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 and women’s policy, equal opportunity, future city strategic planning, and as a solicitor.

She is currently CEO of Hepatitis Victoria and Chair of Respect Victoria, and serves on the Boards of Alfred Health and Hepatitis Australia. 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 the Mayor of St Kilda Council.

Melanie has qualifications in Law, Arts and Social Work, International Development and is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors. She lives with epilepsy.

Christian Astourian

Christian is manager of the Diversity and Disability program at the Migrant Resource Centre North West Region.

He was President of the Cerebral Palsy Support Network, Board Member of Scope Australia, member of the Disability Advisory Committee for the City of Melbourne, Vice Chairperson of Arts Access Victoria, 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 and Scope Australia Independent Advisory Committee.

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 disability. 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 is a registered nurse with a 30-year work history as a disability support practitioner.

Since 1997 he has been employed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as an Advanced Behaviour Support Practitioner. He currently works in the DHHS Bendigo office, where he is responsible for a large region stretching all the way to the NSW border.

Maryanne Diamond AO

Maryanne has lived with disability all her life and is a parent of an adult son with 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 North East 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 centered 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.

Stephanie Gotlib

Stephanie joined Communication Rights Australia in September 2019 as the Chief Executive Officer. Previously she was the Chief Executive Officer of Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) from 2009 until April 2019.

Stephanie has a social work background and has worked in the area of disability for more than 25 years. Stephanie also has experience of disability as a parent and sibling.

Stephanie has significant experience in advocacy. This has included membership of many Ministerial Advisory Committees and Expert Advisory Groups pertaining to a broad areas of relevance including disability, children, education, young people, family sectors and the establishment of the NDIS.

Stephanie’s experience has enabled her to confront issues regarding fairness, equal opportunity, participation in the community, acceptance of differences and “best practice” in service delivery. Stephanie has frequently challenged the system to make improvements for people with disability.

Alexandra Gunning

Alexandra has worked extensively across the disability services sector for over 38 years, having commenced in the Disability sector in early 1981.

Her experience includes a number of disability specific roles including direct care, learning & development, behaviour intervention support specialist, forensic services and project management (including capital and service redevelopment).  Alexandra has also held senior leadership roles with the Transport Accident Commission, community services sector and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Alexandra was instrumental in establishing one of the Agency first trial sites in Victoria (Barwon), and has since then managed a number of program areas across Policy, Provider Registration and Access and Planning divisions.

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 for health and disability services.

Jill’s other area of professional work is board governance, as a board director with expertise in quality and safety, and involved in disability services, health services and aged care services and is currently a member of the Disability Services Board Victoria. Jill is actively involved as a consumer representative providing advice on the consumer health experience to hospital clinical committees and as a consumer invitee to a health service board.

Jill is a Fellow, Australian College of Nursing, Fellow, Governance Institute of Australia and a Graduate Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jill has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Masters, Health Administration and Graduate Diplomas in Health and Medical Law.

Paul Ravenarki

Paul is a proud advocate and champion of rights for people with disability and has been for over 20 years. The levels of advocacy include being on the frontline supporting all levels of disability in the human being as well as being a part of systemic and transitional change to how people with disability are viewed and treated from a managerial level.

Paul is also a proud indigenous Australian whose mob has its roots in Waka Waka country in Queensland. Paul is vision impaired however, his area of expertise is Autism and the advocacy for those on the spectrum.

Paul has represented Australia in the sport of Blind Cricket and has toured countries such as India and Pakistan in various World Cups. Paul is married with three children and currently works at Whitefriars College as an Accessibility & Inclusivity Officer.

Scott Sheppard

Scott is a senior executive leader in the Australian disability sector and currently CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Support Network. He is highly committed to making a positive difference to the lives of people affected by disability, and combines a commercial and social services mindset to the development of strategy and direction, balancing business performance and profitability with community service delivery.

Passionate about human rights and social justice, his aim is to continue to work in a leadership capacity to ensure the delivery of customer-driven, quality, safe and affordable disability services that enable people to live their best possible lives.

Scott has a master’s degree in applied science and is a Williamson Leadership Fellow. He has served on a number of Government and sector Taskforces and Boards.

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.