Who we are

Uniting Housing Board of Directors

David Cant – Chairperson

Qualifications:  BA (Politics and Economics) Oxford University; MPhil (Town Planning), University College London; Senior Executive Program, London Business School; Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors

David has worked in the affordable housing sector for over 40 years across a range of functional areas and including 4 years as a regulator for the UK Housing Corporation.  He has been a CEO in “not for dividend” housing organisations for over 20 years.  Prior to his arrival in 2000 to Australia, David was the CEO of New Islington and Hackney Housing Association in London, a charity with over 6000 homes for those in need.

In Australia, David was the founding CEO of the Brisbane Housing Company (BHC), which is the leading community housing provider in Queensland.  David served on the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness from its establishment in 2009 until it was abolished following a change of government.  David currently (2020) holds Board Memberships on the Commonwealth sponsored National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) and PowerHousing Australia and is joint chair of Under 1 Roof a consortium of housing and homelessness organisations in Brisbane.  In a voluntary capacity David supports PowerHousing Australia and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) with initiatives to promote opportunities for non-executive directors of community housing providers (CHPs) to be better informed and exert influence for good.  David volunteers as a mentor of colleagues in the CHP industry.


Kristie Looney – General Manager Housing and Property, Company Secretary

Kristie has a passion for social justice and a strong commitment to redressing inequality in the housing sector. Kristie was the co-founder of Property Initiatives, a social enterprise established by Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI). Prior to that role Kristie had five years’ experience as Social Enterprise/Development Manager and Tenancy & Property Manager with Women’s Property Initiatives.



John Robertson Preston

Qualifications: Grad.Dip.Org.Beh

John has held several senior administrative positions with the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania for over thirty years. Before retiring he was Director of Property and Insurance Services and Property Officer and Secretary of the Property Trusts of both Victoria and Tasmania. He is a Foundation Member of Kondanani Zambia Inc., and former Director of the Asian Development Foundation and the Australian Human Rights Foundation.


David Lister Pratt

David has spent a lifetime in small business, initially in the family business, David Pratt & Sons – General Merchants, followed by Eureka Valve Manufactures – Production Sales Co-ordinator and his own business David Pratt’s Colour Centre – Suppliers of Artists Materials. He has also been actively engaged in his local community, serving as a director Greater Ballarat Building Society; past president Apex Club Wendouree; past president & member of Rotary Club of Ballarat East Inc; past president and councillor Old Colonists Association of Ballarat Inc. (Provides of low cost housing for the elderly disadvantaged); past chairperson and board member UnitingCare Ballarat Parish Mission and numerous roles within the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.


Brian Collins

Qualifications: Cert. Applied Science – Medical Laboratory Technology

Brian is a past chairperson of UnitingCare Ballarat, having been a board member since 2007.  He brings ten years’ experience as a Medical Laboratory Technician in public hospital pathology laboratory.  He was Founding partner in the medical laboratory software company, Triple G Corporation and has spent 25 years developing software for the medical market



Rev. Jenny Hayes

Qualifications: BThl

Jenny is currently the  Minister of the Highlands Cluster and Chair PRC of the Presbytery Western Victoria.

Jenny has wide and varied experience in organisations within the church and community, including : 15 years as a Prison Chaplain, Founding member and 12 years as Chair of Werribee Housing, 12 years as Chair of Skillshare Werribee, 12 years as Chair of Heathdale Community Centre, Chair of Presbytery Port Phillip West, numerous committees of the Synod over 20 years, plus a lifetime of voluntary participation.

Gabrielle Waters

Gabrielle has over 25 years’ experience in property development and corporate operations in Australia and overseas having held executive roles with RMIT University, Affordable Housing Solutions, Primelife, Hamton and Jones Lang LaSalle. A property development and corporate strategy professional Gabrielle has held executive and board advisory roles for a range companies including private and public sector, not-for-profit, government and A-REIT’s. Her expertise includes the establishment of sustainable property strategies to maximise uplift and value which extends across individual site, market and portfolio assessment through to complex master planning, investment/divestment, funding, joint venture and government partnerships. Sector experience includes mixed use, affordable housing, retirement and aged care, commercial and educational portfolios. Outside work Gabrielle is an active participant in multiple charitable organisations and committees and holds accreditation in RMIT’s Bundgyi Girri Initiative supporting the enterprise RAP in developing active relationship with place, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and sovereignty.

John Thomson

John has a range of knowledge and skills within the social and affordable housing sector. John has consulted for 20 years in the housing and homelessness sectors and have a background in evaluation, strategic planning, and modelling in both the private and public sectors. He has specific strengths in financial analysis and organisational development; and is familiar with publicly funded programs at State and Commonwealth Government levels, including the issues associated with providing social housing, and in particular by church based organisations.

Heather Watson

Heather is a specialist charity lawyer and former Partner with McCullough Robertson, Lawyers. She has broad experience across the non-profit sector with specialist expertise in the areas of aged care, health and community services, affordable housing and Indigenous communities. Heather has previously been Chairperson of UnitingCare Queensland and is the current Chair of Uniting in NSW.ACT, a director of Uniting in Vic.Tas and Australian Regional and Remote Community Services, a subsidiary of UnitingCare Qld and operating in the Northern Territory. Other current directorships include Queensland Rail, Children’s Health Queensland and Chairperson, Epic Good Foundation. Other current advisory roles include Community Services Industry Alliance Reform Council (Chairperson); Advisory Council to the Queensland Family and Child Commission and Advisory Board for the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission.


Tess Lye

Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Laws; Master of Laws; Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Tess is a corporate and commercial lawyer who has held the position of General Counsel with Epworth HealthCare since 2014, with responsibility for corporate and operational legal services, corporate governance advisory services and risk management. Throughout her legal career Tess has undertaken a range of pro bono and Board roles with community legal services and community service organisations. Tess is currently a member of the Board of the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre that provides specialist support services across the Barwon, Wimmera and Western Melbourne areas of Victoria.

Company Contact Details

Office Phone: (03) 9251 5960
Email: kristie.looney@vt.uniting.org