About the V4I Team
(Committee members listed alphabetically)
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 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.
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.
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 a member of the Wangaratta Landcare and Sustainability Inc. which is part of the Victorian Landcare Network. He also 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.
Anna is passionate about finding ways to increase community participation in democratic processes and decision making. She started her professional career in the Victorian Department of Agriculture as a farm advisor in north east Victoria working across much of the electorate of Indi for about 5 years.
She has worked in roles encompassing the rural women’s movement and networks, public policy, philanthropy and the community sector, regional development and recovery – always working to assist the community in navigating government. One of her roles was with the Purple Sage Project – encouraging rural communities to have direct input into developing a grass roots public policy agenda for Victoria. The project informed the early engagement approach used by V4I to mobilize and grow values-based politics in Indi over the past decade.
Anna relocated to a small property on Bpangerang country on the edge of the Warby Ranges in 2016, working to revegetate the landscape to mitigate climate change and provide Land for Wildlife. She is keenly interested in raising the voice and profile of the communities of Indi to enable enduring change to benefit and strengthen communities and the environment.
Paul works with people to create positive social and environmental change. As the Director of the Australian Resilience Centre, he focuses on building capacity to create and manage change in the face of uncertain futures. He works on issues as diverse as climate adaptation, poverty and humanitarian relief, disaster preparedness and recovery, sustainable agriculture, infrastructure planning, unemployment, domestic and gender-based violence, biodiversity loss and illegal wildlife trade. He has previously worked for the Stockholm Resilience Centre, CSIRO and various government agencies.
Paul has been inspired by the role Voices for Indi has played in respectfully engaging and empowering everyday people in the democratic process. He recently joined V4I with the aim of supporting and furthering this important movement and hopes it serves as a model and inspiration to other communities.
Paul lives in Beechworth with his family and spends his spare time working in the garden or bushwalking in the magnificent north east landscapes.
Florent Thivillier – joined the committee in 2020