The Project

Committee of Management biographies

Dennis O’Brien

Dennis O'Brien, ChairChair

Dennis O’Brien was initially appointed in 2012 and reappointed in 2015 and again in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Dennis has held positions at several universities in Australia, most recently as the Director of Postgraduate Programs at Marcus Oldham College. Prior to that position, he was Associate Professor and Head of the Dookie Campus and Acting Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Land and Food Resources at the University of Melbourne.

He has a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), a Master of Science and a PhD.

Dennis has a strong history of community engagement through his board work at the national and state levels in NSW and Victoria. He has a strong belief in the ecological, social and commercial value of the wetlands to the local and regional community.

Dennis is also Chair of the Winton Wetlands Finance, Remuneration and Commercial Operating Sub- Committee.


Rob Carolane

Rob Carolane, Deputy ChairDeputy Chair

Rob Carolane was initially appointed in 2012 and reappointed in 2015 and again in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Rob Carolane is a self-employed consultant facilitator and community engagement practitioner based in Wangaratta. Prior to working as a facilitator, Rob worked for 5 years with EPA Victoria as a community engagement specialist.

Rob is currently Chair of The Centre for Continuing Education Inc. and is a volunteer with the CFA.

Rob joined the Committee to bring his knowledge and skills in ecology and community engagement to this vital project.

Qualifications include Bachelor of Science (Microbiology), Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation, Certified Professional Facilitator, Graduate, Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program and Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Rob is also Chair of the Winton Wetlands Governance, Audit and Risk Sub- Committee and a member of the Environmental Strategy Advisory Panel.


Ross Davies

Ross Davies, Member

Ross Davies was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Ross has a wide and diverse leadership career providing over 30 years experience delivering proactive solutions in agriculture, catchment management and the water industry. His extensive experience in government, policy and project delivery extends across a range of industries for the private and public sectors.

He is focussed on the delivery of programs and projects, to ensure recognition of the Wetlands and its key attributes.

He is a manager and architect with significant recent contributions to the water industry and its reform. His extensive business experience has given him the ability to navigate through the labyrinth of government process, to fast track real commercial outcomes, with multi-million dollar benefits, stakeholder confidence and a legacy for the future.

Ross has tertiary qualifications in agricultural science and agribusiness and is a qualified company director.

Ross is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Finance, Remuneration and Commercial Operations – Sub- Committee.


Cr Dave Fuller

Cr Dave Fuller, Rural City of Wangaratta

Councillor Dave Fuller representing Rural City of Wangaratta, was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Dave joined the Committee of Management with an excited interest in the restoration, rejuvenation, and the re-invention of the area known as Winton Wetlands.

Dave brings a range of experience from his work with Rural City of Wangaratta Council, and also ongoing roles including four years on the board of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues, two years chairing the Wangaratta Chamber of Commerce, and a number of other committees throughout the community.

Dave’s background in the commercial sector comes from a mixture of hospitality and finance in management and training.

He hopes that that during his time on the committee he will be able to advocate for the support the project needs, to increase the visibility of the project, and ensure its long-term viability.

Dave is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Arts and Culture Advisory Panel.

Suz Christison

Suz Cristison, Member

Suz Christison was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Suz’s passion for the outdoors and connecting people with natural places is what led her to Winton Wetlands Committee of Management.

With experience in group facilitation and training, Suz brings expertise in leadership development, community engagement, facilitation, strategic planning and group training. Through her background in Outdoor Education, she has experience of living and working in rural communities with a focus on sustainability and education.

Currently, Suz is secretary of the NESAY (North East Support and Action for Youth) Board, supporting young people and families in North East Victoria. She is also on the Whitfield District Primary school council and Whitfield CFA member.

Qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Outdoor Education), Graduate Certificate Adolescent Health and Welfare, Diploma in Facilitatory Management, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and The Australian Institute of Company Director’s course.

Suz is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Governance, Audit and Risk Sub-Committee.


Dennis Patterson

Dennis Patterson, MemberDennis Patterson was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Dennis has a long history of association with site – as a hunter on the original Winton Swamp and then as a fisherman on Lake Mokoan.

Dennis is a councillor and former Mayor of Greater Shepparton City Council. He holds the positions of Chair of River Connect (a joint program between Council and Goulburn Broken Catchment Authority), Shepparton Aerodrome and on The Murray Darling Basin Association.

He has previously held positions at a national level as a Board Member of Field and Game Australia and has been President / Conservation Officer of the Shepparton Field and Game during his 30-year membership with the Club.

Dennis has a passion for wetlands and strongly supports wetland education as a positive tool in engaging our younger generations and sees Indigenous Tourism as the sleeping giant for tourism in Australia.

Dennis is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Environmental Strategy Advisory Panel.


Suzy Martin

Suzy Martin, Member

Suzy Martin was initially appointed in 2012 and reappointed in 2015 and again in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Suzy lived in the region for 23 years. Prior to this she lived in Melbourne where she was marketing/merchandise manager of a national designer label.

Suzy has a long association with the region from several different aspects. Firstly through her work as a Councillor for Benalla Rural City Council from 2008 – 2016, secondly as a farmer through her membership of several farm groups and her work liaising with the clients of the cattle stud co owned with her husband Jim and finally through her experience participating in numerous Farmers Markets and Expos throughout the region.

Suzy was the Chair of the Benalla Festival for 6 years. In addition she is a member of the Benalla Art Gallery Advisory Committee.

Suzy is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Arts and Culture Advisory Panel.


Sue Lebish

Sue Lebish, Member

Sue Lebish was initially appointed 2015 and reappointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Sue has over twenty years of professional and senior management experience in finance, governance, project and risk management roles throughout Australia.

Sue’s other professional positions include being the Chair of the Audit Committee for the Alpine Shire, a member of the Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board, Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board and Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management Board.

Sue’s formal qualifications include being a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Certified Practising Accountant, a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Commerce, and she is also a Member of the Australian Risk Policy Institute.

Sue believes in the development of the commercial, ecological and social value of the Winton Wetlands to the local and regional communities.

Sue is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Finance, Remuneration and Commercial Operations – Sub-Committee.


Don Firth

Don Firth, Mayor of Benalla and Benalla Council Representative

Don Firth, representing Benalla Rural City Council, was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Don has lived in Benalla nearly all his life and his family has been involved in sport, education, business and community services in for four generations.

He has served on local committees such as Cooinda Village, Apex, Benalla Saints Football Club, All Blacks Football Club and TAFE Advisory Committee.

Elected to the Benalla Rural City Council for the term 2016 to 2020, he is currently in his second term as Mayor.

He has been a long-time user of Lake Mokoan including water skiing and fishing. He is interested in the future use of Winton Wetlands as an eco-tourism destination and in showing the indigenous history of the area before European settlement.

Don is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Governance, Audit and Risk Sub- Committee.


Lindy Allen

Lindy Allen, Member

Lindy Allen was appointed in 2018 to serve until 2021.

Lindy is a highly-experienced senior executive currently operating Living- Proof Media, a consultancy to the arts. Lindy moved to North-East Victoria three years ago and is interested in the rich layers of ancient and post-colonial history embodied in the site.

Recent professional roles include CEO, Regional Arts Australia and CEO, Regional Arts Victoria. Lindy was also the Executive Producer for the Centenary of Canberra’s largest national community engagement program, One River, spanning four states and a territory.

Current board roles include the Cultural Development Network and Falls Creek Resort Management. Lindy has also been a judge and mentor for the Victorian Tourism Industry Commission awards and an Australia Day Ambassador.

Professional qualifications include Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma Arts Management, Photojournalism Major, Bachelor of Creative Arts and Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Lindy is also a member of the Winton Wetlands Finance, Remuneration and Commercial Operations – Sub- Committee and Convenor of the Arts and Culture Advisory Panel.