Our Board

The 2017-2018 Rural Alive & Well Inc Board is made up of the following nominated representatives:

Ian McMichael


Ian has over 48 years of experience in rural management and education across Australia. Among his qualifications; Ian graduated with a Diploma of Farm Management (Hons); is an Honorary BBus; was a past Council Member and Director of Marcus Oldham College in Geelong VIC, Australia's Oldest Private Tertiary Institution; and was Chairman of the Planning and Development committee for twenty years. Ian was also a Councillor of the Central Highlands Municipality, and founding Partner and Director of McMichael & Assoc. Rural Management, Investment & Consulting Group.

As well as chairing various community organisations in rural areas, Ian was for 7 years, Chair of the Central Highlands Community Health Services Consultative Committee. He also directs various private business venture companies, and was awarded the Australian Nuffield Farming Scholar in 1981. Ian is passionate about agriculture, rural community wellbeing and helping those in need.

Nick Goddard


Nick has been a public servant for 39 years, including 25 years in senior roles within the Department of Health and Human Services. This has included senior management roles in mental health, alcohol and drug services, as well as roles with a focus on strategic planning, policy development, intergovernmental relations, resource allocation and information management. Nick has had extensive experience in the provision of high level, and strategic advice to ministerial level and a strong focus on working constructively with consumers and other key stakeholders in the public and non-government sectors.

Nick has been the Tasmanian representative on the national Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Principal Committee; Chair of Tasmania’s Suicide Prevention Committee and a member of the Inter Agency Working Group on Drugs and many other relevant committees.

Anne Downie


Anne Downie has lived and worked in the Central Highlands of Tasmania for thirty-three years and understands many of the issues facing rural communities.  She has completed a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education at the University of Tasmania.  In 2004 Anne completed a graduate certificate in counselling and has trained in family facilitation with particular focus on rural farming families. She is a full time mother of four and director of a family farming business. 

Anne’s background in farming and counselling gives her the knowledge of the issues rural Tasmanians face on a daily basis, and how these can be overcome. 

Dianne Fowler


Dianne is a Founding Board Member of RAW, with her invaluable knowledge of farming, the lifestyle and the challenges, her background is just an example of her experience. Dianne’s qualifications include a BA with Honors in Psychology and she is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. (MAICD)

Dianne is a past Director and Vice President of Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association (TFGA) and the Chair of Audit & Risk committee for 6 years; a past Director of Rural Financial Counselling Service; Dianne is also a member of the TFGA Wool Council. Dianne served her community as a Local Government Councilor for the Central Highlands for eight years. Diane is the Founding Chair of the Australasian Golf Museum, and also the Founding Chair of the Central Highlands Community & Economic Development Committee. She is the Agribusiness Partner responsible for Business planning, Finance, WH&S, Quality Assurance, accounting & industry issues. Dianne understands how hard times can be, and wants to promote a happy farming lifestyle functioning in a strong rural community. 

Robin Thompson


Robin Thompson is a farmer and resident of Dorset. He is also an Agricultural Scientist who has worked to provide research, development and extension (RD&E) to support agriculture through local, national and international programs.  Robin has recently changed roles to establish and manage Game Services Tasmania within the Department of Primary Industries Parks Water and Environment, and is responsible for Government funding of RD&E and various programs that support Tasmanian agriculture and communities.  

Robin has experience in policy development, analysis and implementation, ministerial support and is a Tasmanian representative on a number national committees and working groups. He is current Chairman of Northbourne Park Association Inc.: Board member of Dorset Economic Development Group; Member of the Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme Working Group; Past President of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale; and Rotary Tasmania District Board Member.

Noel Beven


Noel grew up on a farm in Campania where dairying was the major enterprise. He worked on the farm when he finished school, as well as for a neighbouring farmer and contractor. Noel has active involvement in the Rural Youth Organisation, and was State President until 1983, concurrently chairing the committee to establish Agfest. He was awarded the organisations Service Award, and is also a proud Life Member.

Noel started his own farming and contracting business at a young age, he leased and shared farmed land throughout the district to grow a variety of irrigated crops.

From 1984–2000 Noel worked with Tasmanian Alkaloids as Field Officer, organising farmers to grow poppies across all areas of southern Tasmania. After this role, he returned home to concentrate on farming and contracting, he also managed the establishment of a major vineyard. Noel re- joined the Field Service of Tasmanian Alkaloids after the painful 2004-08 drought, where he still looks after southern growers.

Noel served on the executive committee of the Coal River Products Association for many years, holding office as Secretary and later Chairman. Noel has served as Director on the Board of TFGA for the maximum of three, three year terms. Noel and his wife Rosalie today produce mainly prime lambs and field crops and operate contract tillage, seeding, fodder conservation, harvesting and transport services.

Ron Christie


Ron is the Deputy Lord Mayor of Hobart, elected to Council in March 1999 and October 2002. He is Chairman of Economic Development & Marketing Events Committee, Chairman of Salamanca Market Committee; Chairman of the North Hobart to Salamanca Transit Committee; Committee member of Festivals & Events, Strategic Governance, Finance and City Services; and is currently a Board Member of Rural Alive and Well (RAW).

Ron studied at the Caulfield Institute of Technology in Melbourne and the University of Tasmania. He was awarded the Australian Marketing Institute Award (Tasmania) in 1991 & 1995, and the Australian Silver Logie Award in 1991 as a Tasmanian Television Personality. He is also the State Marketing Manager for Wyllie Tiles Tasmania.

Leonie Young MAICD


Leonie has been working in the public and not-for-profit sectors for 30 years. She has implemented and led Australia-wide health, mental health and primary care reform strategies as a successful CEO, Board Director, NGO leader, State Manager and public sector executive.  Leonie was CEO and Board Director of beyondblue from 2003 to 2010.

Since leaving beyondblue and returning to live in Tasmania, Leonie has worked in a range of national and state health advisory roles and as a Board director, joining RAW’s Board in May 2011. Her current roles include; Member Australian Institute Company Directors (AICD); Board Director National Parent & Infant Research Institute (PIRI); Deputy Chair of the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (AGCF); National Chair, Grow mental health & wellbeing; Ambassador and speaker for beyondblue; Community volunteer for East Coast Regional Development Organisation (ERDO) Tasmania.

Dr Rob Walters


Dr Rob Walters has been a practising GP in Hobart for 34 years, he graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1979.

Rob is also a medico-legal adviser and case manager for the Medical Indemnity Protection Society (MIPS) in Tasmania and sits as a part-time member on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Between 2002 and 2005, Rob was the Chair of the Australian Divisions of General Practice (ADGP now AGPN).

He has and continues to serve on a number of national boards and councils representing General Practice; including the Headspace board; the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council; and previously the Beyondblue Clinical Reference Council; National Advisory Council on Mental Health; and National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention. He is past Chair of the Cancer Council of Tasmania, and was a National Men’s Health Ambassador advising the Federal government on policy relating to male health matters.

One of Rob’s interest is in Occupational Medicine; he is the Medical Director on the Tasmanian Work Cover Board. He consults regularly to insurers on medical matters related to Workers Compensation.

Rob holds the rank of Colonel in the Australian Army Reserve and was a Consultant to the Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force on General Practice for the Army, Navy and Air Force. In 2002 he served overseas in East Timor with the UN Forces. 

Rob joined the board of RAW in 2011.

John Tuskin


John Tuskin has spent over thirty years in agriculture commencing at leading independent rural supplies firm TP Jones & Co in 1986. He progressed to becoming a shareholder in 1996 to being appointed Managing Director in 2008. He over saw the acquisition of TP Jones by National ASX listed Rural Service provider Ruralco Holdings. This saw John become Executive General Manager of Rural Services Tasmania which takes in both the Roberts Ltd & TP Jones brands. Roberts Ltd is Tasmania's largest rural services organisation covering Rural Supplies, Wool & Livestock Agency and Real Estate both Rural & Residential. Prior to this role John was Non-Executive Director of Ruralco Holdings Ltd and Non-Executive and founding director of XLD Grain Pty Ltd an independant grain marketing company. In this time he also was involved with many industry bodies both state and national.

John Jones - OAM


John was born in Oatlands as a sixth generation Tasmanian and is the founding member of RAW. He established the organisation in 2008, when he was successful in receiving a funding grant from the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Health & Ageing. This journey began in 2006 when John convened several community forums in Oatlands exploring the issue of suicide prevention.  He was concerned about the health and well-being of rural communities recovering from severe droughts, and the lack of early intervention mental health support for rural people.

As a Councillor, in May 2007, John moved to the Southern Midlands Council to create a Special Committee of Council (SCC) to address the issues arising from the forums, he was appointed and remained Chairman of the SCC.  This led to the successful funding grant in 2008 which established Rural Alive & Well.  In April 2009 the SCC incorporated the project as an independent body in the separate ‘not for profit’ organization Rural Alive & Well Inc.  John was appointed inaugural President and retired in December 2010. Through his significant contribution to RAW, John was appointed as the inaugural RAW Ambassador and he continues to champion the cause on many fronts.

John has been Director and Managing Director of private companies in farming, State and Interstate aerial aviation, air maintenance, manufacture, and transport. He has experience in Overseas Representation & Marketing; has been the Past Director of Australian Aerial Agriculture Association; Founder and inaugural Chairman, and Life Member, of Tasmanian Truck Owners State Association; is past President Tasmanian Transport Council; Honorary Life Member National Transport Federation Australia; Past Chairman of Central Tasmanian Tourism Board, past Councillor and Treasurer for Green Ponds Municipal Council for nine years; past Councillor and Deputy Mayor for Southern Midlands Council from 2005 to 2014, and Past Chairman of Special Council Committee in 2006.

John has received Recognition of dedication and outstanding service to Regional Tourism Development in 1999; Community Tourism and Youth Development Award in 2002; Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for contribution to the community and to the Transport Industry in 2006; and State Rural Health Community Award in 2009.