Current Committee Members


VALID is an independent incorporated association managed by a committee of management. The VALID Committee of Management is elected annually by the members of the association. The VALID Committee is supported and informed by the VALID Self Advocacy Forum, a sub-committee of members drawn from VALID's Regional Self Advocacy Networks. VALID’s Constitution states that two people with disabilities must be elected by the Self Advocacy Forum each year to join the Committee of Management.

Committee Members 

Peter Dibbs

Former TAFE Accounting and Business teacher (20 plus years!). Peter also ran his own Tax Practice from home in Mentone until 2014 when he decided it was time to go to full time fun mode.

A dedicated traveller who in 2015 added Alaska to the beautiful spots visited since first leaving Australia over 40 years ago. Hopeful of becoming a Grey Nomad but currently not in possession of a caravan. A disappointed but hopeful Demons follower.  Enthusiasms: Good food, red wine, red sports cars, jazz and group exercise classes.

Deb JohnsonDebs Johnson

Debs is a married mum of four and a retired SRN/midwife.  Her eldest two sons, Will and Andrew, have autism and multiple disabilities and are in DHHS residential care, yet still needing frequent assistance from their mum!  Daughter, Holly, is doing Occupational Therapy at Monash Uni and her youngest son, Lachie, also has autism and is making friends and doing well at his local high school. 

Debs was part of the VALID Fight the Fee Hike campaign and loves being on the VALID committee. She has lobbied on disability-related issues and is passionate about the impact of privatisation of the disability sector upon DHHS residents. In her spare hours, Deb loves photography, gardening, the Geelong Cats and completing Sudoku puzzles without cheating. 


Janice Castledine

Janice is currently employed as an Economist in the banking industry. During the course of her career Janice has lived and worked overseas in many countries which has given her ‘the wander lust’ and really enjoys travelling. Being a Melbourne girl, footy is always on the menu, along with live theatre, movies, horse racing, and catching up with family and friends.

Janice advocates for many families and especially families who may have a family member with behaviors of concern.  Janice co-facilitates a Peer Action Group for Valid for families who have a family member who displays behaviors of concern. Janice is currently holding the position of Vice President of VALID.

Janice is a mother of two young men, one of whom has profound Autism.  He is the reason why Janice is passionate for social justice for all people with a disability.

Dot Leigh

Dot is a life member of VALID, inaugural President of VALID from 1993 - 1998 Vice President1998 -2005 and current President since 2005. She is also an Associate member of Karingal (Barwon  Region) and Convenor of the Geelong Parent Network.

Dot is the mother of Greg (deceased1975 - 1993) and foster mother to Rosie since 1979. Dot resigned after 23 years with the State Education Department to take full time care of Greg who was born with Down Syndrome and later Rosie who also has Down Syndrome.

Dot was active in the Northern Metro Region from 1975 - 2000 through her membership  of the School Councils - Middle Kinglake Primary School, and Merriang Special Developmental School. She was also a member of the Committee of Management of the Whittlesea District Adult Training and Support Services.

Thea Calzoni

Thea Calzoni is an independent writer and parent support facilitator at Melbourne City Mission. Mother of Julian, a vibrant young man with an intellectual disability, she values government and community support to enhance the capacity of people with disabilities


Samson Hailu

Samson is currently completing a Diploma of Community Services Kangan Tafe after completing a certificate in Information Technology and Multimedia along with a Certificate 4 in Disability Studies. Samson is the facilitator of the Brimbank Peer Action Group and a Community Educator for the Mainstream and Me project. Samson has Cerebral Palsy and has been involved in the disability sector for the last three years. 


Elaine Robb

Elaine Rob is an experienced executive with a history of achieving maximum results through the development of high performing teams. Elaine’s record of success includes saving small businesses from closure, restoration of profit and the establishment of additional business opportunities. She has worked in a variety of business, educational, community and government organisations and has developed strong international links and staff exchange initiatives. Elaine is also an experienced international speaker at conferences in USA, Fiji, Mexico, Nepal, Canada, on a variety of topics around employment and training for people with disabilities, the development of social enterprises and the implementation of the NDIS.

John Handley

John was admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in 1977 and worked as an employee solicitor in Melbourne until 1981. John then moved to Shepparton and commenced private practice, predominately as a plaintiff/applicant solicitor, in personal injury litigation until 1988. He returned to Melbourne in early 1989 to take up appointment as a Member of the Crimes Compensation Tribunal. From July 1989 John was a Senior Member of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) until December 2016 when he retired.

During the last few years with the AAT John worked extensively establishing the case management practice for NDIA applications and was subsequently the case manager of NDIA applications in Victoria.  John is presently undertaking a Certificate 1V disability course. John is married, with adult step sons and one (so far) grandchild. His interests include gardening, bread baking, ceramics, working with timber and golf.