Movers & shakers: who scored the latest prestigious foreign postings

By Shannon Jenkins

September 6, 2019

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Commonwealth senior executive appointments

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Alan Copeland

Martin Graham has been appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Social Policy Division, Department of Finance. He was previously an assistant secretary and has been with the department since 2014.

Nigel Stanier

Peter Broadhead has been named a Group Manager in the Department of Social Services, where he has worked since 2014. Prior to this, he worked in the Department of Health.

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Lauren Bain has been named an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as have Alan Copeland and Nigel Stanier.

Ky Blackman has moved from the Department of Defence to Home Affairs, to take on the role of Assistant Secretary Asia.

The Australian Government Solicitor group within the Attorney-General’s Department has appointed two Senior Executive Lawyers: Phil Sedgley-Perryman and Charlotte Flaherty. They were both previously Senior Lawyers.

Foreign affairs

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has announced the appointments of a new Consul-General and three Ambassadors, all of which are career officers with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Matthew Barclay

Matthew Barclay will be Australia’s next Consul-General in Phuket, with responsibility for Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga. He was most recently First Secretary of the Australian Embassy, Jakarta. Overseas, Barclay has served as an adviser in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. Back home in Canberra, he served in the Consular Operations Branch, and the Malaysia Brunei and Singapore Section.

Lyndall Sachs

Lyndall Sachs has been named Ambassador to Iran, moving up from her most recent role as Chief of Protocol. She has served overseas as Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Baghdad; Commissioner-General, Australian Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai; and Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Beirut. Sachs has also worked in Canberra in the role of Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch, DFAT.

Bernard Philip is the new Ambassador to Sweden. He will also be accredited to Finland and Latvia. Philip was most recently Assistant Secretary in the Human Rights Branch. He has served overseas in New Delhi, Tarin Kot and Washington. He has worked in a range of positions in DFAT and the Department of Defence.

Richard Sadleir is Australia’s next Ambassador to Austria. He will also be accredited to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia and Slovenia. In this role Sadleir will represent Australia on the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors. He was most recently First Assistant Secretary in the International Security Division. Overseas, he has served in Washington and Wellington, while in Canberra, he has held a range of national and international security roles.

Payne has thanked outgoing Ambassadors Brendon Hammer, Jonathan Kenna and Ian Biggs, and outgoing Consul-General Craig Ferguson.

Electronic health

Damien Green has been appointed Chief Executive of Queensland Health and Chief Information Officer of eHealth Queensland. Green has spent over six years with the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, where he was appointed Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of Digital Transformation in August, 2016, and Executive Director of Robina Hospital in April this year. He previously worked with PwC and Accenture.

The agency’s Chief Solutions Delivery Officer Bruce Linaker has been acting in the role since Dr Richard Ashby resigned late January. As Movers & Shakers reported, the Crime and Corruption Commission was asked to investigate “a potential undeclared conflict of interest” arising from an alleged relationship with a staff member working on a major project, the Patient Administration System replacement, which was put on hold.

Damien Green

Queensland Health Director-General Michael Walsh said Green was “pivotal in driving continuous improvement in health service delivery and quality” in the Gold Coast region. “Damian will no doubt bring this rich experience and forward thinking to his role leading eHealth, as the agency continues to move through a period of transformation with the rollout of the digital hospital,” Walsh reportedly wrote in a letter to staff.

He also thanked Linaker for holding the fort for the past nine months. “Stepping into a leadership position at short notice is never easy, and having someone with existing knowledge of eHealth at the executive level has made this transition much easier for us all.”

The Nine newspapers report three other senior staff have departed the agency recently: clinical experts Renea Collins and Dr Gordon Laurie as well as Chief Technology Officer Warren Prentice.

State Emergency Services

Carlene York

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott has announced Carlene York as the new State Emergency Services (SES) Commissioner.

York has had a diverse policing career, from coordinating responses to natural disasters to leading the Strike Force which captured one of Australia’s most wanted offenders, Malcolm Naden. In the NSW Police Force, York was Commander of Human Resources managing 250 staff and overseeing 20,700 employees. Between 1993 and 2017, she held many senior roles including Commander of the Criminal Identification Specialist Branch, Commander of the Northern Region and Director of the Forensic Services Group.

These experiences give her the ability to understand the pressures volunteers face during a crisis, according to Elliot.

“The new SES Commissioner, Carlene York, has outstanding credentials to lead more than 9,000 dedicated SES volunteers that communities rely upon when natural disasters strike,” he said.

Elliott thanked the Acting Commissioner of the SES Kyle Stewart for providing strong leadership during the search for a new Commissioner. He will return to his role as Assistant Commissioner of Police when York starts in the position next month.

Train brain

Nick Foa

Deputy Secretary of Housing and Infrastructure and Director of Housing in the Department of Health and Human Services, Nick Foa, has been named Chief Executive of the new Suburban Rail Loop Authority.

The Victorian agency will deliver a huge public transport project for the state, starting this week. Foa will be in charge of efforts to connect metropolitan train lines from Cheltenham to Werribee, create a rail link to the airport and build three transport super hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine to connect regional passengers to the Suburban Rail Loop.

“I’m excited to work on this once in a generation project, which will create stronger connections between suburban Melbourne, create more open spaces and provide new opportunities for business in the suburbs,” Foa said.

The agency will immediately begin consultation with local government, universities, key institutions and stakeholders on possible sites for the new stations.

Vic Ombudsman

Rod Apostol is the new chief information officer for the Victorian Ombudsman. He will replace Deborah Weiss, who has held the role since October.

Apostol has worked as a digital and technology services manager at the City of Port Phillip since 2015. According to CIO Australia, he will work on the Ombudsman’s digital transformation by replacing its core systems, which will improve the service for customers.

Apostol will start on 9 September, while Weiss moves over to Fiji’s Public Service Commission, where she will serve as secretary of communication and information technology.

Cotton and grain

Richard Haire

Richard Haire has been reappointed as Chairperson of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation for another three years. He will play a critical role in creating $2 billion in additional gross value of cotton production through investments highlighted in the corporation’s Strategic Research, Development and Extension Plan, according to Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie.

“Mr Haire is a well-known and respected member of the Australian cotton industry, having held many leadership positions within the sector and is well positioned to lead the industry forward,” she said.

Haire is currently the Chairman of the Endeavour Foundation and the Reef Casino Trust, and is the non-executive director of the Bank of Queensland and BEC Stockfeed Solutions. He was CEO of the Queensland Cotton Corporation for 18 years.

John Woods

John Woods has also been re-appointed as Chairperson of the Grains Research and Development Corporation for another three year term starting October. Mckenzie said he will help realise priorities highlighted in the company’s Research, Development and Extension Plan.

Woods was a nominated director of the corporation from 2012 until he was appointed as chairperson in 2016.


Ann Robinson

Two new members have been appointed to the Rottnest Island Authority board. Architect Peter Lee and executive Ann Robinson have joined the board, replacing long-serving members Suzanne Hunt and Robert McDonald.

As a director of design firm HASSELL, Lee has helped design several major Perth developments, including Optus Stadium, the new Westin Hotel, Crown Towers, Brookfield Place, and the city and stadium railway stations. He is also an adjunct professor at Curtin University. Lee’s term expires in June 2020.

Robinson has held senior roles in mergers and acquisitions at Wesfarmers Ltd and served as chief financial officer at Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers. She is currently a director of Pioneer Credit Limited and the Lionel Samson Sadleirs Group, and is a member of Curtin University’s audit, risk and compliance committee. Her term expires June 2021.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia congratulated the new members and thanked Hunt and McDonald for their work.

NSW fisheries

Kate Barclay

Professor Kate Barclay of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, has been appointed to lead an independent assessment of the socioeconomic impacts of the NSW Government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (BAP). She is expected to deliver her initial findings to the state government by the end of the year.

 The BAP was designed to provide fishers with greater certainty and ensure the long term viability of the NSW commercial fishing industry. Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said Barclay has the expertise to lead the project due to a long history in researching social aspects of fisheries.

“This work will include consultation with fishers and will use an expert team to refine and deliver a survey suitable for monitoring social and economic impacts on an ongoing basis,” he said.

“We are committed to partnering with the industry to better understand and respond to the social and economic issues that impact fishers and I have met with industry representatives, including the Professional Fishermen’s Association, who have highlighted this work as a priority for the industry.”

Heritage Council

John Cowdell

Three new members and six returning members have been appointed to the Heritage Council of Western Australia.

Former President of the WA Legislative Council John Cowdell, former CEO of Heritage Perth Leigh Barrett, and local historian and author Richard Offen have been appointed to the state’s advisory body on historic heritage matters.

Anne Arnold will continue as the council Chair until the end of the year, while members Lloyd Clark, Sally Malone, Jennifer Marschner, Nerida Moredoundt and Brad Pettitt have been reappointed.

Anne Arnold

Heritage Minister David Templeman noted that this is the first Heritage Council to be appointed under the Heritage Act 2018.

“The mix of new and existing board members brings a balance of skills, experience and innovation to the council’s work of advising the government on heritage matters and making recommendations regarding places on the State Heritage Register,” he said.

“With five women and four men making up the new council the state government continues its commitment to increasing the representation of women on government boards.”

Templeman thanked outgoing members Rob Druitt, Philip Griffiths, and Professor John Stephens for their time and expertise.

“I particularly acknowledge Mr Griffiths who has contributed his time and enthusiasm to the council for 27 years,” he said.

Land and Environment Court

Barrister Sandra Duggan has been appointed a judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman said is the first specialist environmental, superior court in the world.

Duggan’s extensive career has spanned more than three decades, according to Speakman.

“Ms Duggan has extensive experience in planning, environmental and property law, as well as state and local government,” he said.

“She has appeared in high profile Land and Environment Court matters including representing Infrastructure NSW in the demolition of the Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park and playing a pivotal role in getting the $52 million Gosford Waterfront Precinct across the line.”

Duggan was admitted as a solicitor to the state in 1988 and was called to the Bar in 1995. Most recently she was head of Martin Place Chambers. She has advised community groups, developers and government departments. Her experience includes development appeals, criminal prosecutions, land valuation and acquisition hearings and coronial inquiries.

She will be sworn into her new position on 10 September.

Meanwhile, barrister Richard Cavanagh has been appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW, replacing Justice Monika Schmidt, who is retiring after 26 years on the bench.

Cavanagh’s legal career spans 37 years, with 21 years at the Bar and a decade as Senior Counsel. He became a partner at a prominent Sydney law firm in 1988 and began practising as a barrister 10 years later. Cavanagh has dealt with matters relating to professional and product liability, construction, medical negligence, life insurance, fraud and personal injury. He has appeared in 80 cases in the NSW Court of Appeal. The barrister has been a member of the Bar Council and a Director of Bar Cover, which provides sickness and accident income protection insurance for barristers in Australia.

Speakman said the justice system is fortunate to have Cavanagh on the bench, and thanked Schmidt for her contributions during her 40-year career.

“She continues to be an inspiration for female lawyers across NSW,” he said.

Schmidt retires on 11 September, and Cavanagh will be sworn in on 16 September.

Fresh milk

The NSW Government has appointed Ian Zandstra as the state’s first Fresh Milk and Dairy Advocate. He has had a career spanning 37 years in the NSW dairy industry and operates two dairies. He has previously been Chariman of the Dairy Farmers Milk Co-Operative, and has served on the board of the Shoalhaven Dairy Co-Operative. He currently sits on the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said Zandstra would play a key role in helping to grow a stronger, more profitable dairy industry in NSW.

“The advocate will champion dairy in NSW by providing advice to both government and industry on how we can better support our producers and create more value across the entire supply chain,” he said.

Zandstra said he is honoured to be appointed to the role, which involves advising the government, and assisting in the delivery of an action plan and a ‘buy local fresh milk’ campaign.

“My first priority is to establish an industry Advisory Panel, which will play a key role in identifying immediate and necessary actions for the sector and shaping advice to the government,” he said.


An independent panel has been appointed to review agricultural and veterinary chemical regulation.

Chaired by Ken Matthews, former Chair and CEO of the Australian National Water Commission, the panel will work with a formal consultative group comprising representatives from chemical companies, farming industry groups and non-government organisations.

Dr Craig Suann, Dr Mary Corbett and Dr Anne Astin will join Matthews as panel members.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the terms of reference prepared for the panel were very broad, allowing them to explore any matter they considered relevant.

“The independent review will tell us a lot about how we can modernise our agricultural and veterinary chemical regulatory framework—and how we can safely improve farmer and community access to agvet chemical products,” she said.

Members of the public will also have a chance to make submissions. The panel is expected to report their findings by February 2021.

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