Executive Committee

President - John de Ridder

is a telecommunications economist who has been consulting/retired (“almost the same thing”) since 2002 when he moved to Corlette from Melbourne. He has been President of the Port Stephens Bridge Club and of the Victorian Economic Society and is a Rotarian.

Vice President - Geoff Basser OAM

Geoff received his OAM in 2021. He was an Apexian for 23 years and has been a Rotarian for the last 38 years. When a Rotarian at Lindfield was involved in the establishment of the Kurring-gai Youth Mental Wellbeing and Development Service (KYDS) .

Secretary - Meryl Miller

arrived in Port Stephens in 2015. She was a versatile, high achieving human resource system expert who held a senior global role with one of the world’s largest consumer goods organisations. Meryl is also the Publicity Director for the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre and on the Port Stephens Council’s Strategic Arts Committee. She held the roles of Treasurer, Secretary, and Correspondence Secretary at the Probus Club of Port Stephens for four years December 2014 – March 2019.

Treasurer - Peter Buckley

Peter Buckley is a retired Chartered Accountant and has been living and working in Nelson Bay for over 30 years. During that period he ran his own accounting/tax practice and prior to that worked in the manufacturing sector in Sydney after a number of years working with an International firm of Chartered Accountants. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Nelson Bay and still actively involved in local community/not for profit charities.

Bill Salter

retired to Nelson Bay after 30 years of high-level international experience and ten years in national government. From 2007 to 2012, as Director of the International Labour Office (ILO), Bill led the ILO’s largest team of specialists outside its headquarters, responsible for providing policy support to governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations throughout most of Asia and the Pacific. He was also Chairman of the ILO’s Procurement Review Committee, which was responsible for overseeing all major procurement proposals.

David Gray

moved to Nelson Bay in 1984 to develop the Salamander Project, comprising the shopping centre, tennis ranch, golf course and the surrounding 500 lot subdivision for the Port Stephens Council.  He has been a property developer for 50 years and has run his own property development company since 1988. He was the founding president of Nelson Bay Toastmasters; a director and chairman of the Tourist Organisation of Port Stephens and a member of the Nelson Bay Chamber of Commerce.  He has been a councillor on the Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW (UDIA) and has recently been elected a Life Member of the UDIA.

Damian Coxon

is a Senior Business Analyst and former British Army Captain in the Royal Military Police. He developed training programmes for the Military Police in the British Army for seven years; including service in Afghanistan.

Damian moved to Nelson Bay in 2014. He has a wife (Karla), a 7 year old son (Ethan) and a 5 year old daughter (Lucy) who all love being part of the Port Stephens community.

Damian looks to bring his strategic and analytical skills to COPSY to help it build upon its past success and provide even more support to the youth of Port Stephens.

Matt Clements

Registered Psychologist - Matt Clements

has been employed as a school counsellor for more than 20 years and provides psychological services in private practice in the local community.

Matt is passionate about providing quality comprehensive care to young people in need.

Elechia Jones

is a CFO with over 15 years of experience. She is CPA qualified and assists business owners with planning, implementing, managing, and running all finance activities, including growth, budgeting, forecasting and strategy.

She is currently studying Master of Business Administration and Professional Accounting.

Elechia has lived in Fern Bay for the past nine years and lives with her husband of 20 years and her two fur babies, Chuck and Gidget. Elechia likes to keep busy on the weekends, swimming, riding and running and sometimes puts them together to compete in triathlons both 70.3 and full ironman distances.

As well as this, COPSY established a Steering Committee of clinical and community professionals, along with representative stakeholder groups.


  • Supported by the community, individuals and government agencies at all levels including local MP’s.
  • The community owns it; all the committee of COPSY are volunteers who have been working on this project for four years.
  • Most of the current committee are current Rotarians.

We Care for Our Port Stephens Youth – there are few services, and certainly none that are free.