Austin Hospital entrance

About Us

The Board

The Board is responsible for overseeing the performance and overall direction of Austin Health. The State Government appoints board members, with most terms usually being for three years.

The Hon Judith Troeth AM

Judith Troeth_headshot
Board 2014

Judith Troeth was appointed Chair of the Austin Health Board in July 2012.

She brings to the position extensive experience in public representation, community consultation and advocacy. She was Liberal Senator for Victoria in the Federal Government for 18 years. She was the first female Member of Parliament in the Agricultural portfolio, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty from 1997 to 2004. She has also been Chair and Deputy Chair of a number of Senate Committees and devised and passed through the Senate, two private members' bills.

Before entering politics, she was a farmer and a teacher - roles that led her to become a key advocate on issues including rural education, women and immigration.


Mary Draper

Mary Draper joined the Austin Health board in July 2014. She brings a passion for a participatory health care and patient and family-centred approaches and skills in policy, strategy, stakeholder engagement, quality and safety and consumer participation.

Until very recently, Mary Draper was CEO of the Health Issues Centre, Victoria's health consumer organization. She was on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Victorian Health Services Plan 2011-2022, the Review Panel to review the Health Services Conciliation and Review Act and chaired the Department of Health's Participation Advisory Committee.

Previous roles were Director of Clinical Governance at the Women's and Manager in the Quality Branch of the Department of Human Services, responsible for consumer participation, clinical effectiveness and clinical risk management. She has represented consumers on key national committees including the Taskforce on Quality in Australian Healthcare and was a board member of ACOSS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. She was also a board director of La Trobe Regional Health. 

Mary is a member of the Clinical Safety and Quality Committee and the Audit Committee.


Professor John McNeil AM

John McNeil_headshot
Board 2014


John graduated in medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1971 and undertook physician training at the Royal Adelaide and Austin Hospitals. 

In 1986 he was appointed to the head of the Monash Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine based at The Alfred Hospital.  In 2007, he was appointed as the inaugural head of the newly formed Monash School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine. He has served as a visiting physician at The Alfred, the Austin Hospital and Monash Medical Centre.

John has served on advisory committees for many State and Commonwealth entities including the NHMRC, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Commission for Safety & Quality in Healthcare and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Past board memberships include Alfred Health; Dunlop Medical Research Foundation; Water Quality Research Australia and the Victorian Public Health Education & Research Foundation. He is currently the Scientific Secretary of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and in 2008, he became a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to public health.

John is chair of the Austin Health Clinical Safety & Quality Committee.

Chris Altis


Chris Altis was appointed to the Austin Health Board July 2015. He holds Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Arts (Public Policy) degrees from the University of Melbourne and is a Graduate of the Australia Institute of Company Directors.

Chris has almost twenty five years of experience in the health sector, working in a policy and advisory capacity in the Victorian Department of Health, and as Chief of Staff or Senior Strategic Adviser to three state and federal health ministers.

Since 2011 he has been Deputy Chair of the North Richmond Community Health Service, and has also been a board member of the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local where he was a member of a number of board sub-committees, including Chair of the People and Culture Board Sub-Committee.

Chris is also Executive Manager and Company Secretary of The New Daily Pty Ltd, an independent online news service.


Julie Bignell


Julie Bignell has a long history of leadership and governance in the public and non-for-profit sectors. In addition to Austin Health, she is is also a member of the board of CareSuper and is Chair of the Member and Employer Services Committee. Her previous board experience includes 10 years with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and its predecessors Ports Corporation Queensland and Mackay Port Corporation. She represented Queensland workers on the board of Workplace Health & Safety Qld and on the Executive of the Queensland Council of Unions. She was the Secretary of the Central & Southern Queensland Branch of the Australian Services Union for 15 years and was a member of the National Executive and National Vice President of the ASU. Julie holds a Bachelor Arts degree (Economics & Japanese) and a Graduate Diploma of IR/HRM, RG146 Financial Advice qualification and is a graduate Trustee Director of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Julie is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Christine Bessell

Dr Christine Bessell


Christine was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2016.

She is an experienced obstetrician and medical executive who brings a passion for and experience in the provision of effective, safe and patient centred public hospital care. She has previously practised obstetrics in the private and public sectors in metropolitan Melbourne and been the Director of the Labour Ward at Monash Medical Centre, Clinical Director of Women's Health at Southern Health, and served as the Director of Medical Services at the Angliss Hospital and at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

She was Chief Medical Officer at the Royal Women's Hospital from 2004 until 2014. She has recently provided consultancy advice in obstetrics, maternity services, clinical governance and patient safety to the Chief Executive of Djerriwarrh Health Service (Bacchus Marsh) and to other regional and rural health services across Victoria. She is a member of the Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia.