About the V4I Team
(Committee members listed alphabetically)
Amanda is passionate about improving outcomes for young people in our rural communities. She is actively engaged in programs throughout the North East that support young people and empower them to have a political voice. As a parent and a youth worker, Amanda could see and hear how dis-empowered many young people felt when it came to politics and community representation. This inspired Amanda to become part of the V4i team in April 2013 and she continues to be motivated by V4i’s commitment to participatory democracy and doing politics differently.
Amanda’s career began in education but she has increasingly focused on youth and community development. Amanda played a key role in developing the now annual Youth Politics Camp which attracts participants from seven North East Victorian local government areas and encourages young people to get involved in their communities and have a say. She has been a member of the Youth Affairs Council Statewide Rural Reference group advocating for young people on a range of issues and has a particular interest in youth mental health. She coordinated the implementation of the Live4Life Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention program in Benalla and regularly facilitates training for community members in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Amanda and has lived and worked in the North East for over 30 years and she and her husband run a small beef farm in Oxley. She also has a strong interest in the arts and has been the in-house V4i graphic designer since first becoming involved.
Rob is a community facilitation and engagement specialist who understands that only fair and transparent processes build trust and allow people to find a collaborative pathway. His personal and professional approach to community engagement is about actively encouraging and supporting people to participate in values-based practices and as such, it mirrors the V4i ethos.
Rob facilitates respectful processes that allow all parties to have a voice and feel valued. He believes a commitment to participatory democracy, lifelong learning and community culture enables rural communities to build social capital and navigate change in a complex world.
Rob lived at Whitlands for 35 years and recently relocated to Wangaratta. He has a long history of involvement in community organisations in the North East. He is the current Chair of The Centre for Continuing Education, an adult education provider based in Wangaratta and is Deputy Chair of Winton Wetlands Committee of Management. Rob also serves as a CFA volunteer. Rob became involved with V4i in 2018 and brings a wealth of skills and experience to the team.
John Davis has a strong connection with our region and cares deeply about its people. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as V4i President from his previous engagements as a teacher, historian, priest, academic, administrator and community activist. John is intensely interested in all things community. He shares the V4i conviction that a values-based respectful approach to political participation, that is both responsive to and reflective of community needs and aspirations, is the best model to pursue. John has been part of the V4i team since 2014 and he has relished the challenge and stimulation of working with people across the region to do politics differently.
John was born and raised in South Australia. He studied and worked in Canada, the UK, Albury and Melbourne before resettling in the north-east in 2010. John’s qualifications in history, education and theology have informed his work as a Priest, Trustee and Vicar General with the Anglican Church. His years of involvement in the governance structures of the Anglican Church at all levels have deepened his understanding of policy development and institutional processes. John’s work as the Regional Coordinator for the emergency response and recovery work of the Victorian Council of Churches in Hume region further enriched his understanding of the needs and hopes of the north east community.
Denis lives and breathes rural communities. He believes it is essential for rural communities to be engaged and energised and have an authentic voice in decision-making processes. Denis is a facilitator and a connector bringing people and ideas together to create positive change. He enjoys sharing the V4i community politics message in conferences and other forums to encourage and empower other communities to engage in participatory democracy to achieve better representation.
Denis brings his skills and experience from a career spanning rural counselling, farm debt law reform, rural health policy research and neuro-trauma rehabilitation to his many and varied community-driven initiatives including Totally Renewable Yackandandah, an innovative placed-based sustainable energy model for rural Australia. Denis is actively involved in the North East community and has been a CFA volunteer for 25 years as well as school council president of local primary and secondary schools.
Denis is a 1991 Churchill Fellow and holds qualifications in social work, agricultural economics, conflict resolution and facilitation. He was raised near Benalla where his family have farmed for five generations and he now lives on a small beef property in the Indigo Valley where he and his partner raised their three daughters. He was a founding member of V4i and continues to be inspired by the shared values and commitment of the V4i community.
Phil Haines is a founding member of Voices for Indi. He is passionate about the long-term development and prosperity of regional communities, with a focus on equity of opportunity for all, especially in education, and the development of sustainable agricultural systems.
Phil has had a life-long interest in politics, both in Australia and internationally, but until the 2013 federal election had not been actively involved in a campaign. This changed when Phil became Cathy McGowan’s campaign manager for both the 2013 and 2016 elections, leading the grassroots community campaign that involved over 600 supporters and resulted in the election of an independent in Indi for the first (and second) time.
Phil has had a long career in agricultural research and development, holding senior government roles in strategy, policy and program development, investment and industry partnering. He lives outside Wangaratta on a small beef cattle property, which has also run a successful farmstay accommodation business.
Chris values continuous learning. She is always willing to share ideas and engage in respectful debate and recognises it is important for people to stand up and take control of their own futures, even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone. Chris loves being part of the V4i community and is continually inspired by the V4i practice of doing politics differently.
Chris specialises in action learning strategies, helping groups and organisations create a shared vision and both respond to and drive change. Chris has applied this approach, informed by her post-graduate qualifications in Business Change Management, to change management roles across the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Victorian AIDS Council, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Women’s Health Victoria.
Chris was raised on a farm near Griffith NSW and has lived in the King Valley since 2006. She is actively involved in her local community and has served on such committees as the Whitfield Action Group, the King Valley Art Show, the King Valley Master Plan, and Women’s Health Goulburn North East. She joined the V4i Committee in early 2016.
Alana Johnson is a founding member of Voices for Indi. She is committed to the importance of all people having the right to be listened to, included, valued and empowered in their lives. She believes that families, communities and the nation benefit when people choose to act for the common good and actively participate in politics and government because ‘the future belongs to those who turn up’.
Alana has long been involved in social change and has served on many government and not-for-profit boards, committees and advisory bodies. Alana is well known for her work in rural communities, supporting women in agriculture and leadership development. Alana is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She lives near Benalla on a family beef cattle property and is currently researching the future of agriculture in Australia through Monash University.
Tony is passionate about education, community wellbeing and environmental sustainability so it was only natural that he got involved in community-based grass-roots politics. Tony values the collegiate approach of the V4i community recognising that respectful processes create opportunities for all people to make a positive contribution and improve social and environmental outcomes.
Tony is the current Chair of the Wangaratta Sustainability Network, which is part of the Victorian Landcare Network, and served as Board Chair at Galen Catholic College for six years. Tony has lived and worked in the North East for 35 years. For most of this time he has worked in the public sector, initially in employment and training, and currently in health and aged care. Tony and his wife Donna have raised three children who have all flown the nest.
Rowan grew up in regional Victoria and has lived in the North East and Southern Riverina since 1989. Rowan has a background in agricultural science and a doctorate in regional economics. During the last decade, Rowan has researched the impact of drought and changes in water availability on rural communities and worked in community economic development, small business, education and the health sector. Her belief in the power of rural communities to shape their own economic and cultural futures has led to her commitment to Voices for Indi and the sustainability movement across the region. She is a founding member of V4i.
Ray moved from southern Victoria to the North East over 30 years ago. With farming in his blood he has continued to operate a small mixed farm, focusing in recent years on growing irrigated lucerne and fat lamb production. Ray recently retired following a long career in local government, in which he held executive roles in several North East Councils. During this time he participated in an international management exchange program to the US and later served as CEO of Towong Shire.
He is a qualified accountant and Fellow of CPA Australia. He also holds a Bachelor of Business, a Master of Business and Graduate Diploma in Rural and Regional Planning. With an interest in supporting community, environment and economic development, Ray has served on the Boards of a number of regional organisations. These include Upper Murray Family Care, North East CMA, St Catherine’s Aged Care, North East Waste & Resource Recovery and a number of customer committees for Goulburn Murray Water.
Anne is a founding member of Voices for Indi. She values the innovative approach of V4i and the contribution it is making to the future of communities across Indi, and beyond. She is deeply committed to processes that enable our local and regional communities to have their voices heard in Australia’s political discourse and decision making.
Anne has experience, local knowledge and networks in community leadership, regional planning, agribusiness, governance and community foundations. She has served on numerous boards and committees across the North East, with an emphasis on community wellbeing and community representation. Anne has qualifications in community development, project management and community education and she currently works in the education and digital inclusion sector. Anne has a strong rural background. She grew up on a farm at Bonnie Doon in North East Victoria and now lives and works in Wangaratta.
Ann has lived most of her life in North East Victoria and has a commitment to the prosperity of the region. Her interests are mainly focused on social justice issues, the environment, leadership and participatory democracy. Those interests have led her to serve on the Boards of Albury-Wodonga Youth Emergency Services, Goulburn Ovens TAFE, Alpine Valleys Community Leadership, Beyond Housing and Totally Renewable Yackandandah.
Ann recently accepted the role of Chair of Indigo Power, North East Victoria’s ‘start-up’ Community Energy Retailer and has held senior roles in both the community and public sectors across the region, most recently as an Executive at North East Water. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts, the ANZOG Executive Master of Public Administration and she is a qualified Mediator, Project Manager and Engagement Practitioner. Ann and her partner enjoy life together on a small farming and accommodation enterprise and highly value the abundant offerings and opportunities of their regional lifestyle.