Regional Development Victoria Delivering for Rural and Regional Victoria logo

Our Members

Gippsland Regional Partnerships Logo Our Partnership comprises business and community members from across Gippsland who care passionately about the future of our region.

They are joined on the Partnership by the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of our Local Government Areas, as well as a representative of Regional Development Australia (ensuring Australian Government involvement with the Partnership) and a representative from the Victorian Government.


Business and community members

Therese TierneyTherese Tierney – Chair

Therese has had more than 45 years’ experience in the health sector including Chief Executive Officer and senior management roles in metro Melbourne and regional Victoria and in both the private and public health sectors.  In addition to her role as Chair of the Gippsland Regional Partnership Therese is an experienced board director and her current board roles include Chair of East Gippsland Water Corporation, Chair of the Gippsland Primary Health Network, Chair of Maryvale Private Hospital and Deputy Chair of VicWater. In the past, she was a member and Chair of the East Gippsland Marketing Board, member of the Victorian Health Innovation Reform Council and the Victorian Expert Panel on Aboriginal Health and active in a number of community planning and economic development processes.

While Therese has primarily worked in the health sector, she has also had significant involvement in local government as both a Councillor and General Manager and currently works as a consultant providing strategic and innovative solutions to challenges with good governance and business, change management, health planning and design, people and systems thinking.

Stephen AngusStephen Angus – Deputy Chair

Stephen joined the Gippsland Regional Partnership to contribute to the economic vitality of our region. Stephen grew up in Far East Gippsland and is from a farming background. Stephen moved back to Gippsland several years ago after a working at executive levels in various organisations and is ambitious to see the Gippsland region prosper.

He holds Director and Committee roles in a range of organisations that include aviation, economic development, climate change and water management.

Stephen has a deep commitment to sustaining and expanding regional enterprises and his passion is developing confident and effective leaders and supporting individuals, enterprises and communities so they can thrive. Working as a business consultant he works closely with Gippsland businesses to support their planning, change management and innovation thinking.

Jane AndersonJane Anderson

Jane was first appointed to the role of Latrobe Health Advocate in May 2018 and reappointed in May 2021. Reporting to the Health Minister, Jane’s appointment delivers on a key recommendation of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry. Jane provides independent advice to the Victorian Government on behalf of Latrobe communities about system and policy issues affecting their health and wellbeing. She works closely with businesses, health services, community organisations and all levels of government to ensure a collaborative approach underpins her advice and activities.

Jane’s background includes 12 years as the Gippsland Regional Director of Anglicare Victoria, 7 years as a practising lawyer and over a decade as a Victorian Police Officer. Jane is passionate about social justice, the health and wellbeing of Gippsland communities and the natural environment.

Terry RobinsonTerry Robinson

Terry is the Chief Executive Officer of Destination Gippsland, the Regional Tourism Board with the role to inspire, influence and lead positive tourism outcomes through partnerships across Gippsland. He has a keen interest in supporting Gippsland communities by helping them generate the benefits that come from building a strong visitor-based economy and recover from the impacts of bushfires and COVID-19.

Tiana FelminghamTiana Felmingham

Tiana is based in East Gippsland and has spent more than 20 years working together with communities and different levels of government to improve community wellbeing. Tiana is currently an Associate Research Fellow with GLOBE, a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University. Tiana helps individuals and organisations navigate the world of systems thinking and public health through leadership and learning, embedding it into their everyday practice and demonstrating its effectiveness by measuring local change. Tiana particularly loves the application of systems thinking in the community setting (a focus for her PhD), where the community is at the forefront of leading powerful change on problems that are repeatedly put into the too-hard basket. Tiana is a facilitator, presenter, adult trainer and can translate strategy into implementation.

Tiana's heart sits in rural and remote settings, in Australia and in the Pacific region, and she enjoys the challenges state and national content brings.

Daniel MillerDaniel Miller

Daniel is the Chief Executive Officer at Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC). Daniel brings an understanding of social and cultural issues affecting Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities, including interaction and working with non-indigenous communities.

Daniel is a forward thinker and has a strong focus on balancing community needs with strategic planning and sustainable business growth. He holds a Bachelor of Organisational Leadership.

Farhat FirdousFarhat Firdous

Farhat Firdous is a cross-cultural communication and engagement specialist with experience of sector-wide engagement in Pakistan and regional Victoria. Over the last 20 years, she has worked in diverse roles including media and communication, stakeholder engagement, regional planning, tertiary education, public service governance and not-for-profit sectors. Currently, she is working with the Victorian Skills Authority as Regional Taskforce Manger for Gippsland with focus on regional and industry engagement to deliver place-based skills solutions. Farhat is an advocate for social inclusion and social cohesion and enjoys being an active member of the community. She has established herself as a voice for communities within communities and facilitate critical conversations on difficult issues with a curious and open mindset. She is the co-founder and chair of Intercultural Exchange Inc., a community-minded organisation that aims to create safe spaces to strengthen sense of belonging by reducing potential miscommunications, assumptions, and discrimination. Farhat is a life-long learner with academic background in social work, development studies, and counselling.

Stephanie ThooStephanie Thoo

Stephanie is an executive at Pro-Pac Packaging where she leads their innovation and sustainability agenda. Stephanie is an entrepreneurship and innovation specialist with a passion for purpose. After receiving an MBA from the Melbourne Business School, she has built a strong and varied career - working as a Design Thinker in a social enterprise, a Project Lead in a not-for-profit skunk works, and as the head of a university pre-accelerator program.

Natalie O'ConnellNatalie O'Connell

Natalie has experience in strategy, stakeholder engagement and holds strong advocacy and leadership skills. Natalie was elected to the East Gippsland Shire Council from 2016-2020 and in 2018 was elected as the youngest Mayor in the history of the Shire. She has held various Board Director and Advisory Roles both past and present, including the Victorian Bushfire Appeal for the Black Summer Fires, Omeo District Health, National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Telstra’s Victorian Regional Advisory Council.

Natalie holds a Bachelor of Agriculture Science from the University of Melbourne, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (P-12), and completed her Master of Business Administration in 2022. She is also a recent graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Natalie is passionate about rural and regional areas, particularly in education, health and the stimulation of economic development.

Sarah LawlessSarah Lawless

With 14 years’ experience in Special Education as a Teacher working with families from low socio-economic backgrounds, Sarah brings her passion for supporting disadvantaged groups to the Gippsland Regional Partnership. Her 16 years governance experience in a variety of contexts and her role as Partnership Broker for the Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning & Employment Network place her well to prompt conversations on how we can work collaboratively with education, industry and communities to bring about real change that will benefit our region in a sustainable way.

Sarah lives in South Gippsland, and works in both Latrobe and Baw Baw; bringing a geographically diverse perspective to Partnership conversations. Sarah is also heavily involved in Roller Derby, being on the Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby Executive Committee for the better part of a decade (and counting), and establishing two recreational roller skate programs that make the sport more accessible to those who don't want to get physical yet love to skate. Sarah loves the way sports such as Roller Derby can bring people from diverse backgrounds together in a community.

Garry AustinGarry Austin

Garry is a Gippsland native, having grown up in South Gippsland. Throughout his working life, Garry has remained dedicated to his home region, devoting over 38 years to the telecommunications industry with a focus on Gippsland. Through his strong engagement and leadership in this field, Garry has built a broad network of local stakeholders and a deep understanding of the region.

Passionate about building community connections and improving access to services across Gippsland, Garry has been an active participant in the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and currently serves as Chair of the Mirboo North Cemetery Trust. Additionally, he has previously served as a Director on the Gippsland Southern Health Service Board of Management.

With his wealth of knowledge and experience, Garry is a valued member of the Gippsland community, working tirelessly to unlock opportunities for the benefit of all who call the region home.

Regional Development Australia representatives

Michelle DowsettMichelle Dowsett

Michelle Dowsett is Chair of Regional Development Australia Gippsland and Executive Officer of the East Gippsland Community Foundation. Michelle is an Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate and has contributed to many boards and committees in Gippsland. She currently sits on Gippsland’s Rural Financial Counselling Service, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, TAFE Gippsland and the Gunaikurnai Traditional Land Owners Management Board’s Audit and Risk Committee as an independent member. Recently, Michelle served on the Board of East Gippsland Water (eight years) and as the Audit/Risk Chair for four years. She also sat on the Municipal Association of Victoria Audit/Risk Committee as an independent member for six years, four years as Chair.

Michelle is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and previously ran her own business providing business management, financial accounting and company secretary services from East Gippsland through to Melbourne. Between 2016 and 2020, she was also CEO of Sale Elderly Citizens Village, a community based, NFP, residential aged care and retirement living service provider.

Michelle is a passionate Gippslander who grew up in the region and has lived at Longford for the past 25 years on a hobby farm.

Raelene HanrattyRaelene Hanratty

Born in Yallourn, new committee member Raelene has been dairy farming since 1986 in the Macalister Irrigation District. An Australian Institute of Company Directors member, she chairs the Heyfield Hospital Board and the Macalister Customer Committee (Southern Rural Water).

On top of those duties, she also finds time to be Director of Rural Financial Counselling Gippsland, a mentor with Farmer’s Friend (Lifeline Gippsland) and Treasurer with Nambrok Football Club, Newry Football Club and Newry Junior Football Club.

On the committee, Raelene will encourage investment and development in the agriculture sector. Raelene envisages a sustainable and profitable agricultural district aligned to a common brand – ‘Gippsland’, and sees a strong, emerging market for farm products that have trustworthy provenance.

Victorian Government representative

Peta McCammon – Associate Secretary, Department of Justice and Community Safety

Local Government CEOs

Ali WastieAli Wastie – CEO, Bass Coast Shire Council

With degrees in Arts, Education and holding a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade, Ali has held executive positions within the Victorian Public Service and Local Government. She is also an accomplished Board Director across the not-for-for profit, community, tourism and health sectors. She is also an accredited executive coach, mediator and alumnus of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

An authentic leader and outstanding communicator, Ali has achieved great outcomes for the boards, communities and organisations she has served. Ali is passionate about developing high performing teams and creating a workplace culture that is innovative, empowered, strategic, trusting and fun.

Before joining Bass Coast Shire Council,  Ali’s prior roles within the Local Government sector include Director City Communities at Melbourne City Council and Director of Social and Economic Development at Yarra Ranges Council.

Anthony BasfordAnthony Basford – CEO, East Gippsland Shire Council

Anthony joined East Gippsland Shire as Chief Executive Officer in November 2018. With more than 20 years’ experience in rural and regional, interface and metropolitan Council’s in Victoria and NSW, as well as time in the not for profit and education sectors in Australia and overseas, Anthony has a passion for working in local government and with people to achieve the best possible outcomes for communities.

Anthony loves bushwalking, live music and historic cars. He has a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and a Master of Social Science (Policy and Human Services).

Kerryn EllisKerryn Ellis – CEO, South Gippsland Shire Council

Kerryn Ellis is a passionate public sector leader with over twenty years’ experience, who is energised by working with communities in a context of rapid change. Kerryn’s main professional love is building high performing, ethical and agile organisations with positive, values-based leadership that can work in partnership to deliver great outcomes with the community.

Kerryn’s current role is Chief Executive Officer of South Gippsland Shire Council. Prior to this position, Kerryn held the positions of Director Corporate Services at Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, Director Corporate Performance with the City of Greater Bendigo, and Manager Governance and Innovation at Knox City Council. She has also previously worked for the City of Melbourne and Bayside City Council. Kerryn holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma of Public Policy and Management, and completed the LGPro emerging leaders program in 2005, and the Executive Leadership Program in 2016.

David MorcomDavid Morcom – CEO, Wellington Shire Council

David grew up in the Gippsland region, before joining the Westpac Bank as an Economics Graduate in 1988, based in Hobart. He spent 12 years in the Finance and Banking sector before moving to local Government where he has held roles as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of various councils. David was appointed CEO of Wellington Shire Council in January 2012. As well as holding a degree in Economics, he holds post graduate qualifications in Management and is a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation in South Australia.

Steven PiasenteSteven Piasente – CEO, Latrobe City Council

Steven has over 26 years of experience working for local communities having held the majority of senior management roles in local government and having worked in the Gippsland Region for all of that time.

Steven has held a diverse range of roles including Infrastructure Director, Community and Economic Development Director and Corporate Services Director.

Prior to moving to the role of Chief Executive Officer Steven held the role of General Manager Infrastructure and Recreation at Latrobe City for four years. During that time Steven led the development of all of Council’s major infrastructure investments in the community including the new Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre and Latrobe Creative Precinct and the redevelopment of the Traralgon Basketball Stadium

Steven’s formal qualifications are in Engineering, he has qualifications in Business Administration and is passionate about developing the leadership capabilities of his teams. Steven has also successfully managed a small retail business for over seven years.

Steven has a passion for local government and making a difference for local communities contributing to making Latrobe City a great place to live, work and visit.

Mark DupeMark Dupe – CEO, Baw Baw Shire Council

Mr Dupe joined Council in September 2017 as the Director of Corporate and Community Services and has held the Interim Chief Executive Officer position since mid-March 2020.

Prior to Baw Baw Shire Council, he held positions of General Manager Corporate Services at the National Heart Foundation, Director Corporate Development at Knox City Council and Group Manager Corporate Services at Bayside City Council.

Mr Dupe is the Chair of Trade Training Alliance, Baw Baw. He holds a Bachelor of Economics, an MBA and postgraduate IT qualifications. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a CPA.