Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April


Liam Picken, Jessica Gallagher, Annie Nolan, Peter Hitchener,  Darcy Vescio and Dr Amanda Benson are the proud Victorians named as ambassadors for Premier’s Active April in 2019. This year we also have our Get Active Workout Instructors Kelly Hetherington, Lee Ajzenman and Jean Hastie.

They know all about being active and are passionate about sharing their tips for an active lifestyle with others. In their role Liam, Annie, Peter, Jessica, Darcy and Amanda will help spread the word about all the fun you can have being active and the Prizes you can win along the way.


Liam Picken

Liam Picken is an Australian rules footballer for the Western Bulldogs. Hailing from the regional town of Hamilton, Victoria, Picken has forged a successful career in the AFL. A highlight including playing for the Bulldogs’ premiership team in 2016 –the club’s first since 1954. Regarded as respectful and humble both on and off the field, Liam’s passion for sport, health and fitness is undeniable.

“I am excited to be part of the Premier’s Active April campaign, encouraging my own family, and others, to get out and about! As a family, we prioritise a healthy and active lifestyle. Easy ways I’ll be getting my kids involved this April will be by organising backyard cricket matches and family bike rides.” 


Annie Nolan

Liam’s free-spirited and unashamedly honest wife, Annie Nolan, a social personality and passionate online blogger of Uncanny Annie, is also supporting the Premier’s Active April campaign in 2019. Together they have three children, two of whom were born prematurely. Both Liam and Annie are now dedicated supporters of causes relating to premature birth. Annie Nolan is a social personality and the passionate online blogger of Uncanny Annie. Her free-spirited and unashamed nature.




Peter Hitchener

On the Australian media landscape, Peter Hitchener is unrivalled when it comes to experience, credibility and integrity. ‘Hitch’, as he is affectionately known, has clocked up 45 years at Nine and 20 years as presenter of the Nine News weeknight bulletin in Melbourne. Hitch loves nothing more than meeting the everyday Melburnians who make up the vibrant city to which he reads the news each weeknight at 6.00pm. A great deal of his time away from work is spent on community service activities.


“I look forward to Active April every year. Getting active is a wonderful way to feel confident and healthy. I am looking forward to maintaining my health and fitness by getting together with friends and doing group sports and by hitting the gym for some more serious workouts! I can’t wait for all Victorians to get fit and active this April.” 

 – Peter Hitchener


Jessica Gallagher

Jessica Gallagher, Geelong born and bred, lost most of her sight at age 17 to a rare, degenerative eye disease – leaving her legally blind. At the time she was playing representative netball and basketball and was forced to give up her childhood dream of representing Australia.

At the age of 21, she discovered Paralympic sport and has since represented Australia at the Paralympics in three sports – alpine skiing, athletics and track cycling. She became the first Australian woman to win a winter Paralympic medal and has also won World Championship gold and bronze medals. She made sporting history in 2016 when she became the first Australian athlete to medal at a summer and winter Paralympics or Olympics.

Jessica is currently preparing for the 2019 UCI World Para-Cycling Track Championships and juggles life as a professional athlete with her careers as a motivational speaker and osteopath. Delighted to be an ambassador for Active April again in 2019, Jessica loves staying active:

“First and foremost, it’s fun! I love the feeling I have when I’m active. I feel healthy, strong and empowered to take on anything!”

– Jessica Gallagher

Darcy Vescio

Darcy has been immersed in sport from a very young age, beginning her Auskick career at age five. Playing out her junior football with the boys, Darcy made her senior women’s debut in 2012. She represented Victoria at the AFL Women’s National Championships in 2013 and 2015. In July 2016, Carlton Football Club signed her as a marquee player, ahead of Darcy playing in the AFLW’s first ever game in the league’s inaugural 2017 season. She finished the season as AFLW’s Leading Goal Kicker, took Mark of the Year and was recognised through gaining selection in AFLW’s first ever All Australian Team.

In the 2018 VFLW season, Darcy picked up the Rohenna Young Medal as the league’s leading goalkicker and selected in Team of the Year. Darcy has also been an AFL Multicultural Ambassador, proudly representing her Chinese/Italian background and using her voice to encourage others who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Dr Amanda Benson

Associate Professor Amanda Benson is the Course Director for Exercise and Sports Science and Deputy Department Chair of Health and Medical Sciences at Swinburne University. She is an accredited exercise physiologist (Exercise and Sports Science Australia, ESSA) who conducts exercise and physical activity interventions across the lifespan for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Professor Benson has designed and implemented exercise and physical activity interventions – including randomised controlled trials in the workplace, schools and the community with healthy populations and those with chronic disease (eg cardiac patients, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease). These interventions are underpinned with behavioural strategies aimed at promoting adherence and self-efficacy in those that participate.

Additionally, she is interested in the integration of technology such as wearables, sensors and apps for measuring physical activity and exercise to enhance health outcomes. Personal wearable technology is an area she is collaborating with colleagues to better understand the quality of the information available and how it might be used to assist with physical activity promotion and exercise prescription.


Kelly Hetherington

Sport and Exercise Scientist (Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science)

Sports coach specialising in running (Level 4 Athletics Coach)

Kelly Hetherington is a Sport and Exercise Scientist, Athletics coach and an Australian Middle Distance runner. She has represented Australia at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in the 800m, was selected for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was a medallist in the 4x800m at the 2015 World Relay Championships. When Kelly is not running, she loves to travel to beach locations, enjoys going out for lunch with friends and appreciates a good coffee.

There are days where we all lack motivation. Her top tip to help stay active is: “find a training partner/friend with similar fitness goals. This will help keep you motivated and accountable for your fitness journey on days where your motivation is lacking.”


Lee Ajzenman

Physiotherapist + Polestar Pilates Rehabilitation Certified Instructor

Lee is the founder and owner of Core Physio + Pilates. Her hard work and infectious optimism make her a force to be reckoned with. While not taking on new clients, Lee can be found covering clinical classes and teaching Reformer when one of her staff needs a break. Graduating with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2002, Lee is a Polestar Pilates certified rehabilitation clinician and a regular presenter on health and wellness for allied health clinicians, health and industry bodies and businesses. Lee is passionate about professional development and sharing of knowledge. She has attended conferences globally on Pilates and health, including the International Pilates Conference in Boston and the Pilates on Tour Conference in San Francisco.

One of Lee’s passions is hosting labour and birth skills workshops here at Core. She has always been interested in women’s health and ten years later, continues to give her all to not only her business and staff but her clients as well. When not at Core, Lee is working on her own Pilates, off for a run, doing yoga or spending time with her family.


Jean Hastie

Certified in Yoga Teaching

Jean Hastie is a qualified Yoga Instructor, having gained a Certificate in Yoga Teaching around a decade ago, and is the co-owner of a successful Melbourne yoga studio. Jean believes that Yoga taught her to truly be kind to herself and for that she is forever grateful. She says that it has taught her to challenge her thoughts and what her body can do. Although it sounds cliche, her mantra is that Yoga is truly freedom for the mind and body.



Check out some of the other inspirational names who have joined Premier’s Active April 2019 to help encourage more Victorians to join in the fun of physical activity.



Hannah MacDougall

Jo Hall

Jo Salmon

Kate Moloney

Katie Brennan

Madeline Slattery

Mardi Dangerfield

Matt Haanappel

Nathan Currie

Olivia Anderson

Sonia Marinelli

Sarah Lawrence

Last updated: March 27, 2019 at: 9:48 am


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Daily Activity Tips

Try to allow no more than 2 hours a day of screen time like TV and computer games. Make a rule that everyone must get up and walk around during commercials to get some physical activity.

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