National Board

PLA is governed by a National Board with a representative from each of our five regions and five skill based appointments.

Kristin Davies – President & Generate Network Chair

Kristin Davies is a dynamic and dedicated change leader with over 15 years of industry experience. With a keen focus on partnerships, community outcomes, and advancing the industry, Kristin brings a wealth of expertise from diverse sectors including public and private domains. Her roles in leadership spans social policy, social infrastructure and open space planning, land management, and integrated placemaking, reflecting a versatile background.

Kristin possesses a deep understanding of the evolving landscape of interconnected industries, bolstered by her proficiency in strategic policy, planning, investment, leadership, governance, and organisational transformation.

As a pivotal figure in Parks & Leisure Australia, Kristin has served as Deputy President for more than two years and held a directorial position on the National Board since 2018. Her contributions have been instrumental in driving national strategy, sustainable growth, and representing the organisation at industry conferences and events on both national and international stages.

Tara Looby – Deputy President & National Marketing and Communications Director

Tara Looby is the Group Manager of IVM Group, where she brings her extensive expertise in open space management to the forefront. Recognising the pivotal role that open spaces play in fostering vibrant and healthy communities, Tara leverages her wealth of experience to drive initiatives that promote active living and community engagement.

With a robust background in marketing spanning numerous industries, Tara possesses a diverse skill set that encompasses both operational and strategic dimensions. Her proficiency extends beyond traditional marketing roles, as she demonstrates a keen ability to conduct thorough research and analysis, identifying market demands, market trends, and gaps in the landscape. All of this is key to understanding how membership based organisations can better understand what members want, and how to provide this whilst aligning with where the industry is moving.

With an ongoing commitment to adaptability and leadership, Tara now leads a team of environmental consultants focused on high-risk open space management. Her involvement in change management and strategic planning underscores her commitment to driving impactful outcomes and ensuring the sustainability of open spaces for future generations.

Stefan Ratnasingham- National Finance Director

Stefan has 10 years of working experience, spending a number of years working in public practice accounting firms which specialised in tax, audit and superannuation where he supported a variety of clients in different industries.

Currently Stefan is the National Finance Manager at Clublinks where his love of accounting gets to support the delivery of sport and recreation to the community.

Stefan has previously volunteered for Scouts Australia encouraging youth to challenge themselves and holds a bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) from Swinburne University of Technology and a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (CA).

Hayley Ashworth (SA/NT)

Hayley currently serves as the Team Leader of Sport and Recreation at the City of Mitcham. With a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science (Human Movement & Health Studies) and a wealth of experience in the sector, Hayley is the SA/NT representative on the national board. Hayley’s commitment to the sector has been recognised through her receipt of the 2022 David Aldous Young Professional of the Year award from Parks and leisure Australia. Hayley specialises in infrastruture projects, facility planning, project management and community consultation.

Fiona MacColl (NSW/ACT) 

Fiona is a long-time member of PLA with ten years’ experience on the NSW/ACT regional board. Fiona has experience planning, designing, constructing, managing, maintaining and activating public open space. She has been employed by private industry, Federal, State and Local Government and is currently the Principal Advisory, Infrastructure Sport Planning and Delivery at the NSW Office of Sport. Her passion is developing evidence-based needs analysis to plan for public open spaces and sports infrastructure, to ensure current and future generations have access to their desired sport and active recreational pursuit. Fiona also has years of experience in developing and delivering courses at both TAFE and university.

Rachel Thorpe (VIC/TAS)

Rachel is employed at the City of Hume, Victoria and has worked in the parks, sports, recreation and leisure Industry for the last 20 years . She has served as a regional councilor at PLA WA for six years and is currently the VIC/TAS representative on the national board. She holds a tertiary qualification in Community Services – Youth Work and Project Management. She also a Certified Parks and Leisure Professional.

Josh Geraghty (QLD)

Josh has almost a decades experience in the parks and leisure industry specialising in sport and open space planning and policy. In this time he has worked in both the private sector and local government, currently working for Cairns Regional Council, in the Community Spaces team. Josh was on the inaugural Generate Network Executive Committee and now also serves on the PLA QLD region Council.

Josh completed a Bachelor of Planning (Hons) through James Cook University in 2014. Josh has worked across all areas of the Parks and Leisure industry and has extensive knowledge the important role it plays in the lives of regional and rural communities.

Barbra Gaiotto – National Conference Director

Barbra has worked in the sport and recreation industry for the last 20 years in programming, planning and contract management. Barbra spent 19 years in the sports development and planning area with the Manningham City Council, where she was the Coordinator of the Sports & Recreation team responsible for sports development and liaison for major capital and strategic projects implementation and delivery. In more recent times, Barbra joined Waypoint, a leading stadia and sports facility advisory firm as a Senior Consultant.

Barbra has also been a sessional lecturer for Swinburne University – Certificate II Community Recreation and Fitness, where she delivered a series of lecturers and practical workshops covering a number of competencies. Barbra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and a Masters in Sport Business.

Vanessa Morschel – National Governance Director

Vanessa holds various board appointments with not for profit community focused organizations including a community housing provider, community transport charity and food pantry.Her areas of expertise and relevant academic qualifications are corporate governance, management, social sciences, environmental planning and human geography. 

Over the last 15 years, she has volunteered as a panel member, advisory council member, industry association committee member and given speeches. In addition to her volunteering responsibilities, Vanessa has worked for local councils, property developers, property consultancies and not for profit organizations. 

Jarrod Hill – National Business (Commercial)  Director

Jarrod has over 17 years’ experience planning, designing and overseeing construction of Fields of Play across Australia. These facilities include athletics running tracks, hockey pitches, football grounds (all codes), tennis/netball courts, general purpose facilities, etc.

As a chartered Civil Engineer Jarrod approaches the Parks and Leisure industry from a slightly different angle with a key eye on design, longevity and sustainability.

After almost 10 years with global engineering firm Arup, Jarrod started his company SPORTENG which specialises in the planning, design and construction phase support for all Fields of Play

Former Presidents
Name State Year
Phil Gale
Martin Doulton
Steven Few
Steven Bourke
Steve Mason
Bruce Fordham
Kevin Lowe
Mark Casserley
2014 (Resigned)
Kristen Jackson
2015- 2016
Martin Lambert
2016 - 2018
Paul Jane
2018 - 2022
Les Munn - Immediate Past President
2022 - 2024