Our People

Our 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 ongoing advice and expertise to the Association. The Board selects the 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 resolve issues, connect with their communities and be heard on issues relating to their housing.

Our Board

Margaret Guthrie – Chairperson

Margaret has lived in public housing for around 15 years and has been involved with the Victorian Public Tenants Association for most of that time.

Previously, Margaret has worked in psychiatric nursing, occupational health and safety, adult education and the trade union movement.

Throughout her career, Margaret has always focused on empowering people and communities to find their voice and advocate for their needs to be met.

Margaret enjoys volunteering, as it provides an opportunity to address issues she considers important, and helps make the world a better place.

She is vocal in her strong support for public housing – seeing it as providing stability and helping improve people’s circumstances.

Margaret believes the key role of the VPTA is to put forward innovation, politically palatable solutions to increase public housing supply and improve service delivery. She supports the growth and positioning of the VPTA by developing positive, constructive relationships with departments, lead housing agencies and governments of all persuasions.

Margaret Guthrie

Nina Xie – Treasurer

Nina previously served as the Finance and Administrative Officer for the VPTA for more than three years and is passionate about bettering people’s lives.

Nina believes that the success of a welfare system lies in the hearts of those who love and care for people in need. In the VPTA, she sees such spirits embodied through the way the team present and advocate for public housing tenants, and through the development of practical and effective solutions that are aimed at improving the management of public housing.

In the next 5-10 years, Nina sees the provision of public housing as essential to the social welfare system, as the demand for affordable housing increases. She is certain that the VPTA has a bigger role to play in this process, and is excited to be part of the team.

Jing Xie

Mark Feenane – Executive Officer and Board Secretary

Mark joined the VPTA in 2012 to make a difference to people needing and living in public housing, and to have a constructive and influential voice with decision makers and Housing Office staff.

Mark has extensive experience in social justice and has previously held senior roles in the social security and local government sectors. He has also worked in the private sector and was part of the team that won the Telstra and Australian Governments Business of the Year Award in 2004.

Mark believes there are many things that could be done to improve the public housing system to keep it as a viable, essential service, as well as an important safeguard for those with no other housing options.

In his advocacy work at the VPTA, Mark emphasises that 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.

He also believes that the government need to be encouraged to sponsor responsible home ownership schemes for those on lower incomes to help take the pressure off public housing.

Mark Feenane

Christopher MacBean

Chris has been a public housing tenant in Port Melbourne for over 17 years and is actively involved in his community.

He has had a life-long interest in social justice and equity issues, and has been an active volunteer for many organisations. Previously, he also owned and managed a hardware company and worked in building management, aviation and the hospitality industry.

Over the past 13 years, Chris has been a volunteer and member of committees with Star Health (formerly Inner-South Community Health), including as a Board Director from 2010-13. He currently sits on an Advisory Group for Independent Mental Health Advocacy, which is a component of Victorian Legal Aid.

Chris believes that safe, secure and stable housing is a fundamental requirement for the health and wellbeing of all communities. He has long been concerned about unacceptable public housing waiting lists, maintenance backlogs and inefficiencies in maintenance delivery, as well as the chronic shortage of new public housing stock.

Chris brings his knowledge and experience to the VPTA Board to help tackle these important issues.

McBean

Michael Aboujundi

Michael has been a public housing tenant for 15 years, since arriving in Australia as a Syrian refugee.

He has worked as a volunteer on the Walker Street Public Housing Estate in Northcote and is also an advocate and spokesperson for the Walker Street Residents Reference Group.

Michael joined the VPTA team to improve public housing in Victoria.

He was involved for several years with the previous VPTA Committee of Management and looks forward to his continued involvement in an organisation that is eager to listen and help tenants.

Michael Aboujundi

Daniel Jordan JP

Daniel is an experienced Executive within the university and not-for-profit sectors, and currently consults in the private, government and non-government sectors on strategy, policy, governance, administration, human resources and industrial relations.

Previously, Daniel has also been an Executive Officer of Monash University Gippsland’s Student Union, which reported to a Board and was responsible for 50 staff, 150 volunteers and a $2 million annual turnover.

His 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

Daniel

Roberta Buchanan

Roberta has worked in the housing sector for over 20 years, both in Australia and the UK.

Originally from Northern Ireland, she moved to Australia in 2009 and is now the General Manager of Housing Services for the Housing Choices Australia Group. She is also currently the Deputy Chair of Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIAVic) and an Alumna of Leadership Victoria.

Having grown up in the public housing system, Roberta has first-hand experience and a passion for the role public housing plays within the wider housing system.

She has a deep understanding of the needs of tenants and applicants. She is 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.

Roberta has an extensive background in housing management, asset management, strategic planning and community engagement.

Roberta Buchanan


Staff Members

David Hand – Office Administraton & Finance

David has responsibility for administrative tasks and the fiscal management of the VPTA.

He is passionate about equality on all levels and joined the VPTA team so that he could help people facing disadvantage in the housing system.

Previously, David has worked with the Victorian Caravan Parks Association, which does a lot of work with people needing affordable, emergency, or crisis housing.

He strongly believes that the role of the VPTA is to aid in the development of housing policy for future generations, and advocates for more housing stock to be built in our cities and regions to avoid housing stress.

David Hand

Michele McNeil – Community Tenancy Engagement Coordinator

Michele has worked in the community and public housing sectors for 13 years and is passionate about helping disadvantaged people.

Within these sectors, she has worked across many areas, including SHASP (now Tenancy Plus), Housing Support, Tenancy Management and Community Engagement.

Throughout her career, Michele has assisted people who have been homeless and housed; supporting them to keep their housing through ongoing engagement. Having held frontline positions for different housing organisations, she has seen firsthand the challenges and issues that many tenants face day-to-day.

Michele joined the VPTA to provide greater opportunities for tenants to have a voice. She wants to empower tenants through consumer participation and provide opportunities for them to work in partnership with relevant agencies. She also wants to focus on creating strong relationships with Housing Offices across Victoria, in order to provide tenants with options and opportunities.

Michele McNeil

Martha Haylett – Manager Policy & Communications

Martha has responsibility for the VPTA’s policy development and communications, and ensures that the organisation is a strong voice for public housing tenants with government policy makers, in the media and to the broader Victorian community.

Previously, Martha has worked as an Adviser in State Government, overseeing large-scale infrastructure projects. She also has housing and community sector experience, having worked and volunteered for several non-government organisations both locally and overseas.

Her background combines policy development and advocacy, project management, strategic communications and stakeholder management.

Martha