Movers & shakers: Australia Council and some fishy appointments

By David Donaldson

Friday March 22, 2019

New faces at the Australia Council, five women promoted to senior executive roles at Environment and Energy, and several fish-themed appointments.

Australia Council

The federal government has appointed Tina Arena and Mario D’Orazio as members of the Australia Council Board for three-year terms, and reappointed the Deputy Chair, Lee‑Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, and board members Leigh Carmichael and Zoe McKenzie. Khoa Do, Sophie Mitchell, Christine Simpson Stokes and Rebecca Weisser were also recently reappointed.

Fishy business

Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Wez Norris has been announced as the new CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

He has held executive positions in the AFMA, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

“I am confident Mr Norris will provide the leadership needed to ensure the ongoing good management and sustainable use of Commonwealth fish resources, a strong compliance culture to deter illegal fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone, and prioritising research funding towards activities that directly benefit the Australian fishery industry,” said Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud.

Great Barrier Reef Authority

Josh Thomas has been appointed the new CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for a term of five years.

“Mr Thomas brings a strong understanding of the authority, with more than 15 years’ experience in the public and private sector, and has academic qualifications in science and international affairs,” said Environment Minister Melissa Price in a statement.

“The merit-based selection process was conducted by a public service panel and was endorsed by the Australian Public Service Commissioner.”

The appointment has received media attention, given Thomas’ experience working as a staffer for three Liberal environment ministers, including Price. Prior to that he worked in the Department of the Environment.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is the lead manager of the reef, with responsibilities including monitoring the health of the reef, the provision of permits, the prevention of illegal activity, community engagement and liaising with governments.

Tasmanian Marine Farming Planning Review Panel

Four new members have been appointed to Tasmania’s Marine Farming Planning Review Panel, which approves salmon farms.

They are environmental consultant Dr Jo Fearman, former Chief Veterinary Officer for Tasmania Dr Rod Andrewartha, recreational boater Terry Long, and Mitchell Clark, who was nominated by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

Commonwealth senior executive promotions

First Assistant Secretary

Kushla Munro has been promoted at the Department of Environment and Energy from Assistant Secretary to First Assistant Secretary, International Climate Change and Energy Innovation Division.

Helen Bennett has moved up at Environment and Energy to First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Strategies Division.

Helen Innes has been promoted to Band 2 within the Department of Jobs and Small Business, taking on the position of Group Manager.

Assistant Secretary level

Carlyn Waters has been promoted to Assistant Secretary, Business and Ministerial Services Branch, at Environment and Energy.

Tia Stevens moves up at Environment to Assistant Secretary, Biodiversity Policy and Water Science Branch.

Edwina Johnson has been appointed Assistant Secretary, Industrial and Air Quality Branch, also at Environment.

Michael Howell has been promoted at the Department of Defence to Assistant Secretary Work Health & Safety.

Thomas Brennan, also of the Department of Defence, moves up to Assistant Secretary Non-Materiel Procurement.

Sarah Polhill has been appointed Chief Information Officer at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, moving across from the Royal Australian Mint.

Terry Moran’s next gig

Terry Moran, former head of the federal and Victorian public services, can now add another gig to his resume: chancellor of Federation University.

Earlier this month Moran was officially sworn into the role, though he began his three-year term in October 2018.

Federation University was formerly known as the University of Ballarat, but was renamed after merging with Monash University’s Gippsland Campus in 2013.

Live exports

Ross Carter has started in his role as the interim Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports, to provide independent oversight of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ regulation on the industry.

An inspector-general was a recommendation of the Moss Review, which was highly critical of the regulation of live exports. Carter will audit and review the systems and processes that underpin the department’s regulatory responsibilities.

“Mr Carter is well-placed to oversee live animal export regulation, with some 20 years’ experience in regulatory practice, public administration and related academic studies,” said Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

Carter will fill the role for 12 months, pending completion of legislation.


Aaron Guilfoyle has been named Queensland’s first independent Work Health and Safety Prosecutor.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said Guilfoyle would lead a new independent statutory office focused on workplace health and safety and electrical safety prosecutions.

“Mr Guilfoyle as the former Assistant Director for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has extensive experience in high-profile and complex regulatory prosecutions,” the minister said.

The new position was a recommendation of the best practice review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, which followed the deaths at Dreamworld and two workplace deaths in 2016 at Eagle Farm racecourse.

Guilfoyle has been appointed to a five-year term, starting in the role this week.


Kevin Robinson has been appointed Tasmania’s new Director of Mines at Mineral Resources Tasmania.

The Director of Mines is the chief statutory officer responsible for the regulation of activities authorised under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995.

“Having grown up on the North West Coast and having studied geology at the University of Tasmania, Mr Robinson has a local understanding of Tasmania’s mining sector which complements his international experience,” said Minister for Resources Sarah Courtney.

“Mr Robinson’s extensive and diverse professional work as a geologist and resource company manager both domestically and internationally, coupled with at least 20 years experience on company boards, stands him in good stead to take on the role of Director and help propel Tasmania into the next era of mineral industry interest and investment.”

Mineral Resources Tasmania is the Tasmanian government agency responsible for the management of the development of mineral resources, managing mineral tenements, and management of geoscientific data used for land use decisions.

Paul Eriksson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Tasracing.

Eriksson has leadership and financial management experience in a number of roles, including as General Manager — Finance and IT for Racing NSW and as the inaugural Chief Financial Officer of the GWS Giants. Most recently, he was Group CFO for the Cronulla Sharks, and served as acting CEO for four months in late 2017.

Ian Sauer is now Chair of the state government’s $5 million Weeds Action Fund.

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