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 Chairperson

A portrait of SMCT Trust Chair, Dr Vanda Fortunato


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.

Sam Afra

An image of SMCT Trust member Sam Afra


Chair of the Community Advisory Committee

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.

Robin Buckham

A portrait of SMCT Trust member Robin Buckham

BA, DipEd, MCom (Mktg), GAICD

Chair of the Infrastructure and Transformation Committee

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.

Rosemary Barker

SMCT Trust Member Rosemary Barker

BA GDip HR & IR, Grad Cert Bus Management, MAICD

Rosemary is the Acting Deputy Public Advocate responsible for program strategic planning to meet legislative and government priorities and operational service demands aimed at protecting people with a disability.

Rosemary has extensive Executive and Board experience including as an independent Committee Chair, Board member and Executive support to Boards. Rosemary has specific experience in the areas of strategic planning, governance, human resources and organisational development.

Bernadene Voss

SMCT Trust Member Bernadene Voss

GAICD, BA, Mayor Emeritus

Bernadene has a strong passion for building collaborative and trusted relationships and an outstanding track record of advocacy, dealing with media and public speaking. She has a deep understanding of Government at all levels, with specific Local Government experience. She combines strategic leadership, strong political acumen with solid policy experience to deliver objectives.

Bernadene was the co-founder and executive director of a successful Loyalty Marketing and IT services company in Australia and USA. Growing the business from a start-up to raising venture capital and selling the entity to a NASDAQ listed company in 2007 has led to a thorough understanding of business at many stages of their life cycle.

For the last eight years Bernadene has been an elected Councillor for the City of Port Phillip, Victoria’s densest and fast-growing municipality, incorporating Fishermans Bend, Port Melbourne, St Kilda and Elwood. For four of these eight years, Bernadene has held the role of Mayor. Bernadene has strong interest in community, social improvement, education, governance, and the urban environment.

Chloe Shorten

SMCT Trust member Ms Chloe Shorten

BA (Comm) GAIST, GIA (CertGovPrac)

Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee

Chloe is a governance and corporate affairs professional with an extensive executive career in the Australian resources, engineering, and tech sectors.

She serves on the board of Alfred Health and chairs their Community Advisory Committee; the board of Industry Funds Services and is a member of their Audit Risk and Compliance Committee and she is the Chair of the Centre for Digital Wellbeing.

Chloe works to bring the interests of the public and private sector together. She is an influential advocate for children and families, a columnist and regular commentator on digital wellbeing for children and adolescents and youth homelessness. Chloe is the author of two books on contemporary Australian families published by Melbourne University Press.

She is the Inaugural Ambassador for the Foyer Foundation (youth homelessness) an ambassador for the Gidget Foundation (perinatal mental health) Ambassador for Youth Mental Health at Victoria University and strategic advisor to Burnet Institute for their Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program. She has been a non-executive director on national boards in mental health, women’s health and disability services.

Chloe will chair the Trust’s Audit and Risk Committee and serve on the Governance Committee.

John Nguyen

SMCT Trust member John Nguyen

FCA, MBA, BCom, PostGradDipFin, MAICD

John has over 25 years of professional services and corporate sector experience. John’s professional services career has taken him from Melbourne, New York, London, Singapore, Jakarta and Canberra where he worked with banking, financial services and public sector clients to solve complex and challenging issues. He was a former partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Ernst & Young and held senior roles at ANZ Bank and KPMG.

John has extensive experience advising public and private sector clients in the areas of financial and risk management, governance and accountability, strategic management and large program delivery.

Nova Peris

Image coming soon

Nova is a descendant of the Gija people of the East Kimberley, the Yawuru people of the West Kimberley and the Gagudju people of West Arnhem Land. Well-known for her career in elite sport, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games appearances, Nova was also the first Aboriginal Australian woman elected to Federal Parliament, serving as a member of the Australian Senate. Other achievements include advising Melbourne Water on community engagement and establishing the Aboriginal health-focused Nova Peris Foundation.

Jimi Peters

Image coming soon

Jimi is a proud Yorta Yorta man from central Victoria. He is Oxfam Australia’s National Partnerships Lead for their First Peoples Program and is active in community health organisations, including as a board member of First Peoples’ Health & Wellbeing.

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