Planning Panels Victoria consists of the Chief Panel Member and five senior panel members. There are also approximately 80 sessional panel members.
Sessional panel members provide expertise on planning, architecture, urban design, engineering, environment and social planning. Members are appointed to a panel as required, depending on the nature and complexity of the proposal being considered. Membership of the list of sessional panel members is reviewed regularly.
Individual panels are drawn from the seven full-time panel members and the pool of sessional panel members.
Full-time panel members
Chief Panel Member - Kathy Mitchell
Kathy Mitchell was appointed as Chief Panel Member in June 2004.
Prior to this, Kathy had been a full-time senior panel member with Planning Panels Victoria since its inception in 1996, and an occasional sessional member with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) from 1999 to 2004.
Kathy is the immediate past President (2004 - 2011) and a Fellow of the Victoria Planning and Environmental Law Association (VPELA). She has been a state judge for the Urban Development Industry Association - Victorian Chapter (UDIA) Awards of Excellence since 2003.
Kathy has a Bachelor of Arts in Planning, a Graduate Diploma in Urban Sociology and a Master of Arts in Planning (Research). She has previously worked in the private sector, local government, and as an academic.
Senior Panel Member - Sarah Carlisle
Sarah Carlisle is a planning and environmental lawyer with 20 years experience. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and a Bachelor of Arts. Sarah has developed extensive expertise in planning, environmental and administrative law. She has worked in both private practice and in the public sector in Victoria, and in the United Kingdom.
Sarah has a sound knowledge of Victorian strategic and statutory planning, having advised on a comprehensive range of issues including permit applications, planning scheme amendments, VCAT appeals, judicial review proceedings and proposals for legislative reform. She has advised extensively on the planning and environmental assessment and approvals processes for major projects.
Sarah has been a sessional member of Planning Panels Victoria since January 2015, and a Senior Sessional Member since July 2017.
Senior Panel Member - Trevor McCullough
Trevor McCullough has qualifications in civil engineering, planning, and environment and social Planning.
Trevor has over 30 years’ experience in Victorian state and local government.
He has previously worked as a director of planning, engineering services and community services at Ballarat, Hobsons Bay and Kingston City councils for a total of 15 years. Trevor was also a traffic engineer and transport planner at VicRoads, and project manager and operations manager at the Public Transport Corporation. He is a former board member of Southern Family Life youth and family services agency.
Trevor is a senior panel member at Planning Panels Victoria and coordinates the Transport and Infrastructure Reference Group.
Senior Panel Member - Lester Townsend
Lester Townsend was appointed as a senior panel member with Planning Panels Victoria in October 2005.
Lester has considerable experience in strategic and statutory planning, and project implementation. He has qualifications in town planning and sociology, holding a Bachelor of Town and Regional Planning (University of Melbourne) and a Graduate Diploma of Sociology (LaTrobe University).
Before becoming a senior panel member, Lester was a sessional member, commencing in 1997. Additionally, he has provided strategic and statutory planning advice for a range of local and state government organisations, and private companies. He has a particular interest in integrated planning and has been involved in a number of transport and urban design projects.
Lester has expertise in plain-English communication and drafting. He is a Fellow of VPELA and has previously served on its board. He is also the former president of the Australia Institute of Urban Studies.
Senior Panel Member - Con Tsotsoros
Con Tsotsoros was appointed as a full time senior panel member at Planning Panels Victoria in July 2013.
Con has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Planning, with 14 years’ experience in the private sector and stints in local government, and has been with state government planning since 2016. Con was formerly Assistant Director Statutory Systems in the former Department of Planning and Community Development, where he led major planning reform agenda initiatives. He specialises in retail, economic and strategic planning and heritage.
Con is the Chair of the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee and has been involved in significant planning scheme amendments involving building heights, mandatory provisions, master and strategic planning. These include the St Kilda Road North Precinct, Chapel Street reVision, Greater Shepparton Activity Centres review, and Traralgon Growth Areas Review.
Con is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and member of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association.
Senior Panel Member - Nick Wimbush
Nick Wimbush holds undergraduate qualifications in environmental science and postgraduate qualifications in public policy and law.
He has over 25 years’ experience in a variety of state and local government roles in Western Australia and Victoria. These include managing environmental impact assessment of major projects with the West Australian Environment Protection Authority and advising the Victorian government in a senior role on coastal planning and development.
Nick has extensive experience in the private sector in Western Australia, Indonesia and Victoria with consulting firms, and established and ran his own environmental consultancy from 2002-2006, specialising in integrated coastal zone management.
Since 2006 he has been a full time senior panel member with Planning Panels Victoria, responsible for chairing, or being a member of, significant environment effects inquiries, panels and advisory committees, including the Port Phillip Channel Deepening, Victorian Desalination Project and East-West Link.
Nick was a sessional lecturer at postgraduate level in coastal zone and catchment management at RMIT University in Melbourne from 2002-2006. He is a Fellow of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association, a member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, and is on the board, and the Treasurer of, the National Environmental Law Association.
Sessional panel members provide a source of expertise on planning, architecture, urban design, engineering, environment and social planning.
They are appointed to a panel as required depending upon the nature and complexity of the proposal being considered.
Membership of the list of sessional panel members is reviewed on a regular basis.
- Rodger Eade
- Mandy Elliott
- Michael Kirsch
- Jane Monk
- Cathie McRobert
- Jenny Moles
- Bill O'Neil
- Geoff Underwood
- Sarah Carlisle
Planning Panels Victoria has a Technical Specialist Group to provide specialist input into a range of matters being considered by a panel or advisory committee.
Members of the Technical Specialist Group:
- Jon Hickman
- Ken Joyner
- Ken McNamara
- Doug Munro
The panel members are assisted by the following support staff.
- Greta Grivas (Senior Project Officer)
- Andrea Harwood (Senior Project Manager)
- Emily To (Project Officer)
- Harry Matheas (Assistant Director)
- Laura Agius (Panel Coordinator)
- Stefanie Poulos (Finance Officer)
- Sharon Walker (Finance Manager and Executive Assistant to the Chief Panel Member)
- Adrian Williams (Business Manager)