New Hearing Australia Board appointments

The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Minister for Government Services, the Hon Bill Shorten, has announced the appointment of three new members of the Hearing Australia Board and the reappointment of an existing Board member.

The new Board members are Professor Sharon Goldfeld and Dr Stephen Parnis from Victoria, and Dr Jim Hungerford from New South Wales.

The Hearing Australia Board is established under the Australian Hearing Services Act 1991 and reports to the Minister.  In 2021-22 Hearing Australia helped over a quarter of a million clients across Australia, and each week helps over 10,000 infants, young children, adults, First Nations peoples, pensioners and veterans across a network of over 180 hearing centres.

“I’m excited about what the new members will bring to the Board. Their depth of experience and skills will ensure the Board is ideally placed to guide the important work Hearing Australia does across the nation to prevent hearing loss and to help improve the lives of people with hearing loss,” Minister Shorten said.

Professor Goldfeld is the Director of the Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, the Theme Director of Population Health and Co-Group Leader Policy and Equity, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and the Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. Professor Goldfeld is a highly esteemed paediatrician and scientist whose career has spanned research, policy and practice, and is recognised internationally as an expert in child health policy and research translation.

Dr Stephen Parnis is a specialist in Emergency Medicine, in consultant practice at St Vincent's Hospital and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne and has held senior roles with the Australian Medical Association, culminating as Federal Vice President from 2014-16. Dr Parnis is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Jim Hungerford was the Chief Executive Officer of The Shepherd Centre, a world-leading early intervention support service for children with hearing problems from 2011-2023. During this time, Dr Hungerford was also the Chair of First Voice, a peak body for eight charities which focus on providing listening and spoken language therapy services to children who are deaf or hearing-impaired and was a member of the Early Intervention Hearing Expert Reference Group from 2017-2019.

The Government has also re-appointed Ms Jody Currie to the Board. Ms Currie is a proud Yugambeh woman with over 20 years’ experience working in senior positions in the community and government sector.  Ms Currie has been instrumental in supporting Hearing Australia’s work with First Nations communities nationwide, including the establishment of the Hearing Assessment Program - Early Ears to improve the ear and hearing health of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to help them get the best start in life.

Professor Goldfeld, Dr Parnis, Dr Hungerford and Ms Currie, join Ms Elizabeth Crouch AM (Chair), Ms Shirley Liew, Mr Kim Keogh and Mr Kim Terrell (Managing Director) on the Board.

The appointments follow the retirement from the Board of Ms Sarah Vaughan, whose term recently concluded.

“On behalf of the Government, I thank Ms Vaughan for her significant contribution to Hearing Australia over the past seven years,” Minister Shorten said.

Hearing Australia Chair Elizabeth Crouch AM said: “I look forward to the new appointees bringing their significant expertise, insights and experience to the Board. Their direction and leadership will ensure Hearing Australia continues to deliver client focused, high quality, life changing hearing services for all Australians.”