Board of Directors
Peter Berger | Berger Piepers Chartered Accountants |Bom, FCA
Peter has lived in Penrith all his life. He attended St Dominics College and gained his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of New South Wales. Peter is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a registered company auditor, a registered tax agent and a Justice of the Peace. He is also a past member of the executive of the Penrith Chamber of Commerce. Peter was awarded Honorary Membership of the Centre in October 2008 for 20 years of service to the Board.
Peter has been on the Board since its inception in 1988. He held the position of Chairperson from 1991 to 1994 and was re-elected as Chairperson in 2002.
Trevor Hall | Kneebone Beretta & Hall Pty Ltd | B.Sc (Eng), M.I.E Aust, C.P (Eng)
Trevor has lived in the Penrith area since 1971. He graduated from the University of New South Wales in Civil Engineering in 1972 and completed a post-graduate short course in management at the University of Melbourne in 1991. Trevor has been a Director of Kneebone, Beretta and Hall since 1983.
Trevor has been involved in community service organisations (Apex and Rotary) since 1973 and is a past Chairperson of the Penrith branch of the Red Cross calling committee.Trevor was awarded Honorary Membership of the Centre in October 2008 for his services to the Board.
Trevor has been on the Board since February 1989.
Diane Azzopardi | Direct Accounting | B.Comm (Acc), CA, FTIA, JP
Diane is a Chartered Accountant and has been working in the profession for over 15 years. She is the sole principle of Direct Accounting, a Chartered Accountancy practice that commenced in November 2001 as a result of the purchase of a division of a local Penrith business. The business now employs numerous staff. Diane prides herself and her firm on professionalism, efficiency and friendly service.
Diane is also a Board member of the Nepean Medical Research Foundation and an inaugural member of the Nepean Philanthropists. She is the only female business owner represented out of the 50 businesses initially involved.
Diane has been on the Board since July 2008.
Mark Streater | Westpac Banking Corporation
Mark has been employed by Westpac Banking Corporation for over 30 years and was appointed Bank Manager of the Penrith Branch in July 2009. Prior to this he was Regional Manager for Business Banking in Sydney South West where he managed a successful sales team.
Mark has lived in the Penrith Region for over 20 years and this has seen his involvement with various sporting organisations. Mark is a member of many local organisations through his role with Westpac such as Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Mark has been on the Board since Oct 2009.
Ian Hicks | Hix Group Pty Ltd
Ian has lived in Penrith for many years. Ian is a local businessman and a Director of three local businesses that employ over 50 people. Ian is a mentor for the Young Achievers Program and has helped many apprentices and trades people with training and mentoring, some of whom have won awards. The Hix Group is now one of the largest businesses in the area and includes six distinct divisions providing Electrical, Data & Integrated Services, Plumbing & Hot Water, Carpentry & Maintenance, Solar Installation and Fire Detection Systems.
Ian has been on the Board since May 2004.
Neel Chand | Penrith RSL | B. Bus, CA, MBA
Neel was the Chief Financial Officer of Rooty Hill RSL before his appointment to his current position as CEO of Penrith RSL in July 2010. Neel is a Chartered Accountant with a Business Degree and Masters in Business Administration in Marketing. He has worked in the Corporate and Business profession for over 15 years for various companies including PBL/ Acer Arena, Sunbeam Corporation and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Neel has been on the Board since January 2011.
Natalie Ballard | Natalie Ballard - Lawyer | BEc,LLB,GDLP,LLM
Natalie has lived in Penrith all her life. She attended University of Western Sydney and gained her Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws before studying her Masters in Law at University of NSW.
She was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2003 and prior to working in Penrith, worked for two mid-tier firms.
Natalie has been on the Board since January 2011.
Donald Luscombe | Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise | AFSM FCA
Don has over forty five years experience in public accounting. Together with his partner, Graham Martin, Don has operated an accounting practice at Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains for the last 30 years. His main areas of experience are auditing, management advice and taxation, and his experience covers a broad range of enterprises and business types.
Don has developed a particular interest in business planning and management. He has spent many years informally studying and reading on the subject and has had success in applying his knowledge both within the firm and with clients’ businesses.
In addition to his professional activities, through his involvement in local Community affairs Don currently holds a number of Board positions:
- Chairman of Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise
- Chairman of DARE Disability Support
- A director of both the Rural Firefighters Foundation and Coffee for Kids Foundation
Don has also served in a number of positions resulting from his 38 year involvement with the NSW Rural Fire Service and currently holds the position of Group Captain (Retired) of the Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service. He is a past Deputy Captain and Captain of the Winmalee Rural Fire Brigade, President, Vice President and Executive Member of the NSW Rural Fire Service Association. He also served as a member of the Corporate Executive Group (the equivalent of the Board of Directors) of the NSW Rural Fire Service and was a member of the Fire Services Joint Standing Committee for 8 years. On Australia Day 2007 Don’s service to the Rural Fire Service was recognised by the awarding of the Australian Fire Service Medal to him.
He has been on the Board since January 2015.
Nathan Burbridge | Blacktown City Council
Nathan is an experienced strategist in the area of economic development. With multiple board appointments he is a leader in the fields of local government, economic/community development and youth issues.
Nathan currently heads up the management and implementation of an economic development program at Blacktown City Council. This involves attracting new business investment to Blacktown, promoting and marketing the City, partnering with organisations to strengthen the City’s labour market, and helping create an environment for small business to grow and prosper.
Nathan has been on the Board since 2016.
Kate Speare | Penrith City Council
Kate is the Economic Initiatives Manager at Penrith City Council. She has over 20 years’ experience in local government, starting her career at Kogarah Council, moving to Burwood, Auburn, Bankstown, Camden and settling in Penrith Council over 14 months ago. Kate has a history in strategic planning and a passion for infrastructure planning.
Kate loves being part of the Penrith New West movement at Council and is dedicated to turning big, transformative and exciting ideas into reality. Council has set an ambitious goal to create 55,000 additional local jobs by 2031 and is committed to maximising the City’s potential for the benefit of the community.
Kate joined the Board of Directors in May 2017.
Kathryn Garton | Western Sydney Publishing Group
Kathryn Garton is the CEO of the Western Sydney Publishing Group, publisher of a range of independent newspapers and magazines including The Western Weekender, The Blue Mountains Record and Western Property.
The Western Sydney Publishing Group is at the forefront of local news, presenting engaging and relevant content for the communities it represents.
Kathryn has an extensive corporate background, primarily with McDonald’s Australia. Together with husband Ian, she opened her first McDonald’s store in 1998 and now employs over 1200 people across 9 stores in western Sydney.
Kathryn is involved in a range of community-focused activities and was a driving force behind the creation of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Nepean Hospital. She has served on a range of community boards and committees.
She has been on the Board since October 2017.