VFA Board of Directors

Ms Gail Owen (VFA Board Chair)

Ms Owen is an experienced chairperson, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and an Order of Australia medal recipient. Ms Owen has been an inaugural member of two boards previously, so will provide the strong, integrity-driven leadership required in the VFA's establishment phase. Ms Owen's background has provided exposure to many of the areas relevant to the VFA and therefore has a broad knowledge to draw on for the specific issues which may arise.

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Mr Graeme Dear (VFA Board Deputy Chair)

Mr Dear has had a long association with fisheries managers and research scientists, providing him with knowledge and expertise in the issues pertaining to recreational and commercial fishing decisions in Victoria. As CEO of East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority he has a thorough understanding of managing statutory authorities in Victoria, including engaging with and building partnerships with agency and community stakeholders.

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Dr Bernadette Northeast (VFA Director)

Dr Northeast's formal qualifications relate to aquatic science and aquaculture (including a PhD relating to Australian freshwater fish). Dr Northeast's science expertise is well complemented by a number of directorship and regional community activities. Dr Northeast brings a solid knowledge of governance from her board and chair experience and is currently a director on the board of South West Healthcare.

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Mr David Shirer (VFA Director)

Mr Shirer holds academic qualifications in Marine Biology and spent ten years in the fisheries industry in New Zealand, gaining experience in research and in commercial fishing operations and management. Further qualifications in business and finance provided Mr Shirer with the opportunity to move into the financial sector, establishing a career as one of Australia's senior investor relations practitioners, with experience in a wide range of industrial sectors. Mr Shirer has broad experience in international financial markets as well as having had significant exposure at Board level.

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Mr Yorick Piper (VFA Director)

Mr Piper is an experienced advisor, having spent time in the Office of Premier and as a Ministerial Chief of Staff. He has a deep knowledge of government and stakeholder engagement, industrial relations and has been key in all his roles. In addition, Mr Piper is passionate about fishing, fishing policy development and the importance of education in this Authority.

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Ms Joelle Tabone (VFA Director)

Ms Tabone is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years' experience providing business advisory and compliance services to a wide range of private, government and not-for-profit organisations. Ms Tabone’s expertise spans several disciplines, including business strategy, accounting, structuring and financial reporting. Ms Tabone’s significant business, governance and accounting skills enables her to assist the VFA from a position of knowledge and experience.

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Ms Leigh Mackay (VFA Director)

After working as a lawyer for 12 years, Leigh has held senior executive positions in organisations such as CSR, The Port of Melbourne Authority and the NGV. Her recent board appointments have included the Victorian Heritage Council and the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust. She was awarded an OAM in 2019.

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Mr David Parkin (VFA Director)

Mr. Parkin is a Trawlwulwuy man from Tebrakunna country and a current director on the board of the Kinaway Chamber of Commerce. He brings a deep cultural perspective to the VFA and any future planned activities. David has widespread professional involvement in First Nations entrepreneurial and business activities and highly developed stakeholder engagement skills that consistently build productive working relationships. Much of his work has been in areas of regional Victoria, recognised by the AmCham Alliance Ambassador's Award in 2022.