Board of Directors

Our Story.

Earl Setches : Chair

Earl Setches completed his apprenticeship in 1982 and worked “on the tools” until 1999 when he was elected Victorian Assistant Secretary of the PTEU. After two years in this role he attained the positions of State and Federal Secretary, both of which he has held since 2001.

Earl has been a driving force in the consolidation of partnerships within the Plumbing Industry and he has been instrumental in the creation, construction and success of the Plumbing Joint Training Fund (PJTF) and the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC). PICAC is a unique industry collaboration providing world’s best training with a key focus on sustainable plumbing technologies.

Earl is Chair of the PJTF and PICAC Boards. He is a Member of the Victorian Building Authority Plumbing Advisory Council (VBAPAC), the Building Industry Consultative Committee, Incolink and CBus (the Construction and Building Industry Super Fund) Boards.

Carmel Coate : Deputy Chair

Carmel Coate is the Executive Director of the National Fire Industry Association. She is also a Director of Rocarm Pty Ltd; a Director of the PJTF; Board Chair of Fire Industry Training Pty Ltd, a Registered Training Organisation; and is a PICAC Director.

Carmel is currently Deputy Chair of the VBAPAC.

Carmel has been a member of the SAA/SNZ Fire Protection Joint Standards Coordinating Council since September 1999 and has represented her members’ interests on several committees.

Carmel has a passion to ensure every individual has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. For more than 30 years Carmel has worked hard to ensure resources and support are available to allow personal development in the fire industry and brings a wealth of experience from the training environment to the Foundation.

Scott Dowsett

Scott Dowsett founded his first company, Scott Dowsett Plumbing Services, in 1992 and subsequently restructured in 2008 with new Director and owner, Chadd Cooke, joining him to form Cooke & Dowsett. The result is a combined 40 years of plumbing expertise and industry knowledge.

Cooke & Dowsett holds part ownership in NUDJ plumbing, a not for profit organisation based in Broome that is committed to the training and development of Indigenous youth in the Pilbara region.

Scott spreads his expertise across a number of different businesses as a Director of Cooke & Dowsett, Central Plumbing & Hardware Supplies, Riddells Creek Business Centre, DJT Concrete Cutting, NUDJ Plumbing, FDS Plumbing Australia and the
Prince Alfred Hotel. He is also the President of the Master Plumbers’ and Mechanical Services Association of Australia.

Ken Gardner

Ken Gardner graduated from Melbourne University in 1978 with a Law Degree and an Arts Degree (Major in Economics). He completed his Articles in 1980 and was admitted as a Solicitor.

In 1985, Ken joined the Victorian Government Department of Minerals and Energy, and in 1997, was appointed the Director of Gas Safety and Chief Executive Officer of a new statutory authority.

In 2004, Ken became the Chief Electrical Inspector and in 2005 established Energy Safe Victoria. Ken held that position for four years before moving to the Master Plumbers’ and Mechanical Services Association of Australia in 2009 as Chief Executive Officer.

Ken is Chair of the VBAPAC, Hon Secretary/Treasurer for the World Plumbing Council and is on the Boards of the Construction and Property Services – Industry Skills Council and the PJTF.

Joe Grande

Joe Grande is currently the Administrator of Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation and has over twenty years of experience in Community Development with Indigenous Communities and Corporations in the West Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

As a qualified accountant he also brings sound financial management and corporate governance knowledge in the non-for-profit sector.

Joe is passionate about working with Indigenous Australians in delivering real outcomes including long term sustainable employment and improved personal wellbeing.

Joe is a current Director of Kimberley Employment Services Pty Ltd; Kullarri Building Pty Ltd; Broome Electrical Services Limited; and NUDJ Plumbing Services Pty Ltd.

Michael Long

Michael Long was one of the most talented footballers to have played in the Australian Football League (AFL). Recruited in 1989 by Essendon from St Mary’s Football Club in the Northern Territory, Michael’s skills earned him the Best First Year Player Award. He played 190 games for Essendon, was Co-Captain in 1999 and played in two premierships.

Michael’s parents were removed from their families as children and raised in the Tiwi Islands. His parents’ experiences shaped Michael’s determination to fight racial discrimination.

In 1995, following an ANZAC Day game against Collingwood, Michael became the first Indigenous player to highlight racial abuse when he reported offensive language used by an opposition player. As a result of Michael’s actions, the AFL adopted a new rule aimed at stopping racial and religious vilification. In 2001 he retired as a professional footballer to focus on working with Indigenous Australians.

In November 2004, Michael left his Melbourne home to walk to Canberra to meet the then Prime Minister John Howard. His aim was to discuss the plight of Indigenous Australians and raise public awareness of the issues facing Indigenous communities. Thousands of people joined the walk which became known as ‘The Long Walk’. By 2006 the Long Walk became part of the AFL’s ‘Dreamtime at the G’, a week of football which is dedicated to the role Indigenous footballers play in Australian Rules Football.

Michael Long is Essendon Football Club’s first Indigenous Ambassador.

Erik Locke

Erik has operated at senior levels of the political and corporate spheres for over twenty years.

Growing up in Western Australia, Erik worked for State and Federal parliamentarians and for the West Australian Branch of the ALP, arriving in Melbourne in 1997 to work for Jenny Macklin as an electorate officer and later as an adviser.

Having worked in a London-based communications role for a major investment bank, he returned to Australia in 2000 to work for the ALP National Secretariat.  Erik became a senior adviser and Chief of Staff to the Education Minister in 2001 and then State Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the ALP.  During his political involvement, Erik was an adviser to several spokespersons for indigenous affairs.

Since 2005, Erik has been the CEO of a major public relations and public affairs firm and managed a boutique communications consultancy.   He also worked at senior levels of the labour movement and did a stint as a Chief of Staff during the Rudd Government.

Erik has been a passionate advocate for equality, education and training, infrastructure and the development of a diverse, innovative and high-wage economy.

Shayne La Combre : Secretariat

Shayne La Combre is the Chief Executive Officer of the PICAC which is a unique facility offering world class training – in many cases with facilities without equal anywhere else in the world.

In 2011 Shayne was elected to the Board of the World Plumbing Council (WPC) and is the Deputy Chair for the 2013 – 2016 term. The WPC is committed to improving the standards of plumbing around the world to give better access to safe drinking
water and sanitation to all.

Prior to this Shayne was Director of Plumbing at Victoria’s plumbing industry regulator, the Plumbing Industry Commission (now the VBA), a role he held for 7 years.