Movers & shakers: DTA appoints chief strategy officer

By Shannon Jenkins

June 25, 2020

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Band 3

Tania Rishniw

Tania Rishniw has been appointed deputy secretary in the Department of Health. She was most recently acting in the role of deputy secretary, health system policy and primary care group. Prior to joining Health in 2015, Rishniw led the Victorian State Office for Health, as well as a number of commonwealth departments including Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance, Education and Employment, and Environment and Heritage.

Band 2

Sam Grunhard

Sophie SharpeSamuel GrunhardLeanne SmithLee-anne MonterossoAlana Sullivan and Richard Feakes have been named first assistant secretaries at the Department of Home Affairs.

Anthony Murfett has been appointed head of division at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.


Scott Cass-Dunbar

Scott Cass-Dunbar has been named the new chief strategy officer at the Digital Transformation Agency. He replaces Anthony Vlasic, who left the role earlier this year.

Cass-Dunbar is currently a technology and government advisory partner at KPMG Australia, where he has been for nearly two decades. In 2009 he briefly worked as assistant secretary at the then-Department of Finance and Deregulation.

He will lead the DTA’s Digital Strategy and Capability Division, and holds responsibility for digital strategy, digital capability and whole-of-government architecture.

In a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, Cass-Dunbar said the new role was “an amazing opportunity”.

“Together we can really make a difference to what digital delivers for our country,” he wrote.


Dr Larry Marshall has been reappointed as chief executive of the CSIRO for a further three years. He first joined the agency in 2015.

Larry Marshall

CSIRO Board chair David Thodey said Marshall has overseen a number of achievements at the CSIRO, including “a ten-fold increase in CSIRO’s equity portfolio”, and “the highest number of partnerships with industry for 30 years”.

“The board thanks Larry and CSIRO’s 5500 people for their achievements over the past five years. Under Larry’s leadership, our vision for the future of CSIRO will ensure our world-class scientific and research organisation continues to make an impact. We are delighted that Larry has agreed to lead the organisation in the next chapter of its history,” he said.

Marshall thanked “Team CSIRO” for their commitment and passion.

“It’s a privilege to lead an organisation trusted by so many Australians. Our people are inspiring – committed to creating a better future for all Australians,” he said.

“While we have achieved much, there is more to deliver as we emerge from the current crisis. Our focus on delivering real solutions from science will help Australia grow to even greater strengths, just as we have seen before over CSIRO’s 100-year legacy.”

It comes as the CSIRO management announced that up to 40 jobs would be cut from its energy team, including key scientists, engineers, and researchers.


The City Renewal Authority will soon have a new chair, deputy chair, and member.

Inaugural chair Dr Michael Easson has decided to step down from the board after his term ends this month.

Christine Covington

Deputy chair Christine Covington will replace him, while Nigel Chamier will take on the role of deputy. Alison Kimber will fill the vacated position on the board.

Covington is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW with more than 34 years’ experience in property, planning and environmental law and has held numerous board roles.

Chamier sits on a range of public and private sector boards, while Kimber has more than 30 years’ experience in the finance, government and not-for-profit sectors.

Existing board members Ken Maher and Gabrielle Trainor have had their appointments extended for a further term.

Easson guided a number of projects including the creation of a City Precinct Renewal Program, the opening of Henry Rolland Park, public space upgrades to London Circuit and Akuna Street, and the implementation of placemaking programs for Dickson, Braddon and Haig Park.

Government services minister

Danny Pearson

Danny Pearson has been appointed to a new role of Victorian minister for government services, where he will oversee the state public sector, cyber security, and citizen digital transaction reform. He will also take on the roles of assistant treasurer and minister for regulatory reform.

He is the state member for Essendon.

Natalie Hutchins and Shaun Leane have also joined Pearson as new members of the Andrews Labor government ministry.

Leane has been named minister for local government, and will also take the suburban development and veterans portfolios. Hutchins will take up the portfolios of victim support, and corrections, youth justice, and crime prevention.

The reshuffle comes following allegations of a branch stacking scandal that saw ministers Adem Somyurek, Marlene Kairouz and Robin Scott sacked.


Robert Cole has been appointed to lead the Landgate board for the next three years. He replaces the outgoing chair, Caroline de Mori, who has been a member of the board since 2015.

Rob Cole

Cole is currently chair of Synergy and is a lawyer with 35 years’ experience in the public and private sectors. He is the former chair of the Southern Ports Authority.

Lands minister Ben Wyatt welcomed Cole and thanked de Mori.

“Rob’s leadership, legal and corporate governance skills will ensure he is able to support Landgate in achieving its statutory and commercial obligations as WA’s land information authority,” he said.

“Caroline played an important leadership role in pursuing Landgate’s digital transformation strategy and supporting the agency through the partial commercialisation of its automated land titling functions and related asset divestments. This resulted in a combined $1.6 billion return to the state last year.”

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