Positive Ageing Advisory Committee

PAAC June 2024.jpg

Purpose and objectives

The Positive Ageing Advisory Committee provides a formal mechanism for Council to consult with community representatives, seek advice from, and enable community participation in initiatives, policies and strategies concerning opportunities and challenges related to positive ageing in Nillumbik.

The Committee’s objectives are to:

  • Act as the peak advisory committee to advocate on barriers and/or issues affecting older people to age well in Nillumbik
  • Consult with and represent the voice and interests of Nillumbik residents aged 55 and over
  • Respond to and provide input and feedback on proposed strategies, policies or action plans developed by Council
  • Provide a forum to discuss, facilitate and support local initiatives (where possible) that aim to promote healthy and active ageing across Nillumbik
  • Provide a mechanism for Council to communicate, consult and engage more effectively with the wider Nillumbik community
  • Act as ambassadors for Positive Ageing by actively promoting news, events, activities and issues relating to older people in Nillumbik. 

Meeting frequency

Committee meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Friday of alternate month at various locations throughout the Shire, or virtually if required.

Additional sub-committee meetings or working groups may be convened as required and may meet on a more regular basis.  

Committee period

The current committee term is from June 2023 to June 2025.


This Committee is chaired by a Councillor representative who is appointed annually at Council's Extraordinary Meeting held in November.

Find out more about the committee members

The Committee comprises the following representatives endorsed by Council:

Name  About
Cr Frances Eyre Chair
Sheila Cheary

Sheila brings experience in dementia care to the PAAC. She recently retired from a long career in nursing during which she studied aspects of the ageing process including dementia and worked with patients, carers and families to broaden their understanding of dementia. She was instrumental in establishing the Eltham Memory Care Café and is a member of a pastoral care team, providing emotional, social and spiritual support to those living at home with dementia. As a qualified workplace trainer and assessor, she has trained aged care staff working in residential and dementia care. She has also facilitated public workshops for carers and family members. Sheila brings a passion for widening knowledge and understanding of dementia throughout the community.        

Janice Crosswhite OAM Janice is passionate about serving her local and broader community, using her experience as a physical education teacher, education consultant, lecturer, primary producer, executive officer, sports administrator, sports consultant and recreation planner.  She has worked at Commonwealth, State and Local Government level as well as operating her own consultancy and has demonstrated a high level of volunteer commitment to community organisations across education, sport and the environment. She also serves on the Panton Hill Bushland Advisory Committee, as well as the PAAC’s Communications Subcommittee.
Joy Ferguson Joy brings a wealth of experience to the PAAC following a career in nursing. She is committed to supporting social connections and health and wellbeing, particularly for people with dementia, carers, and for people living in aged care facilities. She volunteers with the newly formed Memory Care Café, a social support group for people with dementia and their carers, and is also serving on the PAAC’s Dementia Subcommittee. Joy is also a member of the Plenty PROBUS club and a past member of the Rotary Club of Greensborough. She currently volunteers with the L2P program as a mentor to young people learning to drive. She has previously been a board member of the Diamond Valley Learning Centre, and was the proprietor/ director of the Bundoora Child Care Centre for 36 years. She is passionate about opportunities for intergenerational connections and sharing between young and older.
Deanna Finn Deanna is a resident of Kangaroo Ground. She is passionate about social connections, particularly for carers, and for people living with dementia, and people living in rural areas. She brings her extensive experience as a nurse to the PAAC, and to the Dementia Subcommittee. She is currently also working as a volunteer coordinator at St Vincent’s Hospital, and is also on Council’s Living & Learning Nillumbik Advisory Committee. 
Tom Fisher 

Tom’s chief qualification for the PAAC is 81 years of lived experience, 46 of which have taken place in the Shire. He has recently moved from his beloved Bend of Islands into the more age-appropriate surrounds of Eltham. With his wife of 55 years now in residential care, Tom has developed an interest in aged care and, more recently, in ways of helping people smooth the path towards the inevitable end of life. Tom has a strong belief in the benefits of physical and spiritual well-being for positive ageing. To this end, he is a modest but regular cyclist and walker and is a member of the Ordinary Mind Zen Group that meets in Kangaroo Ground and the Diamond Valley Friends (Quakers), which meets in St Andrews. He and his wife are members of the Rewire Memory Choir. He has served on Council’s Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee and still is a member of the Bend of Islands Conservation Association and one of the Bend’s active book clubs.

Ann Hutchison

Ann has been living in the Nillumbik Shire for 57 years.  She has been a member of LinC (Love in the name of Christ) for 30 years and a member of CAVE (Community and Volunteers of Eltham) for 12 years.  She is also a member of Health & Wellbeing Plan Advisory Committee as well as being a member of Nillumbik U3A.  She is concerned about the lack of food services to families who need help from time to time in the Shire. Her volunteer and community involvement offers the PAAC insight into issues faced by older community members living in Nillumbik. 

Richard Kottek Richard is a long term resident of Eltham, and is passionate about accessibility, social connections and health and wellbeing of older adults. He enjoys sharing his experiences and insights for Council to consider. In recent years, he has taken part in an intergenerational project between Council and Diamond Valley College students.
Kate Puls

Kate who lived in Wattle Glen for many years now lives in Eltham. Her background is in nursing and nurse education and an interest in health law led her to become a specialist educator working in both higher education and vocational education in several health disciplines. She is passionate about the rights of older people and of health care consumers and as a volunteer community ambassador for Advance Care Planning Australia (administered by Austin Health) has assisted people wishing to make choices for their future health care. She is also a member of the National Older Person’s Reference Group, (NOPRG) a group that endeavours to bring a consumer and community perspective to issues being discussed by the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN).  

Sandra Verdam Sandra is a resident of Cottles Bridge. She is passionate about social connections and health and wellbeing, particularly for carers, and for people living with dementia. She was instrumental in the development of the Memory Care Café, and brings her experience as a carer to other social support groups for people living with dementia and their carers, including the Musical Memories Choir, and the Carers Collective. She is the current president of the Hurstbridge Sow and Grow Garden Club, and is also serving on the PAAC’s Dementia Subcommittee.
Yuqi Yan

Yuqi is a new resident of Eltham who has lived in the area for seven years. He is a representative of the Eltham Senior Citizens Club Chinese group and is interested in improving communication between older Chinese residents in Eltham and the Positive Ageing Advisory Committee of Nillumbik. He is passionate about serving the Eltham Senior Citizens Club Chinese group and supporting them to build broader connections with the community of Nillumbik.

Tamlyn Carr

Aged Care Provider Representative

Born and raised in Eltham, Tamlyn developed a love for her surroundings and the local community. Her involvement with the elderly began over two decades ago, when she started supplying furniture to the aged care sector that not only catered to the functional needs of elderly individuals but also promoted their dignity and comfort. Currently, Tamlyn works with the team at Banksia Palliative Care – a local government funded organisation that provides free, in-home palliative care to residents of Whittlesea, Nillumbik and Banyule.  Tamlyn is keen to ensure the local community knows about (and has access to) the available services, and to learn from other members of the community what the needs of the elderly in the area are, and take these back to Banksia to ensure the needs are constantly being met as best they can by the organisation. 

Tanya Cottrell

Aged Care Provider Representative

Tanya is a specialist mental health nurse for older adults. She heads up a community mental health service run by St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, offering expert care for people experiencing mild to moderate symptoms in the Northern and Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Tanya resides in Nillumbik with her family. She is passionate about living well and ageing well, and is excited to support positive ageing in Nillumbik.

Mahshid Ghorbani

Aged Care Provider Representative

Mahshid is the customer support manager for Opal Healthcare’s aged care residence in Diamond Creek. She began her career in aged care as a volunteer for Manningham Council in 2016.  Her passion for people, instinct for the needs of citizens in their senior years and her ability to quickly develop productive relationships among stakeholders quickly led to full time employment.  Originally from Iran, Mahshid, mother of two, brings extensive experience in people management across aviation, travel and aged care.  Ensuring that older citizens find comfort, safety and enjoyment in their senior years is Mahshid’s passion.   She especially loves building connections with the residents in her care.  They appreciate her wisdom, commitment and energy and know that she understands their needs. 

Annie Lee

Aged Care Provider Representative

 Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service.


Minutes from each Committee meeting are confirmed at the next meeting of the Committee.

Download the minutes: