Our People

The VPTA Board comprises a maximum of nine persons, at least three of whom must be public housing tenants. Board appointments are made on merit, based on consideration of skills and experience, for the purpose of providing on-going advice and expertise to the Association. The Board selects Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Association from among its members.

Board appointments are for a two year term and are made by the presiding Board near the completion of its term of office. Completed ‘Expressions of Interest for Board Appointment’ forms may be lodged at any time.

Our staff are motivated, qualified and passionate about working with public housing tenants. We are determined to help tenants with issue resolution, connecting with their communities and participating in decisions about public housing.

Our Board

Margaret Guthrie – Chairperson

I have lived in public housing for about 14 years and have been involved with the Victorian Public Tenants Association for most of that time.

My employment background is in psychiatric nursing, the trade union movement, occupational health and safety and adult education. My focus has been on empowering people and communities to find their voice and advocate for their needs to be met, whether it be in the workplace, their local area or within shared interest communities.

I enjoy volunteering as it provides an opportunity to address things that I consider important and that help to help make the world a better place, even if this is on a small scale.

Public housing is important: the provision of safe, secure, affordable housing for those in need provides stability and leads to possibilities for improving circumstances, making contributions and achieving goals.

The growth of public housing has declined as our population has increased; the challenge facing the VPTA is to put forward politically palatable, innovative solutions that increase supply. We also need to maintain our focus on improving service delivery. I believe we can do this through influence; developing positive, constructive relationships with the Department, governments of all persuasions and lead agencies active within the housing sector.

I aim to support the growth and positioning of the VPTA as a vital, valued organisation that assists public housing tenants on a day-to-day basis whilst being viewed as a responsible advocate for systemic improvements and significant growth.

Margaret Guthrie

Nina Xie – Treasurer

Having served as the Finance and Administrative Officer for the Victorian Public Tenants Association for more than 3 years, I am constantly moved and inspired by working with a great team who are committed to bettering other people’s lives.

I believe that the success of a welfare system, such as we have in Victoria, lies in the hearts of those who love and care for people in need. In the VPTA, I see such spirits embodied through the way we present and advocate as the voice of public housing tenants, and through the development of practical and effective solutions that are aimed at improving the management of the public housing system.

In the next 5-10 years, I see the provision of public housing as an essential underpinning of the social welfare system because of the increasing demand for affordable housing; I am certain that the VPTA has a bigger role to play as we build stronger networks and constructively engage with government. It is both exciting and personally rewarding to be part of this endeavour.

Jing Xie

Mark Feenane – Executive Officer and Board Secretary

Having worked in senior roles with Social Security and Local Government, I returned to the private sector as a consultant and was part of the team that won the Telstra and Australian Governments Business of the Year in 2004.

I joined the VPTA in 2012 to make a difference to people living in and needing public housing and to have a constructive and influential voice with Government decision makers and Housing Office staff.
Much of my work has been in social justice and helping those in greatest need. People are important.

There are many things that could be done to improve the Public Housing system to keep it as a viable, essential service and an important safeguard for those with no other housing option. Having a safe and secure place to call home is important.

A proper functioning public housing system must keep pace with the changing needs of the community and co-exist with other models of affordable social housing. We need to encourage Government to sponsor responsible home ownership schemes for those on lower incomes to help take the pressure off public housing. Public housing is imperative.

The VPTA must keep chipping away to improve the system and work collaboratively to find solutions to the many challenges faced. The VPTA should have as its legacy our contribution to a sustainable public housing system for generations to come. The work of the VPTA is important.

Mark Feenane

Christopher MacBean

I have been a Public housing tenant residing in Port Melbourne for over 17 years and am actively involved in my community. I have had a life-long interest in social justice and equity issues and have been an active volunteer and contributor to many organisations.

I believe that safe, secure and stable housing is a fundamental requirement to underpin the health and wellbeing of our communities. I have long been concerned about unacceptable Public Housing waiting lists, maintenance backlogs and inefficiencies in maintenance delivery, and the chronic shortage of new Public Housing stock.

I believe that I can bring my knowledge and experience to the VPTA Board in order to assist in dealing with these important issues affecting us all. Earlier in my life I owned and managed a hardware company for many years, and later held management positions in that industry. I have also worked in building management, aviation and the hospitality industry.

Over the past thirteen years I have been a volunteer and member of many working committees with Star Health (formerly Inner South Community Health), including as a Board Director (2010-2013). I also sit on an Advisory Group for Independent Mental Health Advocacy, a component of Victoria Legal Aid.

I would like to contribute to the good governance, and strategic work necessary for the
VPTA to progress its work in representing the interests of Public Housing Tenants and additionally in developing new policies and advocacy for public and social housing in Victoria.


Michael Aboujundi

I have been living in Public Housing for about 15 years since I came from Syria as a refugee. I work as a volunteer on the Walker Street Public Housing Estate in Northcote. I am also the advocate and spokesperson for the Walker St Residents Reference Group and I do project work for the VPTA.

I joined the VPTA to help improve Public Housing in Victoria.

The new VPTA Board will continue and expand the work of the previous Committee of Management with which I was involved for several years. The VPTA has a clear direction and strategy and is keen to engage with public housing tenants, to listen and to share information and experiences.

It is definitely an interesting and worthwhile journey. I look forward to my continuing involvement.

Michael Aboujundi

Daniel Jordan JP

A highly experienced Executive within University and NFP environments currently consulting in the NFP, Government and Private sectors on Strategy, Policy, Governance, Administration and Generalist HR/IR advice.

Formerly Executive Officer of Monash University Gippsland Student Union with a reporting line to a governing Board, and responsibility for up to 5 direct reports, 50 staff, 150 volunteers and managing a $2 million annual turnover.

Key capabilities include:

 Strategy
 Membership engagement / lobbying / campaigns
 Mediation / conciliation / negotiation
 Policy
 Compliance and regulatory
 Financial management
 Change management
 Project management
 Leadership
 Business process improvement
 Thought leadership, change and innovation
 Solutions development
 Completion of operating plans
 Optimisation of reporting throughout the business


Roberta Buchanan

I have worked in the not for profit housing sector for over 20 years in the UK and Australia.

Originally from Northern Ireland, I relocated to in 2009 and am the General Manager – Housing Services for the Housing Choices Australia Group. I am currently Deputy Chair of Community Housing Federation Victoria and an Alumna of Leadership Victoria.

Having grown up in the public housing system, I have first-hand experience and a passion of the critical role public housing plays within the wider housing system. I have a deep understanding of the needs of tenants and applicants. I am passionate about innovative models of tenancy management that focuses on engagement with tenants and works in partnership with support services to develop skills that helps people sustain tenancies and build better lives.

I have an extensive background including housing management, asset management, strategic planning, neighbourhood renewal and community engagement.

I am delighted to join the board to assist the VTPA to continue to positively and successfully contribute in advocating for a sustainable public housing system for the Victorian community.

Roberta Buchanan

Staff Members

David Hand – Office Administraton & Finance

In my role as the Administration and Finance Officer, I hope to contribute my knowledge and experience to the various administrative tasks and fiscal management of the Association.

I am passionate about equality on all levels for all citizens of the world. I chose to take on my role at the VPTA so that I could work with people facing disadvantage in the housing sector and contribute to helping them out. My previous employment was with the Victorian Caravan Parks Association, an industry that is not just for affordable tourism, but for emergency, crisis and affordable housing.

I see VPTA priorities as being to aid in the development of government housing policy and to actively focus attention on the need for more public housing to be built for future generations. It is important that current and future governments build sufficient affordable housing for low income citizens and that major cities do not subject their service and blue collar staff to housing stress or banishment to outer suburbs with all the ensuing problems that this causes.

At the VPTA, I aim to achieve a smooth and efficient running of the office and to support staff and the Board to address the Association’s mission.

David Hand

Michele McNeil – Community Tenancy Engagement Coordinator

I have worked in the homelessness sector (Community Housing and Public Housing) since 2005 and my passion for housing has grown since then. I have worked across many areas in housing such as SHASP, Housing Support, Tenancy Management and Community Engagement.

One of the main reasons I got into the homelessness sector was because I wanted to help those who were disadvantaged. I have strived throughout my housing career to assist people who have finally got a house to support them to keep it through tenant engagement. Having held frontline positions for different housing organizations, I have seen firsthand the challenges and issues that many tenants face day to day.

I joined the VPTA to provide greater opportunities to tenants to have a voice and to advocate for themselves to make positive changes of their living situation. I want to empower tenants through consumer participation and provide opportunities for tenants to work in partnership with relevant external agencies. I want to focus on creating strong relationships with the Housing Offices across Victoria so we can work together to provide tenants with options and opportunities to assist them to live the life they want and that they have access to affordable, secure housing.

Michele McNeil