Movers & shakers: new year brings new challenges for three public service leaders

By The Mandarin

January 14, 2019

Infrastructure Australia finds a new chief executive, a well-known public servant takes charge of technology at Veterans’ Affairs, and New Zealand’s latest Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary needs no introduction in Canberra.

Infrastructure Australia’s next chief executive will be Romilly Madew, who has led the Green Building Council of Australia since 2006.

The agency’s board has lined up Madew to start in the role this April, more than half a year after it was vacated by Phillip Davies at the end of his three-year term. The new chief of the advisory body said it was an honour to be selected.

“Infrastructure Australia has a critical role to play in helping governments prioritise projects and reforms that best serve our communities,” Madew said in a statement this morning. “I look forward to growing the organisation’s focus on delivering better outcomes for individual users across transport, energy, telecommunications, water and social infrastructure.”

IA chair Julieanne Alroe said Madew had been “the driving force behind Australia’s sustainable building movement” in the CEO role she has held for well over a decade.

“Recognised around the world as a leader in the property and construction industry, Romilly is an experienced CEO with expertise in strategy, governance and policy development,” Alroe added.

Madew has extensive experience on assorted boards of directors, advisory bodies, ministerial panels, reference groups and committees across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including the Surf Lifesaving Foundation, Chief Executive Women, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and many others.

One thing that helped get her the job was the “strong working relationships with industry, government and community stakeholders” she has built up over the years, according to Alroe:

“Romilly joins Infrastructure Australia at an incredibly important time for our organisation, and we are delighted to have her on board as we prepare to release the Australian Infrastructure Audit in mid-2019 and begin work on the next Australian Infrastructure Plan.”

The IA board also noted some of the accolades she has picked up along the way, like the 2015 International Leadership Award from the United States Green Building Council, the 2017 World Green Building Council Chairman’s Award and a national Telstra Business Women’s Award in 2009.

McHardie moves on to a promotion

Department of Human Services IT executive Charles McHardie has been promoted to a newly created deputy secretary position at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, after acting as CIO at DHS during 2018.

The ex-Navy officer joins the small department as its second deputy secretary, alongside chief operating officer Mark Cormack. A spokesperson told iTnews he was brought on board to manage key aspects of DVA’s veteran-centric reform program and other “transformational change activities” and ongoing shared service arrangements with his old department.

McHardie was promoted to chief technology officer at Human Services in 2015 and held the fort as CIO following the departure of Gary Sterrenberg one year ago. Former ANZ bank executive Michael McNamara takes up that role permanently this month.

The Band 3 appointment was made through a merit list, rather than a standard advertised recruitment process. Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott recently asked agencies to advise him of whether they have checked these lists before advertising SES jobs in a circular that foreshadowed “a more centralised process for sharing SES merit lists” this year, and requested for one month’s notice to the APSC before any Band 3 jobs are advertised.

Familiar face takes charge of the other DFAT

New Zealand’s recent former High Commissioner to Australia, Chris Seed, returned home to a big promotion as secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes made the announcement just before Christmas, confirming Seed would take up the top job on February 1.

“Mr Seed is a well-respected senior foreign service leader who has led a number of key initiatives to advance New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs and Trade agenda, including working to raise New Zealand’s profile in the Pacific region,” Hughes said in a statement.

“His 34 years as a public servant – most of which was spent in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade – gives Mr Seed a huge depth of experience and institutional knowledge of the Ministry and New Zealand’s domestic and international priorities.”

Prior to his posting in Canberra, Seed was a deputy secretary in the department for five years, leading a team of more than 400 staff spread over 29 countries, following four years at the same level in Defence.

The NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has about 1500 staff, 60 diplomatic posts in 53 countries, and a budget of $1.3 billion.

“Mr Seed’s strong spirit of service can be seen by the positive impact he has had on the interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders throughout his career. His ability to build strong, open and trusting relationships is well-respected both in the Ministry and internationally,” Hughes added.

See the last’s movers and shakers update here.

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