Dr Anne Astin

Pioneer for women in biochemistry and advocate for rural women

Change Agent

Dr Anne Astin's diverse career spans local, state, national and international industries.

Anne's 'firsts' in the traditionally male arena of biochemistry and forensic science include being one of the first scientists trained to analyse gunshot residues on suspects and the first woman to take maternity leave in a forensic science environment. Anne also established Victoria's first laboratory analysing cannabis in blood and was the first female representative on its recruitment and selection panels.

These days, Anne's passion lies with her work in the dairy sector. "I love working with farmers as they are very good at holding people to account. You know exactly where you stand with them," says Anne. One of Anne's proudest achievements was becoming the CEO of Dairy Food Safety Victoria, especially as she says, "I started at the bottom of the Victorian Public Service".

As a senior executive Anne has led significant changes and regulatory reforms. She has represented her industry at international forums such as the 2002 Third World Congress of Rural Women and sits on the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women's Award selection panel. As chair of the Ministerial Women in Primary Industry Panel for the past 10 years, Anne has also significantly raised the profile and issues of rural women.

Anne is passionate about creating and opening up more opportunities for women. "Women must have access to sound information to be able to make informed decisions to help them realise their full potential," she says. Anne also chairs the board of Wellsprings for Women, an organisation that aims to empower, integrate and educate isolated women in the cities of Greater Dandenong and Casey. Anne has mentored many women including Rural Women's Award winners; Women in Primary Industry panel members; and women participating in the Dairy Industry Rural Women's program and the Australian Rural Leadership program.