The Northern Territory government has decided to install a southerner as its next Commissioner for Public Employment.
Vicki Telfer, the former human resources chief of the New South Wales Treasury, will take over the NT government’s central workforce management office on September 2. The previous commissioner, Craig Allen, decided in May to head home to Queensland, where he took up a role with that state’s Industrial Relations Commission.
Minister for Public Employment Gerry McCarthy said Allen served the territory “with distinction” and his successor had “a wealth of experience and knowledge” to apply in the role.
“Ms Telfer has an extensive background in directing and leading strategic industrial and employee relations matters and is committed to delivering workforce strategies and initiatives towards improving public sector performance,” he said.
“I welcome our new Commissioner of Public Employment with confidence she will continue to effectively manage and develop the Northern Territory’s public service, building a strong, equitable and efficient workforce.”
Telfer worked in the NSW public sector for over two decades and decided to move on at the end of June. Before taking up the role of deputy secretary for people at NSW Treasury, she was executive director of NSW Industrial Relations for about nine years and prior to that, spent 10 years as general manager of strategy and policy at WorkCover NSW.
“The last 21 years was both challenging and rewarding with something new every day,” she said on LinkedIn.
“As most of you know I am a big fan of the public sector and the value it adds to the community each and every day. Being given the opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives has been amazing. I have worked with many fantastic people over the years and will miss them.”
Her social media announcement attracted a long list of supportive comments from senior executives not only in the NSW Treasury cluster but in various state and federal agencies and other organisations. “You are missed Vicki,” said NSW Treasury secretary Michael Pratt.
After spending so long in Sydney, Telfer is looking at her move to the top end as a big, exciting adventure.
And quite an adventure it will be, as she steps into a central HR role in a government workforce getting squeezed in the jaws of budget austerity that was a long time coming, with a 10% cut to the senior executive ranks and a three-year pay freeze for everyone earning between $200,000 and $400,000. If some don’t agree to vary their current contracts in this way, the real pay cut will be imposed in their next contract, or in the contract of whomever replaces them.
Telfer’s educational qualifications include a Master of Administrative Law and Policy, a Master of Public Affairs, a Bachelor of Science, and Graduate Diploma in Education. She has also completed training through the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.