Movers & shakers: New Year appointments

By Shannon Jenkins

January 24, 2020

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Band 4

Professor Brendan Murphy

Professor Brendan Murphy has been named the next secretary of the Department of Health. He is currently the Commonwealth government’s chief medical officer, and steps into the new role on February 29, following the retirement of current secretary Glenys Beauchamp.

Band 2

Justin Keefe

Justin Keefe has been appointed chief technology officer in the Department of Defence. He was previously assistant secretary, Enterprise Technology Operations, and prior to that, assistant secretary, Application Sustainment Branch. He has also worked in the Attorney-General’s and Infrastructure departments.

Robyn Shannon has taken on first assistant secretary in the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

Monique Hamilton has been promoted to first assistant secretary in the Department of Defence’s service delivery division. She was previously a regional manager.

Band 1

Jennifer Stace

Jennifer Stace has been appointed assistant secretary, health branch, in the Department of Finance. She has been with the department for more than seven years.

Mark Darrough and Kim Forbes have been named general managers in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.

Over in the Department of Social Services, Christopher D’Souza, Lisha Jackman, Katrina Chatham, Emily Hurley, and Catherine Reid have all taken the role of branch manager.

Alison Rose has been appointed chief of place in the Space and Communities division at Geoscience Australia. She was previously in the Department of Home Affairs.

Gerrit Wanganeen

Jillian Kitto has been appointed assistant commissioner, service delivery, in the Australian Taxation Office. Katherine Philp has also been named an assistant commissioner, over in the public affairs division.

Leisa Craig, Lewis David, and Linda McCann have all been appointed to an unnamed position in Defence.

Gerrit Wanganeen has taken the role of deputy registrar in the National Indigenous Australians Agency. He worked at the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations for nearly seven years, and the Australian Public Service Commission for 13 years.

Louse O’Rance and Erin Rule have both been named assistant secretaries in the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.


David Wolf

David Wolf has been named deputy commissioner of the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission, joining fellow deputy commissioner Katie Miller. He replaces Simon Heath.

Wolf is currently the chief municipal inspector for the Local Government Inspectorate. He will focus on IBAC’s oversight of Victoria’s public sector, while Miller will focus on police oversight.

His three-year appointment starts on January 28.

IBAC special counsel John Lynch will act as the chief municipal inspector while a replacement is found.

Ambassadors galore-ly

Amanda Gorely has been named Australia’s inaugural ambassador for arms control and counter-proliferation. She is currently first assistant secretary, International Security Division, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has previously served overseas as ambassador to the Philippines.

Heidi Venamore

Heidi Venamore has been appointed ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. She was most recently DFAT’s assistant secretary, Counter Terrorism Branch. Venamore has also worked in numerous overseas positions including head of mission at the Australian Embassy in Amman, and head of political/trade branch for the Australian High Commission in London, as well as other domestic roles.

Venamore replaces Arthur Spyrou, who has held the role since 2016. He has taken on the role of ambassador to Greece, and will be accredited to Bulgaria and Romania. He has also held overseas roles such as chargé d’affaires at the Australian High Commission in Nauru, and olympics attaché for the 2004 Athens Games. In Canberra he has served with DFAT in various director roles. Spyrou replaces Kate Logan.

Jeremy Bruer has been named high commissioner to Bangladesh, replacing Julia Niblett. Bruer is currently assistant secretary, Southeast Asia Maritime Branch at DFAT. Overseas, he has worked in the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Riyadh, and Port Moresby. In Canberra he has served with DFAT as assistant secretary in the Papua New Guinea and Fiji Branch, a director in the Iraq Rehabilitation Unit, Iraq Task Force, and has held executive officer roles.

Arthur Spyrou

Sarah de Zoeten has been appointed high commissioner to Vanuatu. She replaces Jenny Da Rin. Currently assistant secretary at the Office of the Pacific with DFAT, de Zoeten has previously served overseas in Port Moresby and New York. She has also served as chief of staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and as assistant secretary, International Legal Branch.

Dr Lachlan Strahan is Australia’s next high commissioner to Solomon Islands. He is currently first assistant secretary, South and West Asia Division. He has previously served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission, Australian High Commission, New Delhi. Roderick Brazier has served in the role since 2016.

Pablo Kang has been named Ambassador to Cambodia. Kang was most recently assistant secretary of the Pacific Infrastructure Branch. His past international roles have included ambassador to United Arab Emirates and high commissioner to Vanuatu. He replaces Angela Corcoran.

All appointees are senior career officers with DFAT.

State bushfire recovery

Lee Miezis

Former chief commissioner of Victoria Police Ken Lay has been appointed chair of the new Bushfire Recovery Victoria agency. Lee Miezis, deputy secretary at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, takes the role of CEO.

The agency will report directly to the premier, and will advise the state government on the coordination of efforts and the development of a plan for the restoration and recovery of communities across the state. Community Recovery Committees will also be established to ensure locals have a voice during the process.

Over in NSW, Dick Adams has been appointed as recovery coordinator for the southern end of the state. Euan Ferguson has been working in the same role in Northern NSW since early November.

Adams worked in the NSW Police Force for 35 years, and retired after serving as deputy commissioner. He was a former state emergency operations controller and led the bushfire recovery efforts in Wyong, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens in 2013.

SA mental health

Sharon Lawn

Flinders University professor Sharon Lawn, mental health advocate and TAFE SA lecturer Heather Nowak, and mental health and wellbeing project manager David Kelly, have all been appointed as mental health commissioners for South Australia.

They replace Chris Burns, who left the role last year to become chief executive of homelessness service the Hutt Street Centre. The commissioners will lead the implementation of the state’s Mental Health Services Plan and Mental Health Strategic Plan.

NSW kids advocate

Zoe Robinson

Zoe Robinson has been appointed acting advocate for children and young people. She will promote the wellbeing of kids across the state by engaging with them and encouraging them to participate in decisions that affect their lives. She has previously served as CEO of the NSW peak body for youth homelessness, Yfoundations.

Robinson replaces Andrew Johnson, who developed the state’s first strategic plan and published multiple reports on children and young people. He also promoted participation and engagement through initiatives including Children’s Parliament and the Regional Youth Taskforce.

He held 30,000 consultations with children and young people across the state, with 10,000 of those being face to face, according to Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor.

The advocate reports to the NSW Parliament through the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Children and Young People. The state government is looking to find someone to fill the role permanently.

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