NTA Australia is a largely voluntary organisation based in Canberra. It is overseen by an eight-person board with expertise in different fields of aid activity, and is chaired by Ron Thompson, a retired banker and businessperson. Colin Barlow is the CEO. The board is supported by three committees, in Finance, Operations and Membership and Marketing.

NTA’s two Australian paid staff are our Executive Officer, Phil Domaschenz, who is responsible for fundraising, and Operations Manager, Stephanie Heighes, who represents NTA Australia in implementing water and sanitation and education activities. Phil and Stephanie are backed by a team of volunteers, whose main objective is to raise money and organise activities in Australia’s major cities and Jakarta.  



Chair of the Board and Treasurer: Ron Thompson

Ron is the former Group General Manager of Electro Optic Systems Pty Limited and a Senior International Banker with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Ron is the principal of Ron S Thompson & Associates Pty Limited.

President and Chief Executive Officer: Dr Colin Barlow

Colin is an academic specialising in the problems of small small-scale rubber and oil-palm producers in Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University. Colin first visited Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) in 1988, where he and other colleagues were taken aback by the poverty-stricken conditions. In 1992, Colin and Shirley Bowman founded the NTA. Colin holds a PhD from the University of Aberdeen.

Secretary: Jade Thinault

Jade is a young professional working in the field of International Development, currently at ActionAid Australia. Jade studied International Law and Languages (English, Spanish and Italian) and obtained a master’s degree in the Law of State Rebuilding in a Post-Conflict Environment from the University of Aix-Marseille, France. Jade has been volunteering with the NTA since June 2020.

Board Members:

Professor Rob Cramb

Rob is Professor of Agricultural Development in the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Queensland. His research interests centre on rural development, agrarian change, and natural resource management in Southeast Asia, focusing on the evolution of farming systems, land tenure arrangements, and community-based resource management in a variety of agro-ecological zones. Rob holds a PhD from Monash University.

Ming Wei Cheah, CPA

Ming is tax accountant (manager) in Kinsella Chartered Accountants in Canberra, Australia. He previously worked for Tailored Accounts (Canberra) and Khazanah Nasional (Kuala Lumpur). He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Australian National University. Ming began volunteering for NTA’s finance committee in 2013.

Wendy Emerton

Wendy has over 15 years’ experience working with a range of public and private sector organisations in program and policy roles. She has worked in Australia and internationally with KPMG, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Agency for International Development. Prior to joining KPMG, Wendy represented the Australian Government in numerous roles and countries, including large multi-lateral fora and bilateral negotiations. Wendy speaks fluent Indonesian and intermediate French.

Dr Ian Nuberg

Ian is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide. He works across a range of disciplines within agriculture and natural resource management. His focus is primarily agroforestry and agricultural extension, particularly in the context of developing countries. Ian’s work uses both biophysical and social science methods. He currently leads a 10 year program of agroforestry / community forestry research in Nepal. He has also published in the areas of tree water use, horticultural plant pathology, bioenergy, tree genetics, and climate change. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne. His research profile can be accessed at

Dr Ria Gondorwarsito 

Ria is a sociologist who specialises in rural community development. Ria is a former development consultant to the World Bank. She has been a member of the Board since its formation in 2007. Ria holds a PhD from Bielefeld University.



Phil Domaschenz

Phil holds a degree focused on natural resource management. He was employed for 30 years within the Australian Government at local and national levels and worked in areas focused on the management of urban landscapes, forests, national parks and fisheries. His employment has covered Indonesian natural resource issues for 15 years and he was seconded to Indonesia for a year as Programme Management Specialist for a national coral reef management programme. 

Stephanie Heighes

Stephanie is a social anthropologist who studied at the University of Zurich in Switzerland focusing on development studies in South East Asia. She started to work in the field of humanitarian aid after the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, for Caritas Switzerland and the American Red Cross. Later, she became a member of the rapid response team of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and worked for Swisscontact and other aid organisations in Flores, NTT, where she lived for the past 11 years with her family.



Finance Committee

Chair: Ron Thompson

Members: Petrus Usmanij, Ming Wei Cheah CPA

Membership & Marketing Committee

Chair: Phil Domaschenz

Members: Bernard Morris, Omar Gannash, Veenan Openg, Dr Xi Wen (Carys) Chan, Iona Main

Operations Committee

Chair: Dr Colin Barlow

Members: Don Bosco, Frans Wayan, Tina Niat, Ian NubergDr Lesley Potter, Dr Ria Gondorwarsito, George Miller, Associate Professor John McCarthy, David Lever, Mark Hunter, Sally Goodspeed, Susanna Batchelder, Juris Jakovics, Michael Cox, Stephen Barry, Sheron Denoon, Anton Usmanij, Phil Domaschenz, Jacob Wray, Keith Gray, Graham Rady, Peter Walton, Tracey McMartin, Douglas Graham, Stephanie Heighes, Kate Sollis, John Wickett, Jade Thinault, Rebekah Smith, Tom Moore, Brolin Barr, Thilak Mallawaarachchi, Heidi Lipson, Jessica Cong, Stephen McMillan, Bill Andrews

Dr. Petrus A. Usmanij, CMA

Petrus is a La Trobe Business School academic (Melbourne) who has worked pro-bono as accounting adviser and auditor of the NTA in auditing, investigating, and reporting the financial aspects of the NTA's Indonesian counterparts in Kupang, Flores and West Timor since 2007. Petrus has successfully trained the local staff in Kupang in order to meet the accounting requirements of the NTA and DFAT. He has also been involved in a few DFAT accreditations and was a member of the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.