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Health Services > Rural Health Advisory Council

Rural Health Advisory Council Member Profiles

Mrs Marie Pietsch - Agforce (Chair of RHAC)

"I represent Agforce which is an agripolitical organisation representing broadacre farming (cattle, sheep, grain etc) in Queensland. Agforce has 8000 members spread amongst 110 Branches. The broadacre industries combined generate in excess of 3.5 billion dollars per annum to Queensland's economy.

I come from a small community in southern Queensland and have a farming and grazing background. My interest is in the provision of quality health services throughout Queensland. I believe that a one-to-one encounter in person with a medical practitioner or other health provider is important in the treating and healing process."

Mr Chris Gill - Council of Remote Area Nurses Australia (CRANA).

I have been a Remote Area Nurse for approx 10 years and held a number of positions from clinical nurse to Director of Nursing. I have worked mostly in Aboriginal communities throughout Cape York for approx 7 years. I have also had and continue to have pleasure of doing locum work in other states and around Queensland. I have chosen to study again, this time medicine at JCU Townsville.

CRANA was founded in 1983 when 130 Nurses Remote Area Nurses from across Australia came together in Alice springs to put Remote Health issues on the national agenda. CRANA is committed to addressing the poor health status of people who live in remote areas and the inequalities in terms of accessibilty and quality of services in the bush. The aim of CRANA is to promote the development and delivery of safe, high quality health care to remote areas of Australia.

Dr Richard Turner - Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

I completed my General Surgery training in 1994 under the auspices of the Royal Brisbane Hospital. After spending two years in the U.K. and Europe, I returned to a 12-month position as Fellow in Rural Surgery at Townsville General Hospital. It was here that I began performing a surgical outreach service to smaller outlying centres, and became increasingly aware of the health care needs of people living in regional and rural Australia.

In my current position as a Consultant General Surgeon and Senior Lecturer in Surgery at Cairns Base Hospital, I continue to conduct surgical outreach to rural communities, as well as providing a service in a large non-metropolitan hospital. My teaching role means that I am well placed to promote rural health issues with both undergraduate students and postgraduate surgical trainees. I also have a number of active research interests directly related to health outcomes in northern Queensland.

As a specialist training body, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has a long-demonstrated commitment to service provision in the bush, particularly through its Division of Rural Surgery of which I am a member. As the RACS representative on the Rural Health Advisory Council, I have a special interest in exploring ways in which specialist medical services can be delivered to regional and rural communities in accordance with best practice standards.

Dr Gerry Costello

Gerry represents the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland Section. Before commencing with the RFDS in October 2003, Gerard held the position of Medical Superintendent, Logan Hospital for 11 years. His experience includes clinical and administrative roles in rural, regional and metropolitan hospitals within Queensland Health over 25 years. Gerry is married to Mary Jane, who is a Social Worker, and they have three children -Clare, Portia and Gerry. Gerry was educated at Lockyer District High School , Gatton, and Nambour High School , Nambour. His tertiary qualifications include: MBBS University of Qld, B Bus (HA) Qld University of Technology and is a Fellow of the RACMA. Gerry has been a member of the State Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators since 1993, and has held the offices of Chairman, Board of Studies Qld 1996-99, Member of Federal Council 1998-2002 and Chairman of State Committee 1999-2002. Gerry's interests include cricket, golf, fishing, bush walking, reading and gardening.

Ms Moina Lettice

Moina's career with Queensland Health commenced as a student nurse at the Atherton Hospital in 1967. She later completed her midwifery at the Cairns Base Hospital . In the 1980s Moina commenced tertiary studies and now holds a Masters Degree in Public Health Management. Moina has held a wide variety of positions with Queensland Health during her career. During the past ten years she has been a health planner, Director of Nursing and the District Manager of two Health Service Districts. It was during her time as District Manager for the Northern Downs Health Service District that Moina was invited to become one of the two Queensland Health rural district managers on the Rural Health Advisory Council. Moina is currently the Acting Manager of the Clinical Support Unit in Townsville.

Ms Lyn Kelman

Lyn represents The Queensland Country Women's Association since her election as State President in September 2002. As the President, Lyn represents the Association on the Rural Industry Training Council, Agaware, Queensland Nursing Council, Farmsafe Queensland Ltd, COTA/National Seniors, Central Qld Rural Clinical School , and Women's Cancer Screening Services Consumer Reference Group.

Lyn and her husband sold their property of 40 years “Bonnie Doon” at Emerald in 2002 and now live on “Rossendale” near Maryborough. They have both been very involved in industry organisations and, during their time in Emerald, Lyn held the following positions: Secretary of the Graziers for 18 years, President of the Emerald Hospital Auxillary, Vice President - Lake Maraboon Landcare Committee and numerous positions within QCWA.

Ms Lyn Armit

Lyn's interest in rural nursing started soon after graduating from nursing when she took up a short-term relief placement in country Victoria . After working in a range of clinical settings in Sydney and Brisbane Lyn moved to rural Queensland in 1995 to take up a nurse educator position. Since March 2002 Lyn has had the opportunity to visit rural facilities across the state through her involvement in state-wide projects relating to education for rural and remote nurses.

Lyn became a member of AARN in 1992 soon after this national organization was first established, and currently sits on the AARN Qld executive. The aim of AARN is to support rural nurses in the delivery of quality care and services to rural people. The AARN's affiliations include membership of the National Rural Health Alliance, a peak 20 member body organisation which puts forward recommendations to Federal government. The AARN's current projects include a mentoring program for undergraduate scholarship holders and a coordinating role in the Action on Rural and Remote Nursing Project. Lyn's current role is as a nurse educator and she is also the project officer in the rural and remote program QIEP Queensland Health.

Dr Denise Powell

Denise has been a regional and rural G.P. for 25 years and is also a Visiting Medical Officer to Breastscreen- Bundaberg Service, and a Senior Lecturer in General Practice for the Central Qld Division of the University of Queensland's Rural Clinical School. Denise's particular interest is in producing community driven better health outcomes and developing or optimizing the relationships between Health Service Providers and the Communities they serve. Her personal interests are growing native and exotic fruit trees and cycling.

Ms Karen Bell

I am a physiotherapist who has worked for Queensland Health in regional and rural facilities since 1981 and at present works for Northern Downs Health Service District in Taroom. I have represented rural members of QCAHP on the Rural Health Advisory Council since 2001. I have particular interests in rural service delivery and planning, rural workforce retention and professional development for rural clinicians I can be contacted at:

Queensland Council of Allied Health Professions

QCAHP is comprised of allied health professional groups with representatives from professional associations and training institutions. QCAHP works for high quality health care for Queenslanders and strives to maximise high quality patient care through promoting Allied Health services. QCAHP promotes best professional practice and workforce conditions for allied health professionals. Allied health professions represented include Audiology, Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Orthoptics, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Social Work and Speech Pathology. The council has portfolio activities in the areas of Industrial Relations, Professional Development, Political Liaison, Rural, Research, Information Management and Communication and Marketing.

QCAHP meets second monthly and publishes a regular newsletter. Contact point for QCAHP is the

President, Nancy low Choy at


Mrs Suzanne Little – Manager Office of Rural Health

I have a career spanning 25 years working for Queensland Health in rural communities. During that time, I have worked as a Registered Nurse working in rural hospitals, Community Health Nurse, Aged Care Assessment Team Nurse, Director of Nursing, Human Resource Manager, Director of Primary Health Care Unit and currently as Manager, Office of Rural Health, all without leaving the bush.

The Office of Rural Health provides a source of expertise concerning health workforce issues in rural communities, including managing Queensland Health's Rural Scholarship Scheme. It liaises with Health Service Districts, Queensland Health Zonal Units and Government agencies on rural health issues. The Office of Rural Health supports the Rural Health Advisory Council with a Medical Sub-Committee.

I have a passion for the rural lifestyle rural and rural communities and believe that rural communities are entitled to receive the best possible health care provided in the safest manner and thus I have a special interest in the recruitment and retention of health professionals and the retention of health services in rural communities.

This page last updated: 6 April, 2005
Review date: September 2005