PMAT Board Members
Kerry Burns - President
Kerry joined the PMAT Board in September 2020.
He has a longstanding interest in planning and heritage issues in Tasmania, with particular concerns about the changes state governments have made to the Tasmanian land use planning system over recent years and how these will affect local communities.
He is an active participant in local community affairs, including 15 years’ involvement with the Glebe Residents’ Association. He is also a member of the Tasmanian Planning Information Network (TasPIN) and the Council of Hobart Community Associations (CHCA).
Kerry has extensive public policy experience – mainly on social issues – including in the health, disability, volunteering and social housing fields, as well as in broader intergovernmental relations. He has previous governance experience, both as a Board member and Chair of a medium-sized not-for-profit organisation.
Kerry has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Tasmania, specialising in coastal geomorphology.
Jill Hickie - Vice-President
Jill has longstanding, broad experience in local government and involvement in community. Her diverse skills are a perfect fit for the PMAT Board.
Jill has a deep passion for conservation and protection of natural values, her early activism led her to pursue studies at the University of Tasmania graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Plant Science and Geography), and then assisting research into the botanical and conservation values of rare and threatened plant species and habitats across Tasmania.
Her academic background in natural area and land use planning, led to Jill’s 29-year career with the City of Hobart. She established the City’s first Bushland Management Unit, managing training, Bushcare, rehabilitation projects, and then broader open space planning, policy development and strategic planning across Hobart’s parks and reserves.
Strong involvement in local community is integral to Jill’s values. She led the Taroona Community Association for 15 years and has been involved with many local issues including advocating on residential and business developments, road and pedestrian safety improvements, protection of bushland and improvements to local amenities.
Jill’s governance experience includes roles on the Tasmanian Boards of the early days of Greening Australia, Environmental Defenders Office, Society for Growing Australian Plants, Parks and Leisure Australia (Vic/Tas) and Taroona Community Association.
Jill joined the PMAT Board in 2022.
Alvaro Ascui - Treasurer
Alvaro brings valuable expertise to the PMAT Board with a background in business, finance, strategy and management. He has experience reporting to Boards and in organisational compliance, safety protocols, developing business plans and securing government grants.
A Bachelor of Science (Murdoch University, Western Australia) majoring in economics, ecology and statistics, Alvaro has extensive research, financial and statistical analysis skills.
During his career, he has managed significant and complex projects. He held various project management roles in the Department of State Growth over a ten year period and prior, was with the Northern Tasmanian Regional Development Board. For five years, Alvaro was a Director and Treasurer on the Australian Furnishing Research and Development Institute Board. He is currently a private consultant.
Alvaro joined the Board in 2020 and holds the role of PMAT Treasurer.
Anna Pafitis - Secretary
Anna has a long history in planning and community engagement. A teacher with a post graduate degree in Environmental Planning (Hons), Anna chose community advocacy as a way of seeking better planning outcomes rather than pursuing a professional planning career.
Well before MONA, Anna actively advocated for the recognition of the power of the arts to lead economic recoveries, forming a group advocating for the establishment of a cultural precinct and an iconic building to house local and international art. This led to an appointment as a member of the Community Leaders Group for the Tasmania Together project, instigated by then-Premier Jim Bacon, consulting with communities across Tasmania to develop a 20-year vision, goals and targets for the island.
Her recent focus has involved raising awareness within her local community of the changes proposed in the Tasman municipality draft LPS (Local Planning Schedule) and encouraging residents to submit representations.
Anna joined the PMAT Board in July 2021.
Louis Barnett - Board Member
Louis Barnett is a Graduate Planner. As the Board’s first professional planner, he is an important addition to the skills-based PMAT Board.
Originally from Adelaide, Louis moved to Hobart in 2021 to complete a Graduate Diploma of Environmental Planning at UTAS, and to undertake an internship with the University’s sustainability team. He is now enrolled in a Master of Planning, also at UTAS, and has commenced in the role of graduate planner at Glenorchy City Council.
Louis joined the PMAT Board in September 2021 after responding to an invitation to UTAS student/graduate planners to submit an EOI for a position on the Board. Louis stated that securing a role on the Board was a way he could support PMAT’s work in pursuit of stronger and more inclusive planning provisions.
Following a Statutory Land Use Planning course, Louis has developed a strong interest in planning matters from a statutory perspective. He shares PMAT’s concerns over Tasmania’s planning laws and believes planning plays a crucial role in conserving social, heritage and environmental values.
Jennie Churchill - Board Member
Jennie joined the PMAT Board in 2019.
She brings diverse skills and experience to the Board, with more than 30 years leadership, governance and management experience across diverse fields – not-for-profit organisations and Boards, media and communications, government advisory roles, and a former 20 year career as a veterinary scientist and business owner. Her not-for-profit roles included CEO of the Veterinary Science Foundation at the University of Sydney. She has a Graduate Diploma in Marketing and hands-on fundraising experience.
A Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Jennie has significant governance experience from holding roles on diverse Boards since 2006.
Jennie is currently Chair of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, Secretary of East Coast Alliance Inc. and a member of the University of Tasmania Animal Ethics Committee.
John Maynard - Board Member
John is Secretary and Treasurer of the Blackmans Bay Community Association Inc. He has a strong interest in state government planning policies and their potential impact on the lives of Tasmanians. A Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, John was elected to the PMAT Board in September 2020.
John’s professional life was grounded in agriculture – as an agronomist, farm adviser, business and economic consultant, and assessor of compliance with the Tasmanian State Policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land. A former Advisory Board member of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, John also held the roles of Director and Board member of the private agricultural consulting firms Davey & Maynard and Macquarie Franklin, and of Houstons Farm, Tasmania’s largest salad vegetable producer.
John has extensive experience relevant to PMAT, including working with land owners, developers, Councils and surveying firms on DAs (development applications) and other planning issues relating to the use and development of agricultural land.
Sophie Underwood - State Director
As PMAT’s State Coordinator and co-founder, Sophie is the well-known public face of PMAT. One of her driving forces is to make a real and meaningful impact on the protection of Tasmania’s unique natural and cultural environment by ensuring the community is engaged, informed, empowered and has their voices heard by decision makers.
Sophie has a background in geography, environmental studies, campaigning and community engagement, botany, politics and natural resource management. She gained a Bachelor of Science First Class Honours from the University of Tasmania, with a thesis written on the vegetation of the west coast of Flinders Island. Sophie has worked in natural resource management both in Tasmania and overseas in the public and private sector.
Sophie founded the Freycinet Action Network and has 25 years’ involvement and experience in local planning issues on the East Coast, adding to her deep knowledge of broader Tasmanian planning systems and legislation.
In her role as State Coordinator Sophie undertakes extensive, hands-on community and media engagement and advocacy right across Tasmania, and has played the key role in mobilising PMAT’s alliance of almost 70 community member groups.
Monique Kreis - Communications Consultant
Monique brings to PMAT broad skills and experience in marketing, public relations, event coordination, graphic design, website design, development and management, and social/digital communications.
Since commencing part time work for PMAT in May 2023, Monique has played an important role in raising the communications capacity, public and media awareness and reach of the organisation.
Perhaps her most vital and exciting achievement has been the complete rebuild and design of PMAT’s new website, launched in January 2024 – the first time this has been undertaken since the organisation’s inception in 2016.
Monique’s most recent prior role was as Marketing Manager for Nayri Niara, a successful Tasmanian Indigenous Social Enterprise based in Hobart.
Anne Harrison - Volunteer, Past President
Anne was a founding member of the Tasmanian Planning Information Network (TasPIN), association formed when the local Blackmans Bay community and others in Tasmania realised the significance and potential negative impact of the Tasmanian planning reforms.
Anne formally became President of PMAT at incorporation in 2018, and remained in that role until retiring from the Board in 2021. She continues to support and undertake voluntary work for PMAT.
Anne has long been involved in local planning issues, first in Perth, and then Hobart, and has considerable knowledge of planning systems and reforms. She was President of the Blackmans Bay Progress Association for five years and remains a committee member.
Anne has a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Diploma of Education (Dip Ed), a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and holds piano qualifications in performance and teaching (AMusA and TMusA). She taught humanities and music and continues to teach piano. Her diverse skills saw Anne become Tasmanian Manager of Young Achievement Australia (YAA), undertaking all YAA business development, promotion, sponsorship, training, media strategies and event management.
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