Yarra Valley Water


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for setting the strategic direction, establishing goals for management and monitoring their achievement and monitoring the performance of the business. 

Sue O'Connor

BAppSc, GDipBus Mgt, FAICDSue O'Connor

Sue became a Director and Chair of Yarra Valley Water on 1 October 2015. She has been a Non-Executive Director/Chair for over ten years.

Sue is a Director of Mercer Superannuation, ClimateWorks Australia, Treasury Corporation of Victoria, Kordia Group Limited  and Bush Heritage Australia, Sue is also a member of the Leadership Oversight Committee for the Women in Water Leadership Program and an advisory committee member of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. She was previously Chair of YMCA Victoria and a Director and Deputy Chair of Goulburn Valley Water (2008-2015).

Sue brings to the board table over 25 years of senior leadership experience of successfully growing and transforming customer focused, technology dependent businesses operating in disrupted markets.  This included 13 years at Telstra Corporation where she successfully led the establishment of a number of new businesses and completion of major cross-company transformation programs.


Rob Skinner AM
Deputy Chair

BE (Hons), MSc, FIEAust, MAICDRob Skinner

Rob Skinner became a Director on 1 October 2015 and was appointed as Deputy Chair of Yarra Valley Water on 16 December 2016.

He is a Director at Monash Water Sensitive Cities, Chair of WaterAid Australia and WaterAid International,  Chair of Co-operative Research Centre For Water Sensitive Cities, Board Member of International Centre of Excellence for Water Resource Management, Chair of Victorian IWN Reference Group, Lead Chair of the DELWP's Integrated Water Management Forums and Chair of SDG6 Working Group.  He is also a Distinguished Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA).

Rob was Managing Director at Melbourne Water from 2005 to 2011, and Chief Executive Officer of the City of Kingston from 1996 to 2005.  He was appointed to the Australian Water Partnership Committee in October 2015.

Over the past 20 years, Rob has been on a number of boards and involved in numerous advisory panels and reviews related to water policy and strategy in Victoria and elsewhere. 


Victor Perton

BEc, LLB, LLM, Dip Chinese Law, GAICDVictor Perton

Victor Perton became a Director of Yarra Valley Water on 1 October 2015. 

Victor is the founder of the Australian Leadership Project and the Author of "the Case for Optimism: The Optimists Voices."

His experience in governance includes service on Boards including that of the Transport Accident Commission, the Global Integrity Summit, the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and patron of the Digital Leadership Institute.

He has chaired public sector inquiries and committees on technology, justice, equal opportunity, regulatory efficiency, subordinate legislation and several other topics.   His current work includes advice on optimistic leadership, Australian leadership, integrity and strategy. 

Victor brings 18 years’ experience as a Parliamentarian, practice as a barrister, mediator, arbitrator, businessman, private sector board service and mentor. He is a former Commissioner to the Americas promoting foreign direct investment in Victoria, supporting Victorian exporters, building global supply chains and expatriate and alumni networks.


Ian Hamm


Ian Hamm became a Director of Yarra Valley Water on 1 October 2019.

Ian is currently the Chair of First Nations Foundation (National), Connecting Home Ltd (Stolen Generations Service), the Community Broadcasting Foundation and the Koorie Heritage Trust, Non-Executive Director of Aboriginal Housing Victoria Ltd, National Trust of Australia (Vic), Australian Red Cross, Inclusive Australia, Indigenous Community Volunteers, Killara Foundation, and Holmesglen TAFE.      

Ian has had a wide level of exposure to Policy Development and Program Management at executive level through his work with the Federal Government (Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health) and the Victorian Government (Department of Justice, Department of Planning and Community Development, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources). Ian was also previously the President of the Western Region Football League, one of the major Australian Football leagues in Melbourne.


Helen Thornton

BEc, ICA, GAICDHelen Thornton

Helen Thornton became a Director of Yarra Valley Water on 1 October 2015.

Helen has more than 30 years' experience in finance roles across  a wide range of industries. Helen is currently a non-executive director and Deputy Chair of  the Treasury Corporation of Victoria. She is also a Director of ISPT Pty Ltd, Ansvar Insurance, Austin Health and Legal Practitioners Liability Committee.

Helen was previously Deputy Chair of Zoos Victoria and a non-executive director of Big Sky Building Society and Rural Finance Corporation. 

A Charatered Accountant, Helen has extensive experience in finance, governance, audit and risk management. She has held senior roles in Deloittes, KPMG, BHP Ltd and BlueScope Steel Ltd where she was responsible for the global risk management function.


Karen Milward

GAICDKaren Milward

Karen Milward became a Director on 1 October 2017.

Karen is the owner of Karen Milward Consultancy Services and is currently the Chair of Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd, Co-Chair Indigenous Community Volunteers, Deputy Chair Major Transport Infrastructure Authority - Aboriginal Advisory Council.

Karen was formerly the Deputy Chair of First Nations Foundation, a Director of Aboriginal Housing Victoria and was a Member of the Visitor Economy Ministerial Advisory Committee and Small Business Ministerial Council.

Karen brings to the Board extensive experience in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, having worked on complex projects commissioned by public sector agencies responsible for policies, programs and services impacting on Aboriginal communities and also having served on numerous committees and reference groups, including the Premier’s Aboriginal Advisory Council.


Victoria Marles

BA, Dip Ed, Dip Arts (Dramatic Arts), LLB (Hons), LLM, FAICDVictoria Marles

Victoria Marles became a Director on 1 October 2017.

Victoria is the Chief Executive Officer of Trust for Nature (Victorian Conservation Trust) and is currently the Chair of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation and the Consumer Action Law Centre. She has practised as a lawyer in the private, not for profit and public sectors in media/communications and consumer complaints law. Victoria has held the positions of Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Services Board (Victoria), Legal Services Commissioner (Victoria), Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and has been a trustee of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.

Victoria brings to the Board extensive knowledge in the areas of natural resource management, climate change adaption, biodiversity conservation/offsets and consumer law.


Kate Vinot

B.E. (Hons) Civil Engineering, MBA (Executive), MSc Economics for Development (Hons), GAICD 

Kate Vinot became a Director of Yarra Valley Water on 1 October 2021.

Kate is an experienced business leader with strong commercial acumen and a deep understanding of developing and delivering of effective strategies, with a particular focus on the water, energy, resources and environment sectors and sustainable urban development.

Kate brings exceptional skills in effective implementation of lasting strategic, customer-focussed transformational change in complex public, private and government organisations. She is able to bring the leaders of diverse specialist functions together into one high performing team to execute strategy across an organisation and beyond.

Kate has extensive knowledge of regulatory and policy frameworks and is a skilled speaker, facilitator and communicator who enjoys opportunities to promote ideas and issues in public forums.

Kate is also Non-Executive Director Natural Hazards Research Australia, Governor Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation and Principal Ageos Consulting.


Ari Suss

MPPM Master of Public Policy and Management, GAICD person smiling

Ari is Chief Executive Officer of Fox Special Projects Group, supporting the family investment arm of the Linfox Group of Companies. He also holds roles as a Board Member of Avalon Airport Australia and Director Fed Square Pty Ltd.

Ari has provided specialist expertise in regulatory, legislative, and political matters for Linfox’s logistics, property, and aviation businesses, joining as Manager of Government and Corporate Affairs in 2004. He became Executive Director of Fox Private Group in 2008.

Ari was a senior adviser to former Premier Steve Bracks between 1999 and 2004. During this time, he specialised in policy and advice in the areas of infrastructure development, transport, ports, major projects, multicultural affairs, and parliamentary strategy.

In 2011, Ari also commenced in his role as General Manager of the Australian Automotive Research Centre, a 1000-hectare vehicle test facility in Anglesea, Victoria.


Pat McCafferty
Managing Director   

BBus (Acc), Exec. MBA, GAICD, FWCLP, FIWAPat McCafferty

Pat McCafferty was appointed Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water on 1 July 2014.

In a career spanning over 30 years in the water industry, Pat has extensive experience across the water sector and held General Manager roles at Yarra Valley Water from 2001, covering a wide range of strategic leadership positions, including planning, regulation, finance and operations.

He has also worked in the USA water sector and advised the Australian Federal Government as part of the National Water Initiative.

Pat is also Chair of the Water Services Association of Australia (Australia's peak body for major urban water utilities) and the Thriving Communities Partnership (a cross sector collaboration to improve support for vulnerable customers of essential services); a member of the Monash Infrastructure Advisory Council and a member of the Leadership Oversight Committee for the Women in Water Leadership Program (a Water for Victoria initiative).

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