Central Australia Health Service Board

The Central Australia Health Service (CAHS) Board is a statutory body under the Northern Territory Health Services Act 2014. Its role is to ensure the provision of health services in Central Australia as outlined in the Service Delivery Agreement with the Department of Health.

The legislated roles and responsibilities of the Board include:

  • governance of the service
  • provision of strategic direction for the service
  • monitoring the performance of the service against the Service Delivery Agreement
  • engaging and working collaboratively with key stakeholders
  • community leadership functions including promoting ethical behaviour, promoting appropriate
  • culture and values of the service
  • leading community engagement by the service
  • understanding the health needs of its region
  • leading systemic improvements in communication between the service and its community.

Board members

Damien Ryan (Chair)

Damien Ryan has been the Central Australia Health Service Board Chair since 1 July 2014. Damien was born in Alice Springs and has extensive business experience in Central Australia. 

Before his appointment as Chair of the CAHS Board, he was appointed a member of the Central Australian Hospital Network Governing Council on 29 June 2012. He is currently Mayor of Alice Springs and is also the president of the Local Government Association NT and a member of the Australian Local Government Association. 

He is an NT Grants Commissioner, a board member of Regional Development Australia NT, co-chair of the Outback Way Development Council, a member of the Alice Springs Alcohol Reference Panel, and is the Vice-President of the Finke Desert Race Committee. 

Damien is a member of the CAHS Board’s Governance Committee, the Finance Risk and Audit Committee, the Health Outcomes Committee and the Strategic Workforce Committee. He is the Board Champion for the Consumer Participation Project Group.

Professor John Wakerman (Deputy Chair)

Professor John Wakerman, Central Australia Health Service Board Deputy Chair since 1 July 2014. John is the Associate Dean of Flinders University, Northern Territory. He is a public health medicine specialist and general practitioner. 

He has specific academic interests in remote health services research and remote health workforce education and training. He also has a strong interest in using evidence based advocacy related to rural and remote health issues. 

He was appointed to the Central Australian Hospital Network Governing Council on 30 June 2012 and remained a member until the introduction of the Central Australia Health Service Board on 1 July 2014. 

John is currently chair of the CAHS Board Health Outcomes Committee. He is also a member of the Strategic Workforce Committee and the Board Champion for the CAHS Renal Strategy Group.

Dr Christine Lesnikowski

Christine is a general practitioner and a medical educator. She first moved to the Northern Territory in 1992 and has lived, worked and trained in remote Central Australia, Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin in a variety of settings from public hospitals and remote community health clinics to private GP clinics. 

She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practice and has a strong interest in primary health care for all across the rural and remote settings. 

Christine holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry) and a Graduate Certificate GP Psychiatry. 

She was appointed to the Central Australian Hospital Network Governing Council on 19 August 2013, a position she held until being appointed to the CAHS Board on 1 July 2014. 

Christine is currently the Chair of the Governance Committee and the Private Practice Fund Administration Committee, and the Board Champion for the Integrated Care Project Group.

Graham Symons

Graham joined the Northern Territory Public Service in 1984 and has held a number of chief executive and deputy chief executive positions. 

He worked in the Department of Health for eleven years and at different stages was Deputy Chief Executive, Executive Director Top End Health and Community Services, and Head of Policy and Operations for all non-hospital health and community services. 

He has extensive experience as a director on public sector and not-for-profit boards. Graham holds tertiary qualifications in science, social administration and business. 

Graham currently chairs the CAHS Board Strategic Workforce Committee, is a member of the Board’s Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and the Department of Health Risk and Audit Committee. He is Board Champion for the Educate and Retain a Skilled and Culturally Sensitive Workforce Project Group.

Edward Fraser

With a strong background in health administration, Edward has worked as a health executive in acute services in three different countries. 

He has worked as a health executive in primary health care and in government health funder and system design roles. He has also provided research and customer service strategy for non-profit agencies and the private sector in Australia and Qatar and has executive experience in local and state government. 

Edward was the Chief Administrator of the Qatar National Primary Care Service System for six years which provided services including the National School Health Program and the National Maternal Child Health Program. He also led Qatar’s health system reform by strengthening the national primary health care system and establishing the National Primary Health Corporation. 

He was appointed to the Central Australian Hospital Network Governing Council on 19 August 2013 until his appointment to the CAHS Board. 

Edward currently chairs the CAHS Board’s Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and is Board Champion for the Early Years (0-3) Business Initiative Project Group.

Kerry Delahunty

Kerry moved to Alice Springs from Adelaide in 1985 and took up employment at the Bindi Pre-Vocational Centre teaching office skills to adults with intellectual disabilities. When she left the centre to set up her own business she continued her association as a member of the Bindi Board of Management. 

When some time later the organisation separated the employment arm of the business from the residential services division which then became Casa Central Australia, she took up the position of chairperson of the Casa Board of Management, a position she held until she resigned in 2006. 

Over the years, Kerry and her husband have owned and operated five businesses and she has always been heavily involved in advocacy for people with disabilities.

Kerry is a member of the Governance and Strategic Workforce Committees and Board Champion for the Early Years (0-3) Business Initiative Project Group.

Nardine Collier

Nardine is an Alice Springs lawyer with experience in law for the past 26 years. She has run her own legal practice for the past five years; prior to that she was a partner of a law firm. 

She has extensive experience in many areas of the law; primarily work health, civil litigation and family law. She obtained her specialist accreditation in family law in 1999 and has a Masters in Applied Law (Family Law) through the College of Law, Sydney. 

Nardine has appeared extensively in the Family Court, the Work Health Court, the Local Court and the Supreme Court as both a barrister and solicitor. She is also a trained mediator and arbitrator. 

Nardine is the Deputy President of the Racing Appeals Tribunal, a sessional member of the NT Courts and Tribunal, and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. 

Nardine is a member of the Governance Committee and Strategic Workforce Committee and Board Champion for the Educate and Retain a Skilled and Culturally Sensitive Workforce Project Group.

Last updated: 10 January 2017