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

Chris Artufel

I have been volunteering for over 12 years. I am a passionate supporter of community-led initiatives and am active in my local area of Richmond.

I am an elected member of the Committee of the Richmond Community Learning Centre. We now have 2 new sites (Burnley Backyard and Studio 1 at the former Channel 9 TV site) as well as the original CLC site to manage. My next challenge is to lobby Council for a boys’ school to be built in Richmond.

I have also been involved with various nursing home facilities, visiting clients that are isolated from the community, having no social interactions other than with staff. This was an initiative of MS Victoria to raise funds for research.

I was on the former VPTA Committee of Management for over 7 years and in that time I have seen many changes and we have faced many challenges. My involvement has been very rewarding personally as the VPTA has gone from strength to strength and I hope that we continue to achieve our goals in the future.

Now that we have transitioned to a Board I am looking forward to not only working with a new team, but also being a part of an organisation that makes an even more positive difference to the lives of Public Housing Tenants. As a public housing tenant myself, I am truly ‘Public and Proud’!

Chris Artufel

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

Damian Ferrie

I have had many years of experience working in the fields of housing, urban renewal, health and community capacity building and have held senior executive roles in the public sectors of NSW and Victoria, as well as the not for profit healthcare sector. I am currently the CEO of Inner South Community Health Service, one of the larger community health providers in Victoria.

As someone who grew up in Public Housing, I understand the value of providing stable and affordable housing for low income families and the opportunities this provides for tenants to contribute to our communities.

In a former role as the first Director of the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal program, I was engaged with public housing tenants around the State to develop and implement initiatives which enabled their communities to make decisions about their future. It was also at this time that I forged a relationship with the VPTA.

I have a strong focus on community engagement and social justice. I believe it is important to be engaged in developing social policy that addresses the needs of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens and look forward to assisting the VPTA influence housing policy at the highest levels.

I have served on a number of not-for-profit Boards and think my experience will be of value to the VPTA in governance and strategic planning, with a focus on positioning the organisation to be responsive and adaptable to the challenges facing the public housing sector.

Damian Ferrie

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

Daniel

Megan Buntine

I have worked and volunteered across the human services and broader community sectors for over 25 years, as well as running my own businesses for the past 12.

I am the principal consultant of Megan J Buntine Consulting Services and our mission is to improve lives through the work we do. I specialise in supporting community organisations, small businesses, and individuals in the areas of Training and Compliance, Systems and Solutions.

In recent years I have worked with the VPTA, providing governance training to the former Committee of Management. I strongly support the values and purpose of the organisation.

I am very pleased to be part of the new VPTA Board as the Association moves into the exciting next phase of working towards representing all people living in public housing across Victoria.

I am keen to use my networks, knowledge and skills to help the VPTA achieve its aims and I hope that, through my involvement on the new Board, I can help others to achieve the things that are important to them in life.

Megan Buntine

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

Raoul Wainwright – Manager, Policy and Communications

 

Since graduating from university with degrees in law and politics, I have worked as an industrial advocate in the trade union movement and as a senior Ministerial Adviser in the Victorian Bracks and Brumby governments.

One of the reasons that I was keen to work for the VPTA was because of my history as a public housing tenant growing up on the Braybrook/Maidstone Estate. I am proud to have been a public tenant and am passionate about advocating for public housing.

The second thing that motivates me is the fact that housing in general, and affordable housing in particular, is an often neglected area of public policy. One of the main ways to deliver greater affordability for the whole community is to ensure that we have a viable and effective public housing sector.

My focus is to provide balance to the current portrayal of public housing tenants in the mass media. Those of us who have lived in public housing know of the many positive contributions that tenants make to their communities.

I want to help the VPTA to be a strong voice for public housing. Our goal should be to deliver a public housing sector in Victoria that meets the needs of low-income households.

Raoul Wainwright

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