Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
A range of proud Victorians have been named as ambassadors for Premier’s Active April in 2020. Each ambassador is passionate about how being active boosts people’s overall health and wellbeing.
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 week night 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 week night at 6.00pm. A great deal of his time away from work is spent on community service activities.
Associate Professor Benson is the Course Director for Exercise and Sport Science and Deputy Department Chair Health and Medical Sciences at Swinburne University. She is an accredited exercise physiologist (Exercise and Sport Science Australia, ESSA) who conducts exercise and physical activity interventions across the lifespan for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. A/Prof 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 (e.g. 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.
‘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, silver, and bronze medals along with 2 second place finishes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
She made sporting history in 2016 when she became the first Australian athlete to medal at both a summer and winter Paralympics or Olympics having medalled in Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, and Rio 2016.
In 2019, Jessica transitioned to the sport of rowing and is working hard towards her aspirations to make the Australian Paralympic Rowing Team in 2020 rowing team in 2020 while also juggling her careers as a motivational speaker and Osteopath.
Mardi Dangerfield is signing up for a second year in a row as an Active April ambassador. As a mum of two and a practising Occupational Therapist, she admits finding time to stay active can often be a last priority.
Bachar Houli is one of Richmond Football Club’s most experienced and reliable defenders. His ability to play purely defensive as well as rebound and provide attack for his team illustrates his versatility and flexibility as a player. Having played 170 AFL games, Houli is still improving and becoming a better footballer with time. Off the field, Bachar is the AFL’s first devout muslim. An Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassador, Houli has been named an inaugural winner of the Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding from the University of South Australia’s Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Australia Day Council in late 2012.
In his ambassador role, some ground breaking initiatives have been established. The Bachar Houli Cup, an inter-Islamic schools football competition involving Islamic schools across Victoria, as well as the Bachar Houli Academy; established to nuture young Islamic footballers aspiring to follow in Houli’s footsteps as a footballer and person.
In only three seasons of AFLW, Emma has built quite the resume. A hard running midfielder who is arguably the most damaging in the AFLW: Emma won back to back Best & Fairest’s for the Western Bulldogs, has been named in the All Australian Team three times, and was a key member of the Western Bulldog’s Premiership Team in 2018 – the same year she won the AFLW Best & Fairest Award.
An extremely talented athlete, Emma initially juggled a professional cricket career alongside her AFLW career and a full-time job. This included playing for the Victorian Spirit and Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash before focusing her attention on AFLW.
You may remember TV Presenter Grace Koh from ABCME where up until the end of 2018 she acted as the face and host on the channel for 5 years. Since leaving the channel, she has been working on a variety of freelance projects, worked as a voice over artist, and has been using her platform on social media to connect with more people. Grace is passionate about young people living their best and healthiest life and encourages everyone to have a balanced lifestyle that includes getting up and out to use their bodies to the best of their abilities.
Karen Martini is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. Her food message is drawn from her professional cooking career, her Tunisian-Italian heritage and from the challenges of feeding nutritious and stimulating food to her young family.
Karen was the founding chef at the critically acclaimed Melbourne Wine Room and Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. As executive chef of both restaurants, she held two chef’s hats in Sydney and Melbourne, and won, with Icebergs, the 2004 Best New Restaurant Award from The Sydney Morning Herald. After 15 years at The Melbourne Wine Room, Karen and her partner Michael still opened St Kilda’s much-loved pizzeria Mr. Wolf.
Karen’s contribution to print media has included roles as food editor for Fairfax’s Sunday Life Magazine and Epicure/Good Living lift-out for several years. In 2019 she returned to the paper as a Food Columnist for the Good Weekend magazine supplement.
Karen is the author of the cookbooks, Salads & Vegetables, New Kitchen, Home, Everyday, The Karen Martini Collection, Feasting, Cooking at Home and Where the Heart Is. She is currently working on a major book project with Hardie Grant, which is due for release in 2020.
Born in Sudan, Peter migrated to Australia as a refugee in 2004. Having since called Australia his home, he represented Australian at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 IAAF London World Championships and 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha with great pride.
Migrating to Australia and a whole new culture brought many challenges but at the same time opportunities. Sport and activity has always played a major role in Peter’s life, through schooling and communicating with the students whilst learning English, through learning more about the Australian culture and travelling the country for competitions and having the privilege to represent the country at the highest level in only 5 years of starting track and field.
Through studying a Bachelor of Construction Management and economics at Curtin University, Peter’s passions outside of the track involve building and construction, public speaking and learning about cultures and languages.
Heralding from Western Australia, Quinton Narkle was drafted to Geelong Cats in 2016 and entered the spotlight with a memorable debut against the Bulldogs in 2018 – quickly earning the nickname ‘Sparkle’ Narkle for his impressive skills on the field.
Quinton is a proud advocate for Indigenous Australians, and in 2019 was selected to design the Sir Doug Nicholls round Guernsey.
A Melbourne based blogger and full time mum who loves travelling the world with her little daughter Madison, who is/and are 10 countries down in two years. She is passionate about sharing her motherhood journey and spreading positivity through her portrayal of body confidence, mum fashion, self care, and ability to find humour in the hardships of everyday parenting.
You can listen to Polly ‘PJ’ Harding co-hosting Breakfast weekdays alongside Jase on KIIS 101.1 in Melbourne, and also tune into the best bits of Jase & PJ nationally on KIIS from 8 pm.
A self-proclaimed hippie, lover of outdoors and a bit of adventure, Polly is an expert in fending off endless roastings from her co-host Jase and isn’t shy to give it back. She began her radio career in 2011 at ZM in New Zealand as an intern and then went on to read news. Polly quickly proved her talent as a creative communicator and engaging voice by moving onto hosting national evenings and daytime. She also established herself as a sought after host including regular television appearances on NZ’s ONE Breakfast show as an entertainment reporter. In 2015, she teamed up with Jase Hawkins and together they delivered a National Drive show which saw them nominated for Best Non-Breakfast show at the NZ Radio Awards two years in a row.
Madeline Slattery joins Active April for the second year in a row. Madeline is a reporter with 9News Melbourne who, when not breaking news, has a passion for getting active and encouraging others to do the same.
YiaYia Next Door, a social enterprise set up by Melbourne-based brothers Daniel and Luke Mancuso, is a movement designed to build a connection between neighbours and to help people experiencing domestic violence feel supported within their local community.
With a rapidly growing social following, their Instagram page shares tender, and sometimes comical, moments between Daniel, Luke and their ‘YiaYia Next Door’, a Greek grandmother called Nina who lives next door.
Daniel and Luke have joined Active April as being consistently active is everything to them. After losing their mother, being active helped them find a place where they could regain a happier version of themselves by being active.
“If you’re someone who is looking to change your life and begin your quest to a happier and healthier you, allow yourself to be brave enough to suck at something new, be consistent and put in the work, we guarantee you will be on the right path to achieve more in life and take on each day feeling more and more in tune with yourself.” – Daniel & Luke Mancuso
Jordan Hocking became a household name in Melbourne after competing on the inaugural season of the hit show LEGO Masters in 2019. Nicknamed Flash Jordy for moving with speed during challenges, Jordan developed a passion for running that has seen him complete multiple fun runs, while raising money for charity, since filming wrapped.
Studying film and television at Deakin University, Jordan promotes a healthy lifestyle through his Instagram channel, often sharing pictures of him exercising.
Last updated: May 6, 2020 at: 8:56 am
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