Movers & shakers: dep sec shuffle in PM&C

By Shannon Jenkins

November 29, 2019

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

APS senior executives

Band 3

Caroline Edwards

In the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Caroline Edwards has been named deputy secretary of social policy, taking over from Alison Larkins. Edwards began on November 25, leaving her deputy secretary role in the Department of Health. Larkins’ November 8 departure coincided with several other changes at the top level of the department earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, PM&C deputy secretary David Gruen has been named head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, five years after the appointment was first predicted. He will take over from David Kalisch on December 11.

Band 2

David Turvey has been appointed group manager in the Department of Education. He was previously in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Susannah Smith has taken the job of general manager in the Department of Human Services. She was previously in the Australian Taxation Office.

Over in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Narelle Luchetti has been named head of the Digital Economy and Technology Division.

Benjamin Mudaliar

Helen Grinbergs is first assistant secretary in the Department of Health, as is Daniel KeysPaul McCormack, Trish Garrett, and Celia Street.

Band 1

Also in Health, David Hicks has been appointed assistant secretary.

The National Indigenous Australians Agency has taken on Andrew Huey, Deborah Fulton and Ursula Carolyn as branch managers. Meanwhile, Byron Matthews and Benjamin Mudaliar have been named regional managers.


Stuart Richey

Stuart Richey has been reappointed as chair of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Board. He served as a board member from 2013, and deputy chair since 2014. He has also been on the board of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and is managing director of Richey Fishing Company and Richey Services.

He will be joined by Jennifer Clark, who has been reappointed deputy chair. She has been in the role since 2015, and has been chair of the AMSA Board Audit Committee since 2014. She chairs a range of Commonwealth Audit and Risk Committees, including in the Department of Human Services, the Department of Defence, Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the Australian Law Reform Commission. She also chairs Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Risk Advisory Committee, and is an independent member of the Audit and Risk Committees for the Department of Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Dr Ian Poiner has also been appointed to the board. He is a highly respected marine scientist, and currently chairs the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. He was a researcher at the CSIRO from 1985-2004, and was the CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science from 2004 to 2011. Meanwhile, Dr Russel Reichelt is leaving the board after 12 years of service.

Environment Ambassador

Jamie Isbister has been named Australia’s next Ambassador for the Environment, replacing  Patrick Suckling.

Jamie Isbister

He is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently First Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian, Non-Government Organisations and Partnerships Division. He has previously served overseas as Minister-Counsellor, Australian High Commission, Pretoria.

Isbister will promote Australia’s interests on international environment issues including our efforts to address climate change as part of a coordinated global effort, cooperation on sustainable oceans management and UNESCO World Heritage, according to Foreign Affairs minister Marise Payne.

He will lead Australia’s engagement in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. His key priorities include strengthening international frameworks and cooperation on the effective global implementation of the Paris Agreement in line with our national interests and to promote Australia’s work to meet our international commitments.

He will also lead ongoing efforts to integrate climate change and sustainability into Australia’s official development assistance, including to improve climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific and to enhance climate-related private sector investment in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Industry and Skills

Tracey Horton

Emeritus Professor Tracey Horton has been appointed chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee. The AISC provides advice to Commonwealth and State Industry and Skills Ministers on the implementation of national VET policies, and approves nationally recognised training packages. With extensive not-for-profit and government board experience, Horton will lead the committee in working with government to strengthen industry engagement as well as improvements for courses and training.

She replaces Professor John Pollaers.

Corruption in Casey

A monitor has been appointed to examine governance at the Victorian City of Casey, following serious allegations of corruption in the council.

Laurinda Gardner

Laurinda Gardner has been appointed until January 31 2020, effective immediately. She will advise the minister of any councillors who behave in a manner that does not comply with their role, and of any impact on the integrity or functioning of council decision-making and governance. 

Gardner has more than 20 years of experience as both a member and chair of several government and not for profit boards. She currently sits on the Victorian Planning Authority, Victorian Equal Opportunity, and Human Rights Commission boards.

She was also appointed as an administrator on the panel of administrators for Greater Geelong City Council in 2016/17 and held previous roles as a senior executive both at the Department of Treasury and Finance and Melbourne City Council.


Vic small business

Judy O’Connell

Judy O’Connell has been reappointed as small business commissioner until November 2022.

Over the past three years she has delivered the Grow Your Business Together initiative in the Latrobe Valley, developed engagement guidelines for infrastructure projects impacting small businesses, and has created a mental health plan to support small business owners. The commissioner also launched the Small Business Friendly Council initiative, which helps councils create a supportive environment for their local businesses. In 2018, O’Connell was named one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in Victoria.


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