The Latrobe Health Assembly currently has 45 members of which the majority are community representatives who were selected following an open expression of interest process concluded in the latter half of 2016.
(Department of Health and Human Services)
(Chairperson - Latrobe Health Assembly)
Professor John Catford is well aware of the health challenges and opportunities facing the communities of the Latrobe Valley through his work as a Member of the 2014 and 2015 Boards of Inquiry into the Hazelwood Mine Fire. He has worked as a child health doctor and public health specialist in Australia and overseas for more than three decades and has held senior positions in Hospitals, Universities, Government and with the World Health Organisation. He led the establishment of the Deakin Rural and Regional Medical School which opened in Geelong in January 2008. Other recent appointments have been as Board Chair of VicHealth (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation) and Board Chair of YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service) which includes FebFast.
(Community Board Member)
My background is in Health, with a double degree in Nursing and Health Promotion, and a Masters Degree in Intensive Care Nursing. This has allowed me to provide education and implement preventative health care strategies in a community setting, whilst my experience as an Intensive Care Nurse has enabled me to provide care to the sickest and most vulnerable patients in the country.
My engagement with the local community through my volunteer role as Event Director of Traralgon parkrun, as well as my employment history working at Federation University and Latrobe Regional Hospital allows me to communicate and engage with a diverse population and gives me an understanding of the local health issues and health barriers specific to this region.
My vision for the Latrobe Valley is a place where people unite as a resilient community with a strong sense of social connectedness, pride and ownership of the place in which we live. I hope to see the community coming together to showcase the diversity offered in this region, to promote it in a positive manner with emphasis on highlighting the beauty of this region through markets, family-orientated events, and social engagement strategies.
As a community representative on the Board of the Latrobe Health Assembly, I bring my experience and knowledge within the health care industry as well as my connections with the broader community through sporting and social engagements. My passion for improving the health and wellbeing of the Latrobe community is at the very core of my commitment and involvement in the Health Assembly and Make the Move Working Group.
Gary Van Driel
(Latrobe City Council)
Gary commenced Latrobe City Council on Monday 19 January 2015 as Chief Executive Officer.
Gary has over 15 years experience in senior management roles in Local Government across rural and regional Victoria. A qualified Civil Engineer and has also completed a Master in Applied Science with RMIT University and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Working in Local Government has provided Gary with a strong knowledge of local issues and allowed him to oversee many initiatives supporting the development of new skills and resilience within the local community.
(Community Board Member)
(Latrobe Community Health Services)
Over the last 30 years Ben has worked in many areas of the health and community services sector. This includes working as a registered nurse in intensive care and emergency departments, to working as a counsellor with street kids and the homeless in St Kilda.
Ben has held leadership positions in community health for over 15 years. He has a commitment to equitable models of healthcare that empower individuals to achieve their maximum level of wellness, and that address all the factors that contribute to good health including physical, psychological, social and environmental.
Ben is Chair of the Gippsland Oral Health Consortium, and CEO of Latrobe Community Health Service Ltd (LCHS). In his role as CEO, he is committed to the health and wellbeing of the Latrobe Valley community and communities across Victoria. LCHS has a focus on health promotion with a variety of services to support the community including dental, GP, allied health, gambling, alcohol and drug support services, diabetes and chronic disease management, aged, disability, carers, and support for children and families.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management, is a trained Marital Therapist, a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a Fellow of Australian Institute of Management (AIM).
(Community Board Member)
(Latrobe Regional Hospital)
Peter has qualifications in nursing, midwifery and health administration. He has worked in various sections of the health system in Australia and was the CEO at Sale and Yarram hospitals before being appointed chief executive at LRH. He holds an executive position with the Gippsland Health Alliance.
Peter has experience in planning for the future health needs of Australians and has consulted for state and commonwealth governments. He has a strong interest in the viability and sustainability of rural health services.
I am a seventy three year old retired teacher.
I emigrated to Australia in 1982 with my family because my husband had been offered a job at the Steel Company of Australia in Coburg. We lived in Pascoe Vale.
I had a three year teaching qualification from the Victoria University in Manchester and since arriving in Australia I have obtained two further degrees, a Bachelor of Education from RMIT and a Bachelor of Arts(German Language and Literature) from the University of New England, Armidale.
Whilst living in Melbourne I worked part time as a teacher and part time in the office of a steel foundry as the pay mistress and general clerical worker. In addition whilst living in Melbourne I also worked as a market research interviewer and field supervisor for the Roy Morgan Research Centre. This involved dealing with the public and some office work.
When I moved to Balook in 1991 I became a full time teacher.
On retirement from the teaching service I became involved with the Health Champions Network run by the Latrobe Community Health Service and am also a volunteer with LCHS. I am a trained Food Cents Programme presenter. I have a great interest in healthy living and eating and healthy food including its production and getting this message out to the community.
My other interests are with the Grand Strzelecki Walking Track (as Secretary), The Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park (as Treasurer) and the Balook and District Residents Association (as President)
My husband and I grow most of our own fruit and vegetables and this is done organically. I feel that through the Health Champions Network and the Latrobe Health Assembly’s Working Groups we can achieve a healthier Latrobe Valley,
I moved to Gippsland 18 months ago from the UK where I had lived and grown up my whole life. Back in the UK I grew up playing sports and then moved into the Arts when I became a teenager and worked as a professional dancer for 5 years where I toured nationally and taught a wide range of abilities and ages in contemporary dance and physical theatre.
Since moving to Australia things have changed for me dramatically, I now work for DFP Recruitment and find the work that I do very rewarding but also challenging. Since moving to the Latrobe Valley a lot has changed in the short time frame I have been here with the closure of Hazelwood Power Station and Carter Holt Harvey their has been huge job losses in the local area as we all know. What has impressed me most is the resilience and compassion displayed by a number of local individuals who will not be held back and watching the Latrobe Valley continue to work and grow is a real inspiration.
I have joined the Latrobe Health Assembly to share my experiences and knowledge from a varied career in England, in the hope that we can do something great in our community moving forward and begin to change the way the rest of Victoria looks at the Latrobe Valley.
Dr Fred Edwards
I qualified in medicine at Sheffield University in Yorkshire, England in 1983 having initially qualifying as an engineer.
Within the British National Health Service I was fast tracked and worked for 3 years in a senior General Managers position as it was perceived that I had a desirable combination of both general management experience and a professional medical qualification.
I emigrated in 1990 to Australia directly to rural general practice.
I opened my own practice in 1993.
With partners, I have developed the Hazelwood group which specialises in the development of rural general practice.
I have been involved with teaching and providing appropriate general practice experience to both Monash and Melbourne University students for several years.
In the last 7 years I have been involved as a supervisor with GP Registrars at all levels and in the provision of training and career development for many International Medical Graduates.
Away from medicine I am a keen cattle farmer.
I have lived and worked in the Latrobe Valley for most of my life, with over 30 years’ experience working in the health and community services sectors, including community health, acute health and women’s health. Building on this extensive experience, I completed a Master of Public Health in 2013.
I have always been an active community member and have endeavoured to make a contribution to the organisations, groups and communities of which I have been a part. I am a currently on the Boards of two not-for-profit organisations, Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault and Gippsland Rotary Centenary House and I am a Trustee of the Latrobe City Trust. I am also a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Moe. Through these associations, I am able to connect with and support services and projects that help to strengthen our local community.
I have a keen interest in and passion for the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in the Latrobe Valley. I have seen the impact that previous significant changes have had on the community, including following the privatisation of the power industry. As we navigate through this latest period of significant change, I look forward to working with the members of the Latrobe Health Assembly, the community, government and other organisations to develop a resilient, prosperous, strong and healthy future for this area.
My name is Kristine Travers and I live in Traralgon South with my husband. Living in Traralgon South and the wider Latrobe Valley area has been a wonderful place to raise our three daughters. Not only do I live in Traralgon South, I also teach PE at the local school. I am very passionate about encouraging healthy lifestyles through sport and fitness and encouraging children to enjoy physical activity.
I enjoy going to the gym and am passionate about coaching netball. I coach netball for the Moe Football Netball Club and also for the Gippsland League. Whilst this is very busy at times, I thoroughly enjoy it and gain great satisfaction from coaching.
Being a part of the Latrobe Health Assembly has given me the opportunity to give back and contribute to this great area. There is no doubt the Latrobe Valley is facing significant challenges health wise for our population and a fresh approach needs to be taken to help educate and support people in our region. It is my greatest wish that through the work of the Assembly, significant health improvements and outcomes will occur. I look forward to seeing some of the fabulous ideas and initiatives my fellow Assembly members have suggested, becoming reality and helping improve the lives of people in this region.
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Denise Stranger.
I have lived in Latrobe Valley for 45 years. Until recently my husband and I lived on a rural property at Tyers. We loved living there both because of the wonderful community spirit but also because of the natural beauty of the area. We found it to be a great place to raise our 2 sons.
Despite now living in Traralgon we maintain close connections with Tyers.
As a retired older member of the Health Assembly I bring many areas of interest. With a professional nursing background focusing on Mental Health and most particularly Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health my emphasis is very much upon the emotional wellbeing of our community.
The recent experience of watching and supporting my mother until her death has also heightened my awareness of the challenges experienced by the individual, staff and family at this stressful time.
However I enjoy bush walking, bike riding, gardening , reading and going to the gym. I feel that these activities can be fundamental to maximizing our wellbeing.
In retirement I am now able to participate in volunteer work. This includes volunteering in supporting those requiring palliative care services, Lifeline phone crisis support and assisting in a local Opportunity Shop.
(Gippsland Multicultural Services)
Lisa Sinha has been the Chief Executive Officer at Gippsland Multicultural Services for the last 25 years. In this role, she has been an advocate for access and equity for people from diverse backgrounds and a policy and service delivery level and an anti racism campaigner, promoting cultural competence within organisations and services. Prior to this, she worked in community housing, Aboriginal children’s services, lecturing in early childhood development and as a kindergarten teacher.
Lisa has a passion for social justice issues Having worked in the Latrobe Valley community since the late 1980s, Lisa has seen the many strengths of this community and the many challenges the region has experienced. She is pleased to be a part of the Latrobe Valley Assembly, which provides a unique opportunity for seeking out new and effective ways to develop a stronger and healthier community.
(Commonwealth Department of Health)
Jerril Rechter is the CEO of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). She has extensive leadership experience across government and not-for-profit sectors.
A World Health Organization Advisor and Chair of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations, Jerril is also a past and current member of numerous boards and committees in government and not-for-profit sectors. These include the Western Bulldogs Football Club, several Victorian Government ministerial committees including Chair of the Justice Health and Ministerial Advisory Committee and member of the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation. She regularly presents at conferences and events in Australia and internationally regarding health promotion and innovations to improve health and wellbeing.
Jerril is a recipient of Fellowships from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Australia Council, Harvard Club of Australia and the Australian Davos Forum-Future Summit. In 2015, she was named Victorian winner of the Government and Academia category at the prestigious Telstra Victoria Business Woman of the Year Awards. Jerril was named in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence in the Public Policy category for 2016. She was recently included in the inaugural Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) list, which shines a spotlight on exceptional leaders, highlighting their work and creating role models for other women in the sector.
Jerril is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Master of Business Leadership from RMIT University in Melbourne.
Under Jerril’s leadership, VicHealth is prioritising action in the Latrobe Valley, where the organisation works alongside community members, local and state government, health services and other key partners in the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone. As a member of the Latrobe Health Assembly, VicHealth strengthens and supports the Assembly’s focus on innovation and co-design by sharing the organisation’s approaches and resources, and responds to issues of local importance and prioritisation.
(Department of Health & Human Services)
Danny O’Kelly is currently the Acting Deputy Secretary for the South Division within the Department of Health and Human Services. Danny joined the department over 20 years ago working in the Disability program. Since then Danny has held a number of senior leadership roles within the department including, Director, North East Melbourne Area; Director, Loddon Area; Director, Corporate Services North Division; Assistant Director, Community Residential Services (Disability) and, Manager Primary Care (North and West).
During his tenure with the department, Danny has provided leadership, direction and oversight across significant operational programs and large change management processes including, leading the implementation of a number of significant systems reform and redevelopment initiatives. His current role as Acting Deputy Secretary South Division, oversees one of the four operational Divisions across the state. This role involves responsibility for service delivery across the South Division, an area spanning metropolitan Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula and extending to Outer Gippsland area.
Danny holds a Bachelor of Arts (LaTrobe University), Graduate Diploma Human Services
Administration (Monash) and a Master of Business (VUT) and is currently undertaking further
development through the Victorian Leadership Development Centre.
My name is Danny O’Donnell, I am a 67 years old retiree, I have lived in Morwell for 50 years, I am married to a Morwell (born and bred) retired school teacher. We have 3 adult daughters and 10 grandchildren who all live in Morwell. The eldest three grandchildren are embarking on University studies in Melbourne as of this year.
I am a fully qualified Boilermaker/ Welder and I worked in the Gippsland power, paper and oil construction industry for about 30 years, I spent the last 20 years of my working life with Apprentices Group Australia (formerly Gippsland Group Training) as a field officer and Manager.
I have been involved in Gippsland sport, predominantly football, as a player, coach and administrator for over 25 years, I have also had a strong interest in netball, basketball, soccer and tennis through my daughters and their children.
I was Chairperson of the Morwell Catholic Parish finance committee and a committee member for over 15 years, I am currently Chairperson of the Sacred Heart Retirement Village committee, a role I have held for the last 6 years.
As a member of the Latrobe Health Assembly I feel I can bring an insight that spans decades of the Latrobe Valley’s working history and hopefully enlighten other younger LHA members of a community culture vastly different to what is evident today. I am a passionate Morwell / Gippsland person, I believe we live in a fantastic part of Victoria, however, I understand the considerable challenges we face both socially and economically.
I’m Sean McLoughlin a Morwell local. I was born in Morwell, and went to school in the local area from grade Prep to finishing my undergraduate degree at Monash Gippsland. I am an accredited Social Worker and have worked locally for Berry Street in a variety of roles including case management of complex needs adolescents, and supervision of teams including family services, early years, and various community projects. I began my career as a Child Protection Practitioner with the Department of Health and Human Services before coming across to Berry Street. I possess a Master of Social Work Professional Qualifying), Bachelor of Arts (Journalism), Diploma of Project Management, Diploma of Management, Diploma of Community Services Work, and Diploma of Case Management. I am currently completing a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
As a strong believer in education being the catalyst for not only personal but community change, I am a strong advocate for having pathways for children and young people in our community. I am also passionate about the township of Morwell and have worked in extra roles such as the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Latrobe City Best Start Early Years partnership, and currently am a representative on the Morwell Central School Council, and also on the LV Youth Choices partnership. I have a strong commitment to seeing the advancement of Morwell as a thriving community of the future.
I see the Latrobe Health Assembly as happening right at the right moment in our community’s history. Health includes not just a person’s physical health but also their mental health, their standard of living, and the development of their children. As a community member of Morwell I am proud to be able to bring not only my professional experience but my lived experience to the assembly.
Professor Darryl Maybery works in the Monash University Department of Rural Health (UDRH). For 15 years he was a mental health clinician and psychologist in the areas of drug and alcohol counselling, prison psychology and employee assistance. He commenced his academic career in 1999 at La Trobe University in Wodonga after completing his PhD in the stress and wellbeing field from James Cook University. After a further five years teaching statistics and research methods, mostly to distance education students at Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga), he commenced as the Mental Health Academic at MUDRIH in Gippsland in 2009.
He is currently the Director of Monash University Department of Rural Health, and Professor Rural Mental Health in the School of Rural Health.arch projects involving rural, urban and international collaborations. A focal research area, in collaboration is in relation to vulnerable families and in particular those affected by parental mental illness.
He has over 80 publications and multiple research projects involving rural, urban and international collaborations. A focal research area, with multiple Australian and International collaborators is in relation to vulnerable families and in particular those affected by parental mental illness. The aim of this work is to stop the cycle of mental illness in families.
Den Lim moved from Melbourne to Churchill in 2004 to undertake the Bachelor of Business and Commerce at the then Monash University (and never left the region). For 8 years Den lived on campus & worked (for a decade) in various voluntary and paid positions which led to her role as Manager, Student Residences from 2009-2016.
At the end of 2016 Den took a short career break, worked at Latrobe City Council as an Economic Development Officer, joined the Latrobe Health Assembly (community member) and is an active member of ‘Latrobe Women Creating Conversations’, a community advocacy group that meets on the 1st Tues of the Month at the Vault, Morwell.
Den is a graduate of the 2017 Gippsland Community Leadership Program. The program solidified her knowledge, broadened her perspective and extended her network across the region.
Den is now the Neighbourhood Learning Links Coordinator at Berry Street, supporting the ‘3840 Our Learning Future’ project working collaboratively with stakeholders and community to establish a new ‘Learn Local’ to provide further study and employment pathways.
Coming from a refugee background, Den understands the importance of education, employment and social connectedness as platforms to develop independence and confidence to pursue dreams and aspirations. Having worked with individuals and communities from all walks of life, Den is passionate about supporting the whole person and creating opportunities to develop individual skills and passions through learning and education. It is for these reasons, Den was drawn to the Pride of Place, Employment and Education workgroup.
Den loves connecting, working and collaborating with others to make big and small things happen. There is a wealth of knowledge, expertise and creative minds in the Latrobe Valley. With the right support, resources and connections, individuals and communities can achieve amazing things and thrive together. The Latrobe Health Assembly has been charged to do this, to be the glue that supports all aspects of health and community development. Den feels privileged to be part of this innovative movement and looks forward to shaping the Valley together.
Debbie Knight has worked and volunteered in the Latrobe Valley community sector for over 35 years. She is a lifelong supporter and advocate of health and wellbeing of the region. She believes that social, environmental and economic factors are important determinants of health and wellbeing and each are inter-related. Members of the Latrobe Valley community cannot achieve their fullest potential unless they are able to take control of those things which determine their wellbeing and believes she is in a strong position to assist in this area.
Currently she is the CEO of Interchange Gippsland, Board member of Lifeline Gippsland and a Justice of the Peace. Debbie wants an inclusive community where all are respected and have the opportunity to access and participate in activities of their own choice.
Debbie believes that the Latrobe Health Assembly requires a broad based membership that covers primary health and prevention as well as community engagement and wellbeing. Through her professional experience she has valuable insights to our community especially in the needs of people with a disability and their families.
Arfa Sarfaraz Khan
I originally come from Pakistan and is the president of United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley (2015-2016/2017-2018),our organisation won the best community event award AG the Australian Day Award In Morwell.
I have worked as journalist Public relations officer and a lecturer.I have done my masters in political science and development journalism.I was the editor of local newspaper ‘Traf News’ and is engaged in the development of local community.
I am an ardent supporter of women’s empowerment and education,as well a strong advocate of multi faith causes .Coming from Pakistan where I have taught graduate students and as well underprivileged children.
I have joined the Latrobe Health Assembly with the aim to represent Muslims and multicultural community living in the region and to rely their needs in the region.
I firmly believe that at the heart of healthy community is respect for all, no-one should be discriminated and the services should be available for everyone .
(Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance)
Kellie-Ann began her professional career as a dental therapist in the School Dental Service providing free dental care for primary school children most in need.
A Masters in Health Sciences (Health Promotion) and a passion to prevent disease rather than just treat it led to a career move to health promotion where she remained for over 20 years.
She has held senior management roles in policy and program development with State Government and VicHealth and has been a senior lecturer in health promotion/public health at Latrobe University.
In 2008 Kellie-Ann took up the role of Director Cardiovascular Health at the Heart Foundation (Victoria) where she has managed the Foundation’s health programs. In August 2016, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer.
Served on many Boards and Ministerial appointed Committees including Chair of Community Advisory Committee (Royal Dental Hospital, Melbourne) and is the current Chair of the not-for-profit organisation Victoria Walks.
(Latrobe Valley Authority)
A Latrobe Valley resident for 23 years, Karen has significant experience working across government, leading strategic innovation, and developing and implementing policy in Gippsland.
Karen’s career in education as a teacher, principal and senior manager in two states, Victoria and Tasmania, has led to experience in preparatory to year 12 settings.
Karen has also worked with families and the community as a principal in government schools in the Latrobe Valley for 11 years, including Woolum Bellum Koorie School in Morwell, Traralgon College Junior Campus, and Lowanna Secondary College in Newborough.
She has held several key roles in state and regional curriculum and policy implementation, notably in the areas of Special Education, Literacy, Indigenous Education and Post Compulsory Education.
Her experience in developing and delivering on issues that reflect what matters to community and government has left her well prepared for the role of Chief Executive Officer at the Latrobe Valley Authority, which she has held since April 2017.
Karen was chair of the Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning and Employment Network from 2000 to 2004. Karen is a fellow of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Community Leadership Program and was also a member of the Gippsland Regional Managers Forum for six years.
For the past 21 years, she has owned and operated a commercial beef farm with her husband at Boolarra South.
Brendan has had a long history of volunteering including youth mentoring with Berry Street Gippsland, Gippsland Rainbow Collective and Gippsland Fm along with a wide range of LGBTI programs. He has campaigned publically to call out people over homophobic and xenophobic comments and stand up for members of the Latrobe Valley community.
Brendan feels it is a massive privilege to sit in Latrobe Health Assembly’s Early Childhood Families Youth and Young people working group with some amazing people.
Jane has in excess of 25 years’ experience in the community based education, vocational training and wellbeing, holding a variety of positions within non-government welfare settings, and State Government vocational educational training providers.
Jane joined is a community organisation representative and has worked as a practitioner specifically working with vulnerable children and families experiencing family breakdown, abuse, violence, low socio economics and homelessness. Jane commenced her leadership role in 2000 co-ordinating the daily operations of a broad range of community programs that specifically support the engagement of young people into education, service provision to families who are experiencing difficulties and also pre-employment and training programs for early school leavers and disadvantaged young people and since 2011, Jane has significantly contributed to strategic transformational leadership within placed based and collective impact frameworks working on the ground with community to realise their vision.
Clare was appointed Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria in June 2015.
Clare was recently the Executive Director of the Insurance Business Unit for WorkSafe. Prior to that Clare was Executive Director of the Health & Disability Strategy Group, a collaboration between WorkSafe and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) that provides health policy and strategic support to the TAC and WorkSafe.
Clare spent six years as the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Region Health Centre and five years prior to that as its General Manager, Primary Care Services.
Clare’s educational qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work and Masters of Social Work; she holds a Graduate Certificate of Public Policy & Management and is a Harvard graduate from the Advanced Management Program (AMP).
Clare is a Director of Reach, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a Fellow of Leadership Victoria.