Image: Former Burnet Institute Chair, Mr Robert Milne AO
Former Burnet Institute Chair Robert Milne, and Burnet Associate and former Program Director, Professor Suzanne Crowe, are among the eminent Australians acknowledged for their outstanding community service in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Both were made Officers in the Order of Australia (AO), Mr Milne ‘for distinguished service to community health through contributions to, and support for, medical research, and to the construction industry’, and Professor Crowe ‘for distinguished service to health and aged care administration, to clinical governance, biomedical research, and to education’.
Our warmest congratulations go to Burnet associates and collaborators who were also recognised including Professor Susan Sawyer AM, Chair Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne (UoM) and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Professor Marcia Langton AM to AO, Chair Australian Indigenous Studies at UoM; and Peter Scott AM Chair, Baker Institute.
A board member since 2000, Mr Milne took over as Burnet Chair in September 2014 in tragic circumstances when his predecessor Alastair Lucas was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and he remained in the role until his retirement in February 2019.
With a background in engineering and more than four decades of experience in the building and construction industry, Mr Milne was Chairman of building and construction company Cockram Construction from 2000 to 2014.
Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC, said Mr Milne was a key to resolving many crucial issues, and to bringing major transformational opportunities to fruition, including Burnet’s merger with the Austin Research Institute, the move from Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital to the Alfred campus, and the building of the Alfred Centre.
“Rob Milne is one of Burnet’s greatest heroes - one of the few people you could genuinely say was absolutely essential to creating the organisation we have today,” Professor Crabb said.
“His muscle, brains, business and strategic nous, extensive contacts, boundless energy and personal cash all put to work in support of this organisation and our mission.
“He has done much else in his rich life, but for the Burnet alone he is incredibly deserving of the prestigious honour announced today.
“I speak for all Burnet staff, board and supporters in congratulating Rob and expressing my deep sense of gratitude for his service to Burnet, and through that, to helping promote a more equitable world.”
Burnet Institute Chair Mary Padbury said Mr Milne shared Mr Lucas’ vision and passion for Burnet and commitment to improving the health outcomes of poor and marginalised communities in Australia and elsewhere.
“There is no doubt his huge contribution has been seminal to the Institute’s world class work, current high standing and financial security,” Ms Padbury said.
“His particular knowledge of health-related property transactions has been crucial and, more broadly, his commerciality has brought rigour and focus to our governance, and this has been underpinned by his driving passion for our vision of equity through better health.
“I am sure I speak for all at the Burnet in congratulating Rob on this fitting national recognition for a great and caring Australian.”
Image: Professor Suzanne Crowe AO
Professor Crowe retired from Burnet in 2018 following a stellar 30-year career as a clinical researcher.
She was an integral part of Burnet’s development as a leading HIV research organisation and held many leadership roles including Program Director, Healthy Ageing and Head of the Centre for Virology.
Professor Crowe was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2011 in recognition of her services to medical research in HIV/AIDS medicine and infectious diseases as an academic, clinician and researcher, and to professional associations.
“I’m delighted that Professor Suzanne Crowe’s outstanding scientific and health career, leadership and service has been further recognised in today’s honours announcement,” Professor Crabb said.
“Also, as a Burnet Institute ‘lifer’, Suzanne’s contribution to this organisation and our mission has been immense.”