The Honourable Nicola Roxon has been named the first independent, external chair of Cancer Council Australia’s board.
Ms Roxon is an adjunct professor in Victoria University’s College of Law and Justice and chair of its Sir Zelman Cowen Centre Advisory Board for executive legal education. She will take on the voluntary role for a three-year term.
Ms Roxon replaces Mr Stephen Foster, who will retire after two years as chair and eight years on Cancer Council Australia’s board.
Mr Foster said Cancer Council Australia was delighted to appoint a new chair of Ms Roxon’s standing and experience.
"Ms Roxon is a widely respected figure in the public health community and brings a wealth of experience in the health sector and the ability to work with multiple stakeholders under federated governance arrangements,” he said. “She also has a great personal commitment to improving cancer outcomes."
Ms Roxon said she was honoured and humbled by the appointment.
"Cancer is a community health issue I care passionately about, so it’s an honour to chair the board of Australia’s pre-eminent not-for-profit cancer organisation," she said.
“I look forward to working with the board and the new CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, to help consolidate the great work of Cancer Council Australia as it evolves to meet new challenges in cancer control."
First elected to federal parliament in 1998, Ms Roxon served as both a former Health Minister and Attorney-General. She was a senior cabinet minister and held the complex portfolio of Minister for Health and Ageing from 2007 to 2011. During that time, she oversaw major reforms to the public hospital, primary care and preventative health systems, which included Australia becoming the first country in the world to require tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging.
She also became Australia’s first female Attorney-General in 2011, overseeing all Commonwealth laws, counter-terrorism measures and ASIO. She later acquired the added responsibility of Minister for Emergency Management.
Ms Roxon’s appointment to Cancer Council Australia’s board follows a shift in the organisation’s governance arrangements underpinned by an updated constitution. Previous chairs were usually appointed from the board of one of Cancer Council Australia’s eight state and territory member organisations.