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Catholic Health Australia welcomes new Chair of the Board


CHA has welcomed newly appointed Chair of the Board, Mr Tony Howarth AO. Photo: Supplied.

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has welcomed newly appointed Chair of the Board, Mr Tony Howarth AO.

“The theme that I want to bring to CHA is that our voice is stronger by working together,” said Mr Howarth. “Our organisations and our services are stronger; our mission is stronger by working together.”

Having served as Chair and Deputy Chair to a number of boards throughout his career, including the St John of God Health Care Board for more than 15 years, Mr Howarth is well-accustomed to meeting the leadership demands of large, complex organisations.

“I really do want to bring a collaborative view to the Catholic health and aged care sector during my time as Chair, with the understanding that it doesn’t matter if you’re a small organisation or a large one, we’re all living in an environment where we’re dealing with scarce resources,” Mr Howarth said.

“It’s the stewardship and governance of those scarce resources, and certainly the financial resources, but also the people resources, which will really make us successful.”

Having been involved in Catholic health care for some 15 years, including the last 12 as Chair of St John of God Health Care, which is Australia’s third-largest private health provider, Mr Howarth has become particularly experienced in providing sound senior-level governance in the areas of not just Catholic health, but also aged and community care.

On the matter of CHA’s future direction, Mr Howarth has said that strong, coordinated Catholic representation in the areas of aged care and health policy will be needed.

“We need to participate in the conversation that the government has to have with the population about what’s affordable,” Mr Howarth said.

“There are lots of trade-offs and decisions that will need to be made. Some of those will need to be embedded in legislation. We’ve got to make sure that, during that conversation, Catholic values and Gospel principles are not lost to the detriment of the community.”

Catholic Health Australia’s CEO, Mrs Suzanne Greenwood, has welcomed the transition of Mr Howarth to the Chair of CHA.

“Tony brings with him many years of financial and senior-level governance experience to his new position as Chair,” Mrs Greenwood said.

“I look forward to working with Tony – as does the Board – in continuing our work in consultation with government to ensure that CHA’s voice remains strong; strong and prominent in its mission to provide all Australians with the best possible Catholic health, aged and community care services.”

Mr Howarth comes to the role of Chair after Ms Rowena McNally, Chair of Catholic Health Australia since 2012.

Mrs Greenwood acknowledged the significant contributions Ms McNally has made to CHA during her time as Chair, particularly her leadership during the organisation’s transition from an incorporated association to a company; advocacy work, particularly on the social determinants of health in Australia; and throughout the development of its international relations — accepting Catholic hospitals in Singapore and Malaysia into the Catholic Health Australia membership.

“On behalf of our Board, members, staff and those cared for in Catholic facilities and services, I would like to thank Ms McNally for her sustained commitment these past three years, ensuring CHA is the credible, ethical and influential voice of Catholic health, aged care and community services in Australia,” said Mrs Greenwood.

Mr Howarth has expressed his deep commitment to the ongoing governance of Catholic health and aged care in Australia which represents approximately 10 per cent of all hospital and aged care services in the country.

“I am really very humbled and proud to be elected Chair of Catholic Health Australia,” said Mr Howarth.

“I’m looking forward to doing my absolute best during my term, leading an organisation that represents the Catholic health and aged care community in Australia—a tradition that goes back to the very beginnings of settlement in this country.”

CHA represents Australia’s largest non-government grouping of hospitals, aged and community care services, providing approximately 10 per cent of hospital and aged care services in Australia, including around 30 per cent of private hospital care as well as approximately five per cent of public hospital care.