advisor is to strengthen relationships with various government departments with political analysis, advice, and action, to both lead funding and other drives, and to provide support to colleagues. The role has administrative and external-facing responsibilities that include the preparation of briefs, correspondence, project and contract management, team logistics, stakeholder research and engagement.


  • A flexible and autonomous role, including remote working arrangements.
  • Part-time, casual or a contract position is possible for a suitable candidate. The role is currently funded for 2.5 years.
  • Salaried staff receive generous leave entitlements (including an RDO per 150 hours worked), superannuation, and the ability (due to First Step’s not-for-profit status) to salary package up to $15,900 per annum.


If you would like to discuss this role, please contact Patrick Lawrence, CEO, on 039537 3177.

Please email your application to Nelly Katsnelson at including:

  • Cover letter addressing the key selection criteria.
  • CV/resume

Key Selection Criteria


  • Extensive experience working with senior levels of state government and/or advising organisations about working with state government
  • Experience in assessing and/or preparing government tenders and submissions
  • Success in securing government funding and/or influencing government policy
  • High level written and oral presentation skills


  • Relevant tertiary qualifications or commensurate professional experience.