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About your HAARC members

About your HAARC members

Lauchland (Lauchie) Avery

HAARC Chairperson
Community Member 
Former Tasmania Police Commander (North West District) 

Lauchie joined Tasmania Police in 1979 serving in numerous areas but always seemed to gravitate to the North West Coast, serving in Ulverstone and Devonport as a Detective Sergeant in the late 1990s.

From 2005-2010, Lauchie served as Inspector in Charge of Devonport area and had extensive involvement with the community. In 2010, he was promoted to Commander in Charge of the North Western area which also included the role as Regional Emergency Management Controller.

In 2016, he retired and has since become involved as a volunteer in a couple of Committees which he has an interest in. These are balanced with family and pursuing interests of farming, fishing and travelling.

When approached to take on the role of Chair for this Committee, Lauchie’s initial reaction was one of hesitancy due to his many years dealing with grief and emergencies involving varying degrees of trauma. On reflection, he decided that if the skills and leadership that he has developed through his policing career could assist this Community in some way to advance down the recovery path, then he should again step up and assist in the process.

Tim Blair

Community member 

Following a diagnosis of epilepsy, Tim turned to running to increase his fitness and health and has fallen in love with the sport since. Tim’s running became about helping others and has participated in numerous marathons and fun runs (both in Australia and internationally) to raise money for sick children.

In 2011, Tim encountered health issues which stopped him from running. As a result, Tim’s family, friends and the community created the Tim Blair Run for Kids (Kids Helping Kids) to provide others in the community the opportunity to participate in the fun run and help raise money.

Encouraging children to be their best is something Tim is extremely passionate about and he has worked closely with the Department of Education and the The Kids Cancer Project on how to improve health and wellbeing for children. Tim continues to run and support what he believes is the biggest assest this world has, children.

Kiara Digby

Community member

Kiara is a young Devonport resident and a passionate advocate for the wellbeing of young people, particularly those experiencing psychosocial challenges. She has completed studies in Applied Health and Community support and works as a Crisis Accommodation worker at a youth shelter. Kiara is a member of the Headspace Youth Reference Group and volunteers as a drug and alcohol peer worker to give back to the community and assist disadvantaged and vulnerable community members. 

Ally Smith

Community member

Ally has worked in health and community services with families, women, men, young people and communities.  She is a qualified social worker and runs her own business supporting people from community services, allied health, aged and disability sectors.

Ally has lived and worked in the Devonport community for 25 years and has been active in community groups, including being a current member of the Zonta Club of Devonport. When not working or engaging with the community, you will find Ally reading a book, strolling along the Mersey River or potting in the vege garden.

Fiona Smith 

Hillcrest Primary School Association

Fiona has been involved as a parent and volunteer at Hillcrest Primary School since 2014 and an Office bearer of Hillcrest Primary School Association since 2019. She is also in her 2nd year as an Office bearer of the Devonport Junior Soccer Association. Married with 1 high school age child and 2 primary school aged children, Fiona has lived in Devonport for the past 21 years.

She has had a long career in administration roles, including the local building business established by herself and her husband. Fiona’s admin work for local business initiatives she is involved in, volunteering within the community mainly at HPS & DJSA, combined with 3 children’s sporting and out of school activities, keeps her very busy.

Matthew Atkins

General Manager 
Devonport City Council 

Matthew Atkins has worked with the Devonport City Council for 14 years and has served in the position of General Manager for the last 2 and half years. Married with 2 high school aged children, Matthew has grown up in the Devonport region and has strong networks within the community.

In addition to Matthew’s role within the community as General Manager, he was a volunteer for 5 years as a “Kids Hope” mentor at the Hillcrest Primary School.

Ben Neate

Director, Operations (North) 
Department of Education 

Ben has worked in a variety of roles in the Education sector for over 20 year with the Department of Education in Tasmania.  Ben is currently leading the Departments support team for Hillcrest PS, prior to this  was working as Director Operations, Northern Region since 2018. Ben has extensive experience in regional management roles for the Department, with formal qualifications in Business Administration, Human Resources and general management.

Ben is based in the Northern Region, married with 3 school age children. 

Ben has been directly involved in the Department of Education’s support for the school community since the tragedy and is deeply committed to ongoing the recovery and support needs of the staff, students and wider school community.

Paula Hyland

Department of Health

Paula Hyland is the Executive Director Allied Health within the Department of Health and Tasmanian Health Service. Paula has a background as a Speech Pathologist and has lived and worked in the North West since 2004. Paula is representing the Department of Health and links the HAARC with other areas of the Department of Health.