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VMCH Board Chairman dedicates AO to staff and volunteers

VMCH Board Chairman Julien O’Connell AM says he is thrilled to have been added to the Order of Australia honours, and has dedicated it to the people he works alongside. 

Julien was awarded an Officer of the Order (AO) for “distinguished service to community health in the aged care sector through executive roles, and to higher education” on Monday, June 9. It compliments his Order of Australia (AM) in 2013. 

“This is a great honour and I am very privileged to receive this recognition,” Julien said. 

“To be frank, I wouldn’t have received it if I hadn’t worked with organisations like VMCH and we didn’t have the great people around us to carry out the work. I’ve been blessed in my life with being able to have people around me of a high standard and quality, and that makes my task easier.” 

Julien was appointed to the VMCH Board of Directors in 2019 and has significant senior board and management experience, together with a detailed knowledge of health and aged care. 

He has recently retired as Chair of the Board of Mercy Health, which he held from 2008. He is a board member of Catholic Health Australia, Pro-Chancellor of Australian Catholic University, Executive Chairman of Mercy Health Foundation, Chair of PM Glynn Institute and is a member of a number of Archdiocese Committees and Councils. 

Julien said he hoped the award would also highlight the “extraordinary” work of VMCH, caring for older people and children and adults with disabilities, and other Catholic organisations he’s involved in. 

“VMCH is a very diverse organisation and we face many challenges in supporting marginalised people across various areas, whether it’s through affordable housing or supporting young people with acquired brain injuries. Our great work continues to expand but it only does so because of the high calibre of people we have working within the organisation or as volunteers. I share this award with them all.” 

Julien, a grandfather of nine, said he celebrated his award with a “lovely family dinner” and looks forward to the award ceremony at Government House later this year. 

Julien also thanked his wife of almost 50 years, whose support of his career was unwavering. “I couldn’t have done any of this without her support,” he said.

Congratulations Julien from everyone in the VMCH, and Catholic Social Services Victoria community. 

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