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Trust Members

Trust Members

SMCT Trust Members

A Board of appointed Trust Members oversees the strategic direction of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT).

This Board is responsible to the Minister for Health and must ensure good governance of the cemeteries entrusted under its care. Members of the Trust are appointed by the Governor in Council for a three-year term. Members may seek reappointment after their first term.

Current SMCT Trust Members:

Dr Vanda Fortunato - Trust Chairman


Vanda Fortunato has spent the last 20 years in executive and strategic leadership roles in Australia and overseas, with significant experience in public health, primary care, not-for-profits, medical training, academia, pharmaceuticals, health insurance and consulting. Vanda has been a CEO of two not-for-profits, and has held senior executive roles with Medibank, a clinical research organisation and Accenture. She has also worked for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Vanda is currently on the Board of BreastScreen Victoria, Vasey RSL Care, The Queen Victoria Market Trust and was previously the chair of a private aged care company New Aged Care.

Julie Busch

B.A.(Journalism/Psych.), Grad.Cert.Shop.Cen.Mgmt., Grad. Dip. Business, GAICD

Chair of the Executive Remuneration & Appointment Committee

Julie Busch is Director of Western Leisure Services for City of Wyndham.

Julie’s Board experience also includes:

  • Deputy Chairman Dianella Community Health
  • Director of Interact Australia
  • Chairman of Dandenong Market

Julie has worked extensively in private and publicly owned retail property, local government and community sectors.

Julie has previously held senior management roles at:

  • Prahran Market
  • Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
  • Coles Myer Properties in Victoria and South Australia.

In addition to the above, Julie is also Chair of the Judging Panel for the Victorian Tourism Awards; National Judge for the Australian Tourism Awards; former Chair of the Retail Committee for Property Council of Victoria; Vice President of Caulfield South Community House, and a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute.

Leigh Mackay OAM


Chair of the Infrastructure Planning Committee

Leigh Mackay works as a governance consultant, advising on boards on governance and strategic planning. She is a member of the Victorian Heritage Council and The Lyceum Club.

Leigh spent 15 years in the legal profession, held senior management positions with the Port of Geelong Authority, Port of Melbourne Authority and the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and was corporate secretary and legal adviser of two major Victorian statutory authorities – the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the National Gallery of Victoria. Leigh recently retired after 12 years as a Canon of St Paul's Anglican Cathedral.

Sam Afra


Sam Afra studied law and banking in Beirut where he worked in the Banking sector before migrating to Australia where he worked for the Victorian government for over 20 years; Sam is currently self-employed as a consultant.

As a dedicated advocate for cultural diversity, Sam is heavily involved across the community sector. In 2003 Sam was elected as the inaugural Chairperson of the Ethnic Communities Council of the South East (ECCOSE).

He also served as Chairman of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria from 2007 to 2011 and is currently a Board member.

Sam is Vice President and director of ERHMA where he has been a director since 2003.

He is also a former elected Councillor for the City of Casey from 1997 – 2000 and was appointed as a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2011.

Phillip Davies

BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), LLM, GAICD.

Chair of the Finance & Investment Committee

Phil is an experienced corporate lawyer having been Senior Tax Partner at King Wood Mallesons for 13 years. Phil is currently the Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Advanced Paediatric Life Support which promotes excellence in emergency care of ill and injured children through the provision of high-quality contemporary education programs for health care professionals including specialist doctors, general practitioners, nurses and Paramedics.

Phil’s current and past Board experience includes Box Hill Institute of TAFE, Working Heritage, the Queen Elizabeth Centre, Kew East Financial Services, Building Appeals Board, Greyhound Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board and Gymnastics Australia.

Roger Chao

B.A. (Politics/Philosophy), B.Ec, Grad.Dip.Bus, MBA, GAICD, FGIA, FAIM, BJ

Chair of the Community Advisory Committee

Roger is an experienced Director having been Chair of and a member of numerous Boards and Committees. He has a strong background in social research, consulting, policy development, operations management, business development, governance, risk management and strategic planning. He has also held CEO and General Management positions in the health, human services and education sectors. Roger brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development.

Roger currently sits on the Board of the Australian Institute of Technical Training and the Merit Protection Board.

Roger’s Board experience includes:

  • Director of Annecto and member of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee;
  • Deputy Chair of the Southern Metropolitan Region Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Regional Council;
  • Chair of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Community Recovery Committee;
  • Director of Arts Access Victoria and member of the Finance Committee;
  • Director of Headway Gippsland;
  • Chair of ANZEC;
  • Member of the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee;
  • Member of the Australian College of Optometry – Human Research Ethics Committee;
  • Member of the Latrobe Valley Tourism Advisory Board.

Sandhya Chakravarty


Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee

Sandy is a strategic leader with an executive career of more than 25 years spanning Australian and international organisations including Australian Red Cross, Boston Consulting Group, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ingersoll-Rand. Sandy is the current Chief Financial Officer of State Trustees.

Sandy currently serves as a director of Link Community Transport where she is also Chair of their Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, and is also a Board member of the International Women’s Development Agency. Sandy’s previous Board experience also includes Eating Disorders (Vic), the National Association of Women in Operations and Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Robin Buckham

BA, DipEd, MCom (Mktg)

Robin has had a varied career across the commercial and academic sectors. Most recently, Robin has been an interim executive, with executive roles at Bendigo Kangan TAFE, and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Robin is currently an active Board member, with roles including the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians. She was CEO of Family Business Australia, a Not-For-Profit Association dedicated to sustaining and growing family businesses, and has her own consultancy practice following her substantive role as Deakin University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Development with responsibility for international and domestic marketing.

Early in her career she worked for 15 years with Australian steel manufacturer and distributor Tubemakers. She had a variety of roles around Australia with the company and was Manager Oil & Gas Pipelines, managing a $200 million steel pipe mill when she left. She was then Director Marketing, Recruitment & Partnerships at the University of Wollongong, where she managed the international and domestic student recruitment functions and alumni, community and fundraising portfolios. She had a senior executive role in the University’s commercial arm and was a member of the TAFE Illawarra Advisory Council, and a Director of the Port Kembla Port Corporation.

Craig Burke


A uniquely experienced Audit Committee and Board member with a strong background in financial reporting, risk, governance and internal control.

Current and recent appointments include:

  • Board member of a public hospital;
  • Board member and President of an incorporated association;
  • Member of a large metropolitan city council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee;
  • Board member of a Victorian statutory body;
  • Member of a large international charitable organisation’s Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee;
  • Advisory Board member for a major Australian university.

Executive experience of over 25 years in public sector accounting, risk management and audit. This includes leading an external audit practice with 550 clients.