About Us

The Barnett Foundation believes that safe, secure accommodation enhances life outcomes, especially for families.

It is prepared to reinvest the value it creates through its projects, to deliver this accommodation to those most in need.

The residential market in Melbourne has changed over the last 50 years resulting in:

  • Housing affordability moving to an all time low with many low and middle income earners struggling to access the home ownership market; and
  • The opportunity for tenants of social housing to exit social housing, via the purchase of their own home, evaporating.

One of the consequences of these changes has been the growing list of people experiencing homelessness who are unable to access social housing because the social housing portfolio is full, it is not growing fast enough and it is not seeing the exits of social housing tenants that was the norm in the mid twentieth century.

To help address this crisis, the Barnett Foundation develops apartments that provide pathways to affordable home ownership to tenants of social housing enabling these tenants to vacate their social housing dwelling for occupation by families on the waiting list. 

The Barnett Foundation has been granted:

  • Public Benevolent Institution status by the Australian Charities & Not-for-profit Commission; and 
  • Deductible Gift Recipient and Income Tax Relief status by the Australian Taxation Office.

Our People

From left: Ian McHutchison, Kerryn Thorson, Hylton Mackley, Chris Lovell, Sorayia Noorani, James Wilton, Peter Hart and Mike James


Mike James

For the last 13 years Mike has specialised in the governance of not-for-profit organisations. He was an inaugural director of Goodstart Ltd in 2010, a director/Chair of Social Traders Ltd and director/Deputy Chair of the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Mike is currently a Council Member (and previous Chair) of the David Scott School in Frankston.

Peter Hart

Peter is a civil engineer and has been actively involved in the construction and property industries in Australia for more than 35 years as a contractor, consultant and developer. He conceived and undertook the Melbourne Apartments Project, the pilot project which led to the formation of the Barnett Foundation. When not contributing to the Barnett Foundation, he consults to private and not for profit enterprises to enhance their property and development requirements.

Project worker

Gina Basile

Gina is a project worker for the Barnett Foundation through a partnership with Melbourne City Mission, supporting the delivery of new projects. She has worked for Melbourne City Mission for 16 years, covering all stages of the homelessness spectrum, including early intervention, working with at-risk clients, assisting individuals experiencing crisis, and providing support to individuals emerging out of homelessness.

Chris Lovell

Chris is Chair of VicForests and Chair of Holding Redlich Lawyers. Chris is currently a director of the Clemenger Group and City West Water. He is the immediate past Chair of LawExchange International and a member of its Executive Committee.

Hylton Mackley AM

Hylton has been a Director of Clemenger Group Ltd since 1976
He became Honorary Treasurer of the Victorian Artists Society in 2015.

Ian McHutchison OAM

Ian has held leadership positions in the for profit and not for profit sectors. He is Chair of Eva Tilley Memorial Home, Chair of Unison Housing Limited and a Board member of MECWA.


Sorayia Noorani

Sorayia, as one of the participants in the pilot project, has a deep understanding of the Barnett model as a purchaser. She brings knowledge and experience ranging from project and case management and public health communications across government and independent organisations.

Finance Director

Kerryn Thorson

Kerryn is a Chartered Accountant with extensive financial and taxation experience in the property development sector. Kerryn is active in her community and has held Treasurer positions on not for profit committees.

Chief Executive

James Wilton

James is the Chief Executive of the Barnett Foundation, applying his time and experience to the development of a model he believes can contribute to alleviating the current unacceptable level of homelessness in this country. Previously, he worked in property and construction with companies including Lend Lease and in corporate finance at Macquarie Bank

Media and Publishing

From time to time Barnett will include relevant media stories and publications surrounding and commenting on the affordable housing industry and Barnett activities therein.

Join Us

Barnett is tackling the unacceptable level of homelessness in this country.  

We are always ready to welcome land owners, financial supporters and service providers wishing to join us on this very necessary journey.

Get in touch