The Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria is responsible for setting the standards for registration of disability workers and accreditation of approved programs of study.

The Board was appointed in August 2019 by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Minister.

The Board comprises the following members:

Melanie Eagle - Chairperson 

Melanie’s professional work spans population health, social policy, women’s policy, equal opportunity, future city strategic planning, and as a solicitor.

Melanie has extensive Board experience and recently retired as CEO of LiverWELL (incorporating Hepatitis Victoria). She was the inaugural Chair of Respect Victoria and served on the Board of Hepatitis Australia for a decade. She has served on the Board of Alfred Health for over seven years and was recently appointed to the Boards of St Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research as well as the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust. Melanie’s other roles have included: being a member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council, the Steering Committee of the Chronic Illness Alliance, the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation, and earlier as Mayor of St Kilda Council.

Melanie has qualifications in law, arts and social work, and international development and is a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors. She lives with epilepsy.

Christian Astourian

Christian is the manager of the Diversity and Disability program at the Migrant Resource Centre, Northwest Region.

He was President of the Cerebral Palsy Support Network, a Board Member of Scope Australia, a member of the Disability Advisory Committee for the City of Melbourne, a Vice Chairperson of Arts Access Victoria, a member of the Disability Reference Group for the Victorian Human Rights Commission, and Chairperson of the Disability Committee for the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia.

Christian is currently a board member of the Victorian Disability Services Board, member of the Moreland Council Disability Advisory committee, the University of Melbourne/Scope Australia partnership advisory board, the Scope Australia Independent Advisory Committee, and member of the Victorian government Community Advisory Council to the NDIS.

Christine Bigby

Christine is a Professor and Director of the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University.

She has a long track record of working in partnership with disability support organisations investigating the effectiveness of practice, and programs to support the social inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities. She is a leading academic in disability research with a deep knowledge of the literature. She has designed evidence-based training programs for disability support workers as well as created and taught graduate and post-graduate courses on disability practice.

Christine was the founding editor of the journal Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Gobi Chandran

Gobi Chandran Gobi currently works at Hearth Australia as an Advanced Practitioner (Specialist).  He is a registered nurse with a 30-year work history as a disability support practitioner with various Victorian state government departments including Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and Department of Health and Human Services.

He is a registered disability worker with the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria. Gobi holds a Graduate Certificate of Disability Studies (Positive Behaviour Support) from Deakin University, Specialist Certificate in Criminology (Forensic Disability) from the University of Melbourne, Diploma of Management (Community Services and Health).

He also has experience as a child protection advanced practitioner, practice leader and in supervisory roles in disability accommodation services.

Maryanne Diamond AO

Maryanne has lived with a disability all her life and is a parent of an adult son with a disability. She has worked extensively across the disability services sector, government, and leading organisations of persons with disability at the national and global level for over 25 years.

As President of the World Blind Union, Maryanne led civil society throughout the negotiations and adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to improve access to information for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled. As Chair of the International Disability Alliance, she was instrumental in disability being included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 -2030.

Maryanne currently sits on boards that include disability employment and international development. 

Colleen Furlanetto OAM

Colleen is a former nurse with a career spanning over 20 years.  Her previous work includes as a disability support worker, and acute care, aged care, and disability community nurse. As a former councillor and mayor in a small rural shire in Northeast Victoria, Colleen worked with a focus on improving community accessibility. Colleen was the inaugural Disability Commissioner at Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria, the regulator of the taxi and rideshare industry.

Colleen is an active volunteer with CFA, holding leadership roles in inclusion and diversity. She also assists in projects at CFA in person-centred emergency bushfire planning for people with accessibility needs, working with programs to support emergency preparedness with vulnerable Victorians.

Colleen is a current board member with Ambulance Victoria, along with other board roles supporting services for people with accessibility needs.

Colleen believes we all have a right to active citizenship. Colleen is committed to a right to respect and safety as a whole of community responsibility.

Alexandra Gunning

Alexandra commenced working in the disability sector in the early 1980s and has worked extensively in disability services for over 40 years.

Alexandra’s experience includes several disability-specific roles such as direct care, learning and development, behaviour intervention support specialist, forensic services, and project management (including capital and service redevelopment).  She has also held senior leadership roles with the Transport Accident Commission, in the not-for-profit community services sector, and with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Alexandra was instrumental in establishing one of the NDIA’s first trial sites in Victoria (Barwon) and has since worked in a variety of program areas across the NDIA including policy, provider registration, complaints, and participant experience delivery.

Jill Linklater

Jill is a registered nurse and consultant in health, disability, and aged care services and a certified quality management systems auditor and standards certification/accreditation assessor.

Jill’s other professional role is in board governance, as a non-executive board director with expertise in clinical governance, quality, and safety. She is actively involved as a consumer representative providing advice on the consumer health experience to hospital clinical committees and previously as a consumer invitee to a health service board.

Jill is a Fellow of, the Australian College of Nursing, a Fellow, of the Governance Institute of Australia; Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors; with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master’s in Health Administration, and a Graduate Diploma in Health and Medical Law. She was awarded a centenary medal for her contribution to medicine and the community.

Geoff Southwell

Geoff is CEO of Victorian disability advocacy agency Leadership Plus. He has many years of executive experience in information technology, operations, consulting and governance with small business, government and international enterprises as well as board experience in not for profit organisations.

He has been treasurer and chair of Express Media, and treasurer of Leadership Plus and the Mental Health Legal Centre, and is on the board of the Disability Advocacy Network Australia.  

Geoff has a Bachelor of Science and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.