Our Board

The 2019-2020 Rural Alive & Well Inc Board is made up of the following nominated representatives:

Ian McMichael - OAM


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.

Ian was named on the Queen's Birthday Honour list in 2019 with an Order of Australia Medal for his dedicated and longstanding commitment to community health in rural areas. 

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.

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. 

Andrew Dunbabin


Andrew Dunbabin has been a Chartered Accountant for forty years with his field of expertise being in the area of accounting for small businesses and in particular for farming businesses. In recent years this interest has focussed on succession planning and business structures. Throughout his career, Andrew has always owned and operated small farms in Tasmania, at Inverleigh near Geelong, and at Bannockburn in Victoria.  This has given him a special understanding of the farming business and farmers.

He has always had an interest in physical pursuits including running, kayaking, and bushwalking.  His passive interests include reading and collecting Royal Doulton series ware, and the life of Winston Churchill.

Andrew had a long association with The Geelong Performing Arts Centre and United Way (now Give Where You Live) in Geelong, and Geelong YMCA.  Current involvements are with The Bream Creek Show Society and The Dunalley Community Fellowship Group.

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.

Virginia Mudie


Virginia joins the Board of RAW with significant experience across Unions, Government, NGO's, and Business.

Prior to retirement, Virginia was General Manager for New Zealand Pilots' and Air Traffic Controllers Association where she was responsible for the day to day running of an organisation of 12 employees and over 2200 members.

Her experience within the Commonwealth Government includes Deputy Director of the Australian Antarctic Division managing the logistics as well as being an Executive member on the International Committee for Antarctic Programs. As a Senior Executive in the Commonwealth in Canberra for Family and Community Services as well as Centrelink she gained significant exposure to the Parliamentary processes, Ministers and the workings of the bureaucracy.

Virginia has been a teacher in Business Studies in Scotland and has run her own indoor plant micropropagation business servicing growers in UK and Europe.

Her significant interest, in the past, were flying and car racing. However, more sensibly she now enjoys fly fishing with her partner Campbell. Gardening and cooking their home produce take up time when she is not playing with her two miniature schnauzers, Stella and Mick.

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. 

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.

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.

Lynn Mason


Lynn is currently Deputy Chairman of the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia, Deputy Chairman of Crimestoppers Tasmania, a member of the Joint Commonwealth and Tasmanian Economic Business Advisory Council, and a member of Tasmania’s local government Code of Conduct Panels.

Previously, Lynn has been a member of a Board of Inquiry into Glenorchy City Council, Chairman of the Tasmanian Community Fund, Chairman of Metro Tasmania, a Director of Quadrant Superannuation, a member of the Local Government Board, Chairman of Tasmanian Affordable Housing Ltd, Mayor of Flinders Council, President of the Local Government Association Tasmania, Senior Vice President of the Australian Local Government Association, Telstra Business Woman of the Year and Westpac Australian Business Owner of the Year.

Lynn is joint owner and financial director of her family’s business operations, which include farming livestock on Flinders Island, and cropping, livestock, and equine agistment in northern Tasmania. Other business operations include commercial fishing and contracted aeroplane charter in Western Australia.

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.

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 Beyond Blue from 2003 to 2010.

Since leaving Beyond Blue, Leonie has worked in a range of national and state health advisory roles and as a Board director for RAW 2011-2018. Other roles have included; 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 Beyond Blue; Community volunteer for East Coast Regional Development Organisation (ERDO) Tasmania.

Leonie has accepted the role as RAW Ambassador following her hard work on the board increasing the brand awareness of rural community support in suicide prevention and activities for rural men and their families in Tasmania.