Regional Development Victoria Delivering for Rural and Regional Victoria logo

Our Members

Ovens Murray Regional Partnerships Logo

Our Partnership comprises business and community members from across Ovens Murray 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

Felicity Williams

Felicity Williams - Acting Chair

Felicity Williams has held senior management positions in marketing, public relations and communications in industries including tertiary education, secondary education, and not-for-profit organisations. She founded and ran a highly successful business and marketing consultancy during which she provided practical assistance and support to small and medium sized businesses in a wide range of industries throughout North East Victoria.

She was Marketing Manager for Wodonga TAFE, and then took up an Executive Director position at Bendigo TAFE. She then returned to the North East to manage a secondary school. However, in September 2014 Felicity took up the role of CEO of The Centre for Continuing Education, fulfilling her desire to return to the tertiary sector.

Felicity is passionate about the vocational education and training sector because it links people to community and industry, and because education has the power to change lives.Felicity has now taken on the role of CEO of Upper Murray Family Care, which supports holistic programs supporting families and communities in north east Victoria.

Amanda KellyAmanda Kelly

Amanda moved into the region in mid-2019 to take on the role of CEO Women’s Health Goulburn North East.  She previously held senior management roles with Girl Guides Victoria and Emerge Australia, a membership based health advocacy and support organisation, as well as having experience in communications, events management and the creative arts sector. Amanda has a strong commitment to human rights and assisting minorities to find their voice. She has a Bachelor of Business in Accountancy and Systems Design.

Bess Nolan-CookBess Nolan-Cook

Bessis the CEO of Tourism North East, the regional tourism board for Victoria’s High Country.  Bess has a background in marketing, communications and major events and prior to joining Tourism North East, was the Director of Marketing and Communications at DoTerra Australia & New Zealand.  Bess holds a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Technical Production from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and is passionate about driving meaningful outcomes that positively support the visitor economy and the region.

Katie WarnerKatie Warner

Katie is the CEO of the North East Catchment Management Authority. She previously held the role of Business Development Manager at the Goulburn Broken CMA, and has extensive experience in departmental business development, policy and strategic planning.

Katie is currently serving as Treasurer on the Board of the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Inc., is a member of the LA Trobe University Regional Advisory Board (Albury-Wodonga) and has a keen interest in regional health having previously served on the Beechworth Health Service Board.

Katie is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Master’s in Public Policy and Management from Monash University.

Katie and her husband Stuart, and two sons have a strong family connection to North East Victoria, and are involved in a family farming enterprise consisting of sheep, cattle and wine grapes. Katie maintains a strong interest in her local community including through local sporting groups due to her sport obsessed boys.

Amber GardnerAmber Gardner

Amber has lived and worked in the Ovens Murray region for the past 15 years and is passionate about delivering strong economic, social and environmental outcomes for the region. As the inaugural CEO of Alpine Resorts Victoria and previous CEO of Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board and CEO of Tourism North East, she has a comprehensive understanding of the regional tourism industry, a key economic driver in Ovens Murray.

With extensive domestic and international experience encompassing FMCG and telecommunications, Amber also brings her strong strategic thinking and commercial acumen to other key regional focus areas, including improved digital connectivity, investment in transformative infrastructure and support for business reliance and growth.

Amber is also a Director of Outdoors Victoria, a representative on the Telstra Regional Advisory Committee and holds a Master of Marketing and Bachelor of Media and Communications. She was Chair of the Partnership from 2021-2022, having previously held the position of Deputy Chair.

Regional Development Australia representative

TBC – Regional Development Australia – Hume

Victorian Government representative

Tony BatesTony Bates PSM Deputy Secretary, Financial Policy and Information Services, Department of Education and Training

Tony Bates joined the Department of Education and Training (DET) in April 2019 as Deputy Secretary – Financial Policy and Information Services. Tony oversees corporate functions of DET including financial services, budget strategy, procurement and information and communication technology. Prior to joining DET, Tony worked as a Special Advisor reporting to the Secretary at Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions on the Victorian Government’s response to a range of issues related to autonomous, connected and zero-emission vehicles. In 2018 Tony was the Lead Deputy Secretary - Police, Emergency Management and Corrections in the Department of Justice. Tony has a breadth of experience in central and line agencies, including at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury and Finance and as head of Corporate Services at Victoria Police.

At DPC, Tony was Deputy Secretary, Governance Policy and Coordination where he was responsible for public sector governance, performance measurement and reform, protective security and emergency management, public sector ICT policy, strategic communications and the department’s corporate services. He led the establishment of the Victorian Centre for Data Insights and Cyber Security Unit and the development of the Victorian Government ICT Strategy 2016 to 2020.

Prior to this, Tony led significant strategic reforms to business, human resource and financial services at Victoria Police and worked in DTF in a range of roles covering fiscal strategy, portfolio analysis and natural disaster recovery arrangements.

During the 1990s, Tony worked across a number of programs in the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services including on Commonwealth-State negotiations, case mix funding of public hospitals and oversight of the public mental health service funding system.

Tony holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Science degree from the University of Melbourne, is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an alumni of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government Executive Fellows program. Tony was awarded a Public Service Medal in January 2016 for outstanding public service to fiscal management in Victoria.

Local government CEOs

Will JeremyWilliam Jeremy – CEO, Alpine Shire Council

Will commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in July 2022 having joined Alpine Shire Council in early 2016 as Manager Asset Development, before stepping into the role of Director Assets in 2017.  Prior to commencing in Local Government, Will’s career spanned more than 16 years in the private sector as a project manager in the oil and gas industry, initially for Shell and more recently for Woodside Energy. Will has a Masters Degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford in the UK, and is a Chartered Professional Engineer and member of Engineers Australia. Will is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Will is passionate about the future sustainability of our Shire and enjoys making a difference for the community in which he lives.

Dom TestoniDom Testoni – CEO, Benalla Rural City Council

Dom commenced in the role of CEO Benalla Rural City Council in January 2019. Prior to this, he worked for the seven Councils on the Limestone Coast in South Australia. His experience includes, leading regional lobbying and advocacy, as well as overseeing a range of collaborative projects in tourism, climate adaptation, waste management, economic development, transport and infrastructure planning, road safety, sport and recreation. In addition, Dom has a 20-year history working in agribusiness across New South Wales and Queensland, as well as experience with the not-for-profit and natural resource management sectors.

Trevor IerinoTrevor Ierino – CEO, Indigo Shire Council

Trevor was appointed to the position of Indigo Shire Council CEO in 2018 after a career spanning more than 30 years in both public and private sector industries. These included banking, motor vehicle manufacturing, food manufacturing, printing services, as well as 10 years as chief financial officer with Goulburn-Murray Water, Australia's largest rural water authority. Trevor’s most recent role was Director of Business Services at Wodonga City Council, a position he held for 10 years.

Kirsten Alexander – CEO, Mansfield Shire Council

Juliana PhelpsJuliana Phelps – CEO, Towong Shire Council

Juliana has served as Towong Shire Council’s CEO since 2009. Prior to taking on this role, she held the position of Director Community and Corporate Services. Juliana is a Chartered Accountant and has experience with auditing private and public organisations. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Charles Sturt University as well as a Bachelor of Business (Accounting and Economics). Juliana is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prior to joining Council, Juliana held a senior management position in the manufacturing sector in Albury Wodonga. Juliana is passionate about the sustainability of rural communities and small rural councils and, for ten years up to late 2020, was the Hume Region representative on the Rural Councils Victoria board.

Brendan McGrathBrendan McGrath – CEO, Wangaratta Rural City Council

Brendan McGrath has over 25 years’ Victorian local government and private sector management experience.

With post graduate Business Management qualifications and in CEO roles since 2008, initially with Indigo Shire and now with Rural City of Wangaratta, Brendan’s strengths lie in human and financial resources management and policy, strategy, and business development.

His Bachelor of Applied Science degree and early local government and private sector management experience in community and recreation areas gives him a strong understanding of the importance of working with people in the communities they live in.

Brendan is a current board member for North East Victoria Regional Tourism Board and GOTafe Wangaratta.  He is also the former President and Board Member of Local Government Professionals, the peak body for Local Government professionals in Victoria and former Board Member of Procurement Australia, a National Procurement aggregation company.

Matthew HydeMr Matthew Hyde – CEO, Wodonga City Council

Matt was newly appointed as the CEO of Wodonga Council as of 11 July 2022.  
He comes to Wodonga from Snowy Valleys Council, has more than 25 years in local government in Queensland and NSW, holds a Masters in Business Administration, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a director on the board of Local Government Professionals NSW.