Dominique Saunders has been a lawyer for almost 30 years, she was previously a social worker. She has held positions as General Counsel at Barwon Health, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Western Health, deputy president of the Mental Health Tribunal and special counsel in the health and aged care team of a respected mid-tier law firm.
For her achievements in the law she has been recognised by Australian Women Lawyers/Women Barristers Association for General Excellence In-House Government Law, as well as by the Law Institure of Victoria for General Excellence in Human Rights and Government Law.
She moved to Geelong in the summer of 2018 and runs a home based legal practice with a focus on health, ethics and diversity.
Cameron Bray has worked in social services and government since the early noughties. He spent over five years in London working to improve the social, health and housing services for disadvantaged people. This included a time working at a not-for-profit agency providing support to people with a disability and those experiencing homelessness.
Since 2008 he has held a variety of executive roles in the Victorian Public Service, with a focus on law reform in the criminal justice system. He has a particular interest in therapeutic justice and finding ways to prevent people – particularly young people – from entering the gaol system.
He is a comparatively new (and very happy) Geelong resident, having moved with his family from Melbourne in 2017.
Amanda Millear has been a member of Villamanta’s Committee of Management for more than 20 years and has held the position of Deputy Chair for a number of those years. Amanda is the second longest serving Committee member and a person who has a disability. As Deputy Chair, Amanda sometimes chairs the bi-monthly committee meetings which she enjoys. Amanda reminds us not to use jargon words and to think about other people’s needs at meetings. When she hears a jargon word she always asks for plain English and the meaning of the word.
Amanda has a big interest in the law and human rights and legal issues for people who have a disability. Amanda has been involved in the disability movement since 1980 and was part of the first self-advocacy group in Victoria and has been a very powerful self-advocate over the many years she has been involved in the disability sector. Amanda is familiar with and has used both State and Federal laws in many legal matters.
Deidre Griffiths is the principal lawyer and executive officer of Villamanta. Prior to working at Villamanta, Deidre worked in a mainstream law firm in several areas of law including Family Law, Wills and Estates and Criminal Law. Deidre has worked at Villamanta for 20 years, initially as a casework lawyer, also doing Policy and Law Reform work.
On behalf of Villamanta she has been an active member of Disability Advocacy Victoria Inc. (DAV Inc., formerly VDAN), the Disability Law Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria, the Portfolio Reference Group, working collaboratively on disability rights issues.
Michele Tucker completed her Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degrees at Deakin University in Geelong in 2007.
Michele is a sole practitioner, practising varied areas of law. Michele is also a casual academic at Deakin University, lecturing in Business Law.
Michele is passionate about social justice, wine, her hometown Geelong and the mighty Cats.
Darrell Harding is Villamanta’s Accounts Administrator. Darrell joined the Committee in 2019 and has been responsible for managing the finances and personnel since commencing at Villamanta in 2003.
Darrell lives disability and has an adult son with challenging behaviours. In addition to his position at Villamanta, Darrell also holds similar positions at Children and Young People with Disabilities Australia, Disability Discrimination Legal Service, Disability Justice Australia and Communication Rights Australia.
Shirley Humphris has a 7 year old granddaughter who was NDIS participant number 3 in July 2013. Getting the right plan for intense, complex needs has been an exhausting process for the family. That journey has been an eye-opener into the struggles for disability rights and the battle of bureaucracy.
Shirley is working as a Radiographer at Barwon Medical Imaging Hospital Geelong. She qualified in the UK and emigrated to Australia in the 70’s under the assisted passage scheme, with a plan to give it the two years required of the fare then return. She found the lifestyle and opportunity in Australia the best place to raise a family. Shirley studied part time at Deakin university and has a BA major in psychology.
Shirley was a stay at home mum with her four children and passionate about supporting new mums and their babies. She was active in the Childbirth Education Association, the establishing of Geelong Montessori kindergarten, formed the Leopold Nursing Mothers’ Association and was a qualified breastfeeding counsellor for 9 years.
With a background in the difficulties parents face without the complication of disability, Shirley has become an activist with a particular drive to enable the support for parents who are managing their own and/or their child’s disability as part of their parenting.
Shirley’s particular focus has been through sharing her learning of NDIS through social media and sadly seeing the distress of many struggling with lack of support. The imbalance of power dealing with government bodies, for those with intellectual and psychological disability is particularly disturbing. Shirley hopes to be of assistance to Villamanta’s work in addressing the legal rghts of people with disabilities.
Brenda currently lives in Geelong West after moving from Melbourne around six years ago. For 25 years, her professional life involved working with young people and adults who seek support and guidance to achieve their personal, educational and career goals.
Brenda’s work has lead to the development of strong networks in the youth, education and disability sector. She has worked in the Education and Welfare sectors both in Melbourne and Geelong. Brenda worked in a volunteer capacity for Villamanta for around two years.
Brenda’s son has complex disabilities so she has a broad knowledge of the disability sector. In her working life she had a strong commitment to supporting the families of young people by introducing them to options that will improve their relationships and communications and foster a positive was forward for their family.
Brenda’s interests are swimming, tango, reading, film and walking.
Brenda says she’s looking forward to working with Villamanta as a Committee member in 2020.