The Southern Metropolitan Partnership is an advisory group established by the Victorian Government. The Partnership is a way for local communities to engage directly with state and local governments, and advise the Victorian Government of the top priorities for jobs, services and infrastructure across the region. This advice will be become part of the government’s key decision-making processes.

The Southern partnership is taking a deeper dive into their priority issues to explore how we can better connect people in the Southern region to learning and skill building opportunities, mental health services, jobs and each other.

The Partnerships are generally made up of 15 members from across each of the six metropolitan regions. Membership includes up to nine community and business representatives with varied backgrounds, experiences and networks, the CEO of each of local government in that region and a Deputy Secretary from the Victorian State Government.

Tracey CooperTracey Cooper is the CEO of Dokio. She is also the Chair and Non-Executive Director on boards, including Audit & Risk, Asset & Infrastructure, and Nomination/Remuneration Committees. Tracey has a Bachelor of Commerce, a Masters in Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.Chair
Andrew SimmonsAndrew is CEO of South East Local Learning and Employment Network, where he works to improve outcomes for young people in the education, training and employment sectors through the development of strategic sustainable partnerships. He also sits on a broad range of committees, task forces, networks and boards.Deputy Chair
Shabnam Safa
Get to know Shabnam, watch her member profile video
Shabnam co-founded Noor Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, to help newly arrived refugees and migrants with their settlement in Australia and to foster a positive connection between young people and their community. She has represented Australia at the UN and other international summits and has also earned her black-belt in karate

Jacqueline Galloway
Get to know Jacqie, watch her member profile video
Jackie is CEO of Peninsula Community Legal Centre (PCLC), an independent not-for-profit organisation that provides free legal services to Melbourne’s south-eastern communities. She has worked at the Centre since 1998 holding various roles including caseworker, program management and executive positions, prior to her role at PCLC she has worked in the welfare sector.
Vonda FenwickVonda has more than 25 years working in senior management roles in manufacturing, substantial consulting and training/adult education experience as well as recent volunteering and work experience across diverse sectors. She is currently serving as Chief Information Officer of South East Melbourne Manufacturers’ Alliance, a not-for-profit advocacy body for Manufacturers in the South-east of Melbourne.Member
Gabrielle North-HarneyGabrielle is a shopping Centre Manager in Bayside. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a seasoned Not for Profit board director. Ms North-Harney works closely with all tiers of government and community groups to enrich community experiences. Ms North-Harney also holds a bachelor’s degree of Business from RMIT University and a Graduate diploma of Arts from the University of Melbourne.Member
Simon WhiteleySimon is a devoted community member both on a commercial and personal basis. He is currently the Managing Director & CEO of Corex Plastics Australia and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. Mr Whiteley has been an active community member for more than 26 years, on both a commercial and personal basis. His recent charity project, “This is IT!”, aims to equalise education through repurposing corporate laptops for secondary school students.Member
Kathy RacunicaHead, Berwick Campus (Federation University)  
Kathy has 20 years of experience working in senior management roles across four higher education institutions. Ms Racunica has been involved in extensive community engagement as part of her university leadership positions, all of which facilitated critical connections for the provision of education and impactful research in the community that spans health, business, and sustainability. Ms Racunica holds a Bachelor of Arts and is currently a senior executive at Federation University.
Deborah Mellett
Deborah Mellett is a Gurindji woman with ties to the Jawoyn people in the Northern Territory. She has more than 25 years’ experience of providing specialist advice on the education, training and employment of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and Victoria. Deb has been a partner in a business, supported the establishment of Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and is currently responsible for improving the outcomes of Aboriginal families by focusing on the early years.
Deb has recently stepped down from the role as Chairperson for Nairm Marr Djambana in Frankston after a three-year term. Deb is Ambassador for BreastScreen Australia and is active on numerous committees and networks, including the Local Aboriginal Network.
George Halkias
George Halkias is best known for his work at the Big Issue where he was instrumental in driving the "street soccer" and "the Homeless World Cup" initiatives that improve the health and well-being of homeless and disadvantaged people through sport.
George continues to develop innovative sports programs that have significant social impact and tackle serious community issues working with City in the Community, Melbourne City Football Club. He is also a professional speaker who marries his love of sport and community to inspire, educate and motivate leaders from all backgrounds.
Carol Jeffs Carol Jeffs has extensive experience in local government management and leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to community engagement and participation. Carol brings more than 15 years’ experience as a senior local government executive and has held positions of Interim Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Community and Economic Development at the City of Port Phillip and was previously General Manager Governance and Manager City Planning at Latrobe City Council. CEO, Cardinia Shire Council
Mr Glenn Patterson
Glenn was appointed CEO at Casey City Council in 2018 following CEO roles at Yarra Ranges and Baw Baw Shire Councils. He has 25 years’ senior management experience with a number of metropolitan and rural councils, his first CEO role being at Colac Otway Shire in 1998. He also spent a period as the CEO of a Melbourne based property development group.
CEO, Casey City Council
Tim Tamlin The City of Kingston has appointed Tim Tamlin as its interim CEO until 31 October 2021.
Tim brings significant experience to the role, having served as CEO of South Gippsland Shire Council for 10 years and prior to that as Director of Engineering Services at the City of Greater Dandenong.
Interim CEO, Kingston City Council
Phil Cantillon
Phil Cantillon was appointed as CEO of Frankston Council in September 2019. Mr Cantillon has been at Frankston City Council since October 2017 as the Director of Community Assets. He was previously at Baw Baw Shire Council, including eight months as their interim CEO in 2017.
CEO, Frankston City Council
John Bennie John was appointed CEO of the Greater Dandenong City Council in 2006. He was previously CEO at Manningham City Council and has held numerous executive roles over his 37-year local government career. John is currently a non-Executive Director at MAVIB; Chisholm Institute and Mannacare P/L. In 2012, he concluded seven continuous years of service to LGPro and LGMA where he held the respective positions of State President (2005 and 2006) and National President (2011). CEO, Greater Dandenong City Council
John Baker John has extensive local government experience in the UK combined with commercial expertise developed as lead Partner in both Ernst and Young and KPMG in the UK and Australia. John has worked on some of the largest local government development programmes including “London Ventures” a private and public sector partnership and “Placed Based Budgets” which tackled local issues as diverse as health, social services and transport infrastructure.  CEO, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Argiri AlisandratosArgiri is the Deputy Secretary, Children, Families, Communities and Disability at the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. Argiri has held a number of senior leadership roles within the department including: Deputy Secretary South Division, Chief Operations Transformation Officer; Director, Southern Melbourne Area; Director, Inner Gippsland Area; Assistant Director, Placement and Family Services in the Children, Youth and Families Division; and Manager Community Services, Loddon Mallee Region. Argiri holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration from ANZSOG - Monash University.Victorian Government representative

The Southern Region

Melbourne’s Southern Region spans bayside, growth areas and regional hubs of Frankston and Dandenong, and extends from its northern border at Cheltenham and Moorabbin, to the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula and the eastern limits of Pakenham and Officer.

We acknowledge the Aboriginal people as Australia's first peoples and as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely.

Read more about the Southern Region.

Local Government Areas

  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • Casey City Council
  • Kingston City Council
  • Frankston City Council
  • Greater Dandenong City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Contact us


Page last updated: 09/09/21