Our Board

Destination Gippsland is the Regional Tourism Board and the peak tourism organisation for the region in eastern Victoria. We were established in 2008 with the support of Tourism Victoria, Parks Victoria and the six member councils of the Gippsland Local Government Network. We are a not for profit public company governed by a skills based board and supported by staff and committees staff and committees and our role is to inspire, influence and lead positive outcomes through partnerships across Gippsland.


Sue Smethurst – Chair

Sue Smethurst is a journalist who has held senior roles with Australia’s leading media organisations for more than 20 years.  She is a best-selling author and is employed by Bauer Media’s flagship title The Australian Women’s Weekly. Sue has extensive experience in the fields of media, communications and marketing. Sue was born and raised in Gippsland.

Richard Longmore

Richard is a former Public Accountant and a fellow of CPA Australia and was a companies auditor. As chief commissioner of the Shire of Yarra Ranges he first became involved in the tourist industry because it formed a large part of the region’s economy. He has a special interest in heritage tourism and was instrumental in obtaining funds for the redevelopment of the Museum of Lilydale. He has been a part time resident of Inverloch for over thirty years.

Cameron Johns

Cameron is the Owner / Director of Riviera Nautic Boating Holidays in Metung.  They recently won their third Victorian Tourism Award and have entered the Hall of Fame.  Cameron is also a member of the Metung Business Tourism Association.

Paul Ashton

Paul is a former Chief Executive of road Trauma Support Services, a former Chief Executive of Tasmania’s South RTA and a former General Manager of Central Australia Tourism.  Paul Served as General Manager – Development for Mind Australia and currently runs his own Event Management and Philanthropic Consultancy business.

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Nicola Pero

With previous private, public, not-for-profit and Government experience Nicola has a comprehensive background in stakeholder management. Her expertise comes from leadership roles in venues, events, economic and tourism development. Delivering commercially sustainable outcomes while balancing community and stakeholder needs has included International Fairs, music events, national rodeos, Grands Prix, and conference-exhibitions.  As CEO of a large development called “@bahrain” she led master planning and business planning of a 1Msqm greenfield campus.

Damien Gannon

Damien is part-owner of the award-winning Tinamba Hotel. Damien
hails from Maffra, and has a long history with Gippsland food and
wine industries – from the family dairy farm, to regional and
Melbourne city restaurants and cafes, and now the Tinamba Hotel.
Along with an enviable string of awards for his work at the iconic
Tinamba landmark, Damien brings a strong background in community organisations, projects, and events.

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Michelle Dickson

Michelle is an independent natural resource management consultant who brings a wealth of experience in developing,
planning, and evaluating business strategies. She has worked across Gippsland and Australia on a wide range of natural resource management issues.

She is owner/director of Blue Sense Consulting and provides business development support to EcoProjects Australia. Michelle is also a member of the Gippsland Coastal Board.

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Neil Travers

Neil has worked extensively in the public and private sectors as communication strategist, ministerial adviser, consultant on public affairs issues, in-house corporate communications and agency head.  Neil was a founding partner of Red Agency PR firm, before purchasing Waratah Hills Vineyard in South Gippsland. Neil has held a number of prominent roles in the public relations industry – Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, council member of the PRIA (NSW), Chair of the PRIA’s Registered Consultancy Group, and member of the course advisory committee for the BA Professional Communications degree at RMIT. In 2017 he was appointed to Swinburne University’s PR External Advisory Committee.

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Nick Murray

Nick has extensive Board experience with for-profit, not-for-profit, and member-based entities, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Nick is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of achievement in the maritime industry. Skilled in Government, Dredging, Risk Assessment, Occupational Health, and Safety Management Systems. Strong business development professional graduated from Australian Institute of Company Directors.  With a passion for regional development and successive executive level roles including Gippsland Ports, Nick brings a wealth of corporate experience to the board.


CEO Ali Wastie

Ali Wastie

CEO – Bass Coast Shire Council

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Tim McAuliff

Acting Regional Director of Gippsland Regional Development Victoria

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Paul Matthews

Head of Regional Tourism and Strategy at Visit Victoria

Will McCutcheon

‎District Manager East Gippsland at Parks Victoria