Employers menu

About Us

Board of Directors

The LeavePlus board has eleven Directors, consisting of eight industry representatives and three independents.

Four of the Directors are elected by workers in the industry (two representing building trades workers and one each representing electrical trades workers and metal trades workers). Four are elected by employers in the industry (two representing building trades employers and one each representing electrical trades employers and metal trades employers). Three are independent “specialists” appointed by the eight industry Directors from nominations provided by an independent assessment committee.

As at 1 October 2023, the Directors are:

Director Affiliation
Jennifer Acton (Chair) Independent
Michelle McLean Independent
David St. John Independent
Chris Patterson Electrical Trades workers
Robert Graauwmans Building Trades workers
Raoul Wainwright Metal Trades workers
Paddy McCrudden Building Trades workers
Grant Donald Building Trades employers
David Newnham Building Trades employers
Michael Purnell Electrical Trades employers
Michael Paynter Metal Trades employers

Director Profiles

Jennifer Acton

Independent Director and Chair

Jennifer Acton was appointed as a Director and Chair of the Board of Directors on the 1st of October 2021. She is Chair of the Remuneration, People & Culture Committee.

Jennifer has relevant expertise in sound governance, remuneration, corporate culture, and ethical and evidence-based decision-making from her experience in finance, logistics, ports, transport, water and education industries.

She holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Economics, as well as Law, and was awarded the Supreme Court Prize in Law.   Jennifer is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and has been accredited as a mediator under the Australian National Mediator Standards.


Michelle McLean

Independent Director

Michelle is currently the Deputy Chair of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and is a Board member of Frontier FSI, Equestrian Australia and East Gippsland Water, and a member of the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Society and the Risk Management Institute.

Previously, Michelle was the Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority and was Managing Partner and CEO of the law firm Cornwall Stodart (now Cornwalls). She has also been President of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association (where she is a life member), an Advisory Board member of the Melbourne University Business School, an Executive Council member of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a Board member of the Mercy Health Foundation, the Overnewton Anglican Community College and Acom International.


David St. John

Independent Director

David St. John was appointed as a Director from the 1st of October 2019.  David is Chair of the Investment Committee and serves on the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee, and Remuneration, People & Culture Committee.  David has an extensive background in investment management as a practitioner and as a consultant. He currently sits on the Investment Committee at Deakin University and works on a part time basis as an expert advisor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

David’s career included investment consulting at William M. Mercer where he was a World Wide Partner, and he was Chief Investment Officer at UniSuper for eight years from 2001 to 2009.  He also has past experience as a Member and Chair of Legal Super’s Investment Committee, and as a Non-Executive Director of the Motor Accidents Insurance Board in Tasmania.  David holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (BAgrSc), a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (SF Fin) and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD).


Chris Patterson

Representative of Electrical Trades Workers

Chris Patterson was appointed as a Director on the Board on 1st July 2023. He has been an electrician working in the contracting industry with over 20 years’ experience. Working on a broad range of projects including warehouses, factories, domestic housing and high-rise apartments, shopping centres, industrial maintenance, installation and repairs, automatic logic, PLC’s, lighting controls and the list goes on. There is not much else Chris has not been involved within the electrical sphere. Representing electrical workers for over 10 years, Chris currently works for ETU Victoria where he leads the contracting industry covering over 10,000 members state-wide.


Robert Graauwmans

Representative of Building Trades Workers

Robert Graauwmans was appointed as a Director on the Board on the 1st of July 2017.  Robert has been a full time official of the CFMEU since 2006.  He was responsible for the Western Districts of Victoria for six years, and then moved to Melbourne to represent Mobile Crane Hire and the Inner Eastern Suburbs.  Robert is President of the CFMEU in Victoria.  Robert is a member of the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee.


Raoul Wainwright

Representative of Metal Trades Workers

Raoul was appointed as a Director on the 14th of September 2022. Raoul has extensive experience as an Industrial Advocate, having first worked in the union movement in 1992. Raoul holds a law degree and currently serves on the Victorian Government Purchasing Board. He is a former Deputy Chairperson of the Victorian Adult, Community and Further Education Board. Raoul also serves on the Remuneration, People & Culture Committee.


Paddy McCrudden

Representative of Building Trades Workers

Paddy McCrudden was appointed as a Director on the Board on the 22nd of November 2012.  He is a member of the Investment Committee of the Board.  Paddy was employed by CBUS from 2005 to 2010. He re-joined the Plumbing Trades Employees Union in 2010 and currently holds the positions of Assistant Secretary and Federal President.  He is also a Director of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre, the Plumbing Joint Training Fund, the Plumbing Advisory Council and the Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation. Paddy has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the LeavePlus Board.


Grant Donald

Representative of Building Trades Employers

Grant Donald was appointed as a Director of the Board on the 1st of February 2017. Grant is a long-term Director of a family run commercial plumbing business in Ballarat.  Grant is an Executive Board Member & Treasurer of the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia.  Grant is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


David Newnham

Representative of Building Trades Employers

David Newnham was appointed to the Board on the 1st of July 2011 after being an alternate Director since March 2011.  David has 40 years of experience in the construction industry after graduating as a civil engineer.  He has been State Building Manager for AV Jennings.  After a management buyout of Stonehaven Homes in 1997, he became Managing Director retiring in 2016.  He remains a Director of the company.  David has been a Director and President of the Master Builders Association of Victoria and was a member of the Building Practitioners Board from 1998 to 2006.  He has also served as a Director of Incolink, the construction industry severance fund.  David is a member of the Investment Committee.  David has also served as an expert witness for registration appeals at the Victorian Building Authority and mentor for the Victorian Small Business Mentoring Service. David has been reappointed for another 4 year term to the LeavePlus Board.


Michael Purnell

Representative of Electrical Trades Employers

Michael Purnell joined the Board on 16th of March 2016.  Michael has a long history of Company Director, General Management and Management Consulting roles with high profile organisations including 21 years in the construction industry.  He has served on the National & Victorian Councils of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) as well as the NECA Industry Advisory Committee.  He is currently also a Director of Protect and NECA Education & Careers.  He is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Society of Accountants.  Michael is a member of the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee.


Michael Paynter

Representative of Metal Trades Employers

Michael Paynter was appointed as a Director on the Board on 1st July 2023. He holds both a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Economics and a Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations from Monash University. Michael has over 40 years of Industrial Relations experiences representing business and government on major projects in Victoria including the Regional Rail Link, Melbourne Airport, the Australian Grand Prix and the Suburban Rail Loop. Michael is also on the Incolink No 2 Fund Board for South Australia and NSW and holds a principal consultant position with Peregrine Industrial, an Industrial and Workplace Relations consultancy firm providing strategic advice to government departments and other major organsiations.


Meetings of the Board occur at least nine times throughout the year, with Board Committee meetings held in conjunction when strategically required. The Chief Executive Officer, General Manager Technology & Innovation, General Manager Finance & Investment, General Manager People & Culture, General Manager Membership Services and General Counsel attend all Board meetings.