Movers & shakers: appointments aplenty in WA

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday July 12, 2019

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Sally Druhan

Senior Executive Service Band 2

Sally Druhan has been appointed First Assistant Secretary Budgets and Financial Services in the Department of Defence. She was previously Assistant Commissioner, Reinvention, Risk and Business Management at the Australian Taxation Office. Druhan had worked at the ATO since 2004.

Senior Executive Service Band 1

Misha Kaur

The ATO has appointed two new Assistant Commissioners. Misha Kaur will undertake the role in Enterprise Strategy and Design. She has previously worked in the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Employment. Meanwhile, Ekanshu Khera is the new Assistant Commissioner in the Integrated Compliance division. He has more than 16 years experience in tax and accounting.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has three new program managers. Branko Vitas has been appointed the role in the International Statistics Branch, while Timothy Montgomery is based in the Technology and Security Division. He has worked in the ABS for 10 years, and was previously in the Child Support agency. Mark Harding has been appointed the position in Census 2021 Data Operations.

Amy Nichol has moved from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to the Department of Agriculture, where she will undertake the role of Assistant Secretary, Agriculture and Water Resources.

Kathy James has been appointed Assistant Secretary, Department of Home Affairs.

Invest Victoria

Chris Barrett

Former Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet Chris Barrett has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Invest Victoria. The agency was established under the new Economic Development portfolio to attract investment to the state and support the Andrews Government’s economic growth agenda.

Barrett brings international economic and development knowledge to the role, as well as state and federal public sector experience. Most recently, he was the Executive Director, Finance and Economics for the European Climate Foundation, which followed his role as the Ambassador of Australia to the OECD.

Fishin’ for a commission

The Australian Fisheries and Management Authority (AFMA) has appointed four new part-time commissioners. They will share an important leadership role, according to Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonathon Duniam.

Brett McCallum has expertise in commercial fishing and pearling and extensive involvement with related industry and government bodies.

Sevaly Sen

Sevaly Sen has three decades of experience in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. She has worked in fisheries management, industry operations and Indigenous fishing matters, dealing with sustainability, structural adjustment and priority research coordination.

David Smith brings extensive knowledge of fisheries science to the role. His expertise includes assessment and management of fish stocks, harvest strategies, sustainable marine environment management and marine system policies.

Scott Spencer has worked across a range of fields, from natural resource management in government roles to public sector administration and governance. His work includes management of commercial and recreational fisheries with a focus on sustainability.

In addition to the new appointments, Catherine Cooper will stay on for an additional three year term to provide continuity for the commission, while the outgoing commissioners include Renata Brooks, Ian Cartwright, Keith Sainsbury and Richard Stevens.


Janet Matton has been appointed president of the board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). She brings more than 20 years of senior corporate expertise to the helm of Australia’s national museum of digital culture.

Janet Matton

Matton has worked across areas including finance, HR, strategy and IT, and spent 12 years working in the US, UK, Europe, Japan and China. She is currently chair of the Eastern Community Legal Centre, director of Epworth HealthCare, deputy chair of the Better Care Victoria Board and a director of national engineering consulting practice Pitt & Sherry.

Peter Lewinsky, who has served as president since 2014, is retiring after nine years on the board. Michael Wachtel and Jan Chapman are also leaving the board. They will be replaced by managing-director of Blackfella Films Darren Dale. The award-winning producer has worked on acclaimed projects including First Australians, Redfern Now and Deep Water: The Real Story.

Vic procurement

Seona James has been appointed to the Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB), making her the first Aboriginal woman to join the Board since its establishment in 1995. 

A Yorta Yorta woman, James has worked to promote Aboriginal engagement and relationship building with Indigenous organisations and non-Indigenous leadership teams and employees.

She served on the Victorian Aboriginal Economic Board from April 2017 to May 2019 and established her own business, Indigenous Cultural Connections, in March 2018. James has also worked at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Linfox Logistics Australia and Australia Post.

Joining her will be two new appointees from the Victorian Public Service – Denise Dyer, Senior Manager, Property and Procurement Services at the William Angliss Institute, and Peter Lane, Chief Information Officer with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

The Board sets the policies that govern procurement of non-construction goods and services for all Victorian Government departments and a number of public bodies.

WA part 1 — agriculture

David McNeil

Irrigated agriculture in Western Australia’s north has been reinvigorated with the appointment of respected agricultural scientist David McNeil to lead a tropical cropping research program at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Frank Wise Research Institute.

An agronomist in the Kimberley region in the 1980s, McNeil has more than 40 years of experience in farming systems research and new industry development in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

He will front a team of experts dedicated to researching food and fibre crops, as well as examining opportunities to cultivate new crops in the region. They will collaborate with local growers and industry, as well as the public and private sector research community including universities, the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia and the Northern Australia Crop Research Alliance.

McNeil will also work with the department and an international consortium to explore the potential of cultivating a plant which is commonly used as a gluten replacement.

WA part 2 — art

A new interim leadership team has been appointed to oversee the Art Gallery of Western Australia for a six-month period. The team will work with the gallery’s board during the recruitment process for a new permanent director.

Senior government arts executive, Colin Walker, will act as chief executive officer managing administration of the Gallery from 23 July. He is the executive director of the culture and the arts service area at the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. The area is responsible for the sector’s funding, policy development and partnerships in WA’s culture and arts sector.

Having spent more than 10 years with the department, Walker represents it on the Art Gallery, Western Australian Museum, State Library of Western Australia and the Perth Theatre Trust boards.

He has previously served as Director of a United Kingdom-based charity organisation that develops partnerships between the arts and culture, and private sectors.

Artist and writer, Dr Ric Spencer will join Walker during the interim period, providing artistic leadership as lead curator of the Gallery. Spencer is currently curator of the Fremantle Arts Centre. He was previously an art critic at The West Australian and has lectured at Curtin University, where he holds a Doctor of Creative Arts.

WA part 3 — waste

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has appointed five members to a new Waste Authority board.

 Former Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia CEO Reg Howard-Smith has been named the board’s chairperson. Lee Broomhall, CEO of Workpower, has been appointed deputy chairperson.

Kelly Howlett

They will be joined by Bloodwood Tree Association CEO Kelly Howlett, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council CEO Tim Youé and Director of Josh Byrne & Associates, Joshua Byrne.

 The board will guide the Waste Authority’s implementation of the State’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, while driving key programs and offering advice to the Minister for Environment.

The team brings a wide range of experience to this board – including shaping strategic direction and policy, urban sustainability, project and waste management, and exposure to the local government and planning sectors, according to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

Dawson thanked the outgoing chairperson Marcus Geisler, outgoing deputy chairperson Jenny Bloom, and members Victoria Bond, Neil Foley and Glen McLeod, who are also leaving the board.

NSW employment

Warrick Jordan has been named the new Employment Facilitator for the Hunter Valley. The role will support transitioning workers and is “critical to helping people affected by a transitioning local economy”, according to Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Michaelia Cash.

She said Jordan will find solutions to local labour market challenges, including assisting individuals to successfully transition ahead of the expected closure of the Liddell Power Station in 2022.

He will work with “local jobactive providers, employers and training organisations to ensure local workers have the skills they need to re-enter the workforce and provide them with opportunities for retraining and further education,” Cash said.

Jordan’s contract term is three years.

NSW Coroner

Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan has been named the new State Coroner for NSW, making her the second woman to lead the NSW Coroners Court, following Mary Jerram.

O’Sullivan’s legal career spans three decades and includes roles at Legal Aid offices in Queensland, the Northern Territory and NSW. She has also practised at the Marrickville Legal Centre and worked in child protection in London. She was appointed to the Local Court bench in 2009 and joined the Coroners Court in 2015.

Former State Coroner Magistrate Les Mabbutt resigned in December. O’Sullivan has been acting in the position since then, and will officially commence her new appointment from 15 July.


Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney has announced the appointment of 33 directors for Victoria’s TAFEs. The new directors have a strong mix of skills in corporate governance, vocational training and education, finance, law, and business, together with links to the local community and industry.

David Bowen, inaugural CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency, is a new appointment to The Gordon’s Board. He is an expert on the NDIS and has more than 20 years’ public sector service delivery experience with a focus on human services.

Katrina Lai is a new member to Bendigo Kangan Institute’s Board, and has a background in professional strategy consulting, law and public sector governance. She has more than 20 years’ experience in management and business and has consulted to both State and Federal governments, as well as a wide range of industries locally and in Asia.

Catherine Scott, Diana Taylor and Angela Verde have been appointed to the GOTAFE Institute.

ARPANSA, ACCC, and suicide-prevention

Gillian Hirth

As reported earlier this week in the Mandarin, The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has proudly announced that Dr Gillian Hirth will chair UNSCEAR — the UN body that considers the potential dangers of atomic radiation.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ridgeway has joined the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, returning to the public sector after 20 years in private legal practice.

The National Mental Health Commission chief executive Christine Morgan has also been named the Commonwealth government’s suicide-prevention adviser. She will work with Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to achieve a “zero suicide goal”.





About the author
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Mandarin Premium

Insights & analysis that matter to you

Subscribe for only $5 a week

Get Premium Today