Movers & shakers: Commonwealth Grants Commission names secretary

By Shannon Jenkins

February 12, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

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Jonathon Rollings

Jonathan Rollings has been appointed as secretary of the Commonwealth Grants Commission at the Department of the Treasury. He was previously first assistant secretary, budget policy division.

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Also at the Treasury, Philippa Brown has been named division head, labour market policy division.

Lucy Poole and Jonathon Thorpe have both taken on the role of division head at the Digital Transformation Agency.

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Lucy Poole

Benjamin Peoples has been named branch manager, welfare quarantining at the Department of Social Services.

DSS has also appointed Lydia Ross to the role of branch manager, study and compliance.

Marian Agbinya has been named assistant secretary, migration and citizenship litigation at the Department of Home Affairs.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has appointed Kurt Hockey and Christine Mulhearn to the role of assistant secretary.

Anti-Dumping Commission

Bradley Armstrong

Dr Bradley Armstrong has been named as Australia’s new anti-dumping commissioner.

Armstrong was most recently deputy comptroller-general at the Australian Border Force, and prior to that has held roles at Home Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Treasury, and the Office of National Assessments.

He has also worked for 11 years in the private sector, in corporate management and commercial banking.

He will start the role on February 19, replacing Dale Seymour.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

Dr Christopher Jessup

Dr Christopher Jessup has officially been appointed as the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, for a five year term. He has been acting in the role for the past month.

Jessup was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987 and has more than 30 years of experience at the bar.

Attorney-General Christian Porter congratulated him on the appointment.

“I am confident that Dr Jessup will execute this office with the diligence and integrity he was known for as a judge of the Federal Court,” he said.


Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner Kristen Hilton has announced that she will leave the commission at the end of her term in May 2021.

Kristen Hilton

Since her appointment in 2016, Hilton has “strengthened the commission’s role as a high-impact regulator of equality and human rights laws in Victoria”, the entity said. In particular, she has led the commission’s transformative work with Victoria Police, and the recent establishment of a review into workplace equality in Ambulance Victoria.

More recently, Hilton has advocated for human rights to be at the centre of the response and recovery effort to COVID-19.

She said she has been privileged to lead such an essential institution.

“I leave this role knowing that more Victorians than ever are engaged in their rights and of those around them and that there is a clever and committed team at the commission who will continue to ensure accountability and fairness,” she said.

Commission Board chair Moana Weir said Hilton has been an outstanding commissioner and advocate of equality, fairness and respect for all Victorians.

“Her time at the helm of the commission has been marked particularly by her leadership of systemic reviews addressing embedded discrimination across a range of organisations, enabling the elimination of exclusion and inequality,” she said.

“Kristen leaves a tremendous legacy in the quality of both the work of the commission she has led, and her team.”

A new commissioner is expected to be appointed by May.

24-hour economy commissioner

Michael Rodrigues

The New South Wales government has appointed Michael Rodrigues as the state’s 24-hour economy commissioner. He will have the task of delivering a strategy to “unlock Sydney’s cultural and economic potential”.

Tourism minister Stuart Ayres said Rodrigues would help bring state and local governments and industry together to “create safe and vibrant opportunities for people to enjoy the greatest city in the world”.

“The strategy includes a 24-hour economy acceleration program, through which the government will work with councils and industry to identify and activate unique and thriving economic hubs across Sydney,” he said.

“It will result in a network of activated 24-hour economy hubs across Sydney – each offering a distinct experience, and well connected by efficient transport options.”

Rodrigues is chair of the Night-Time Industries Association, as well as co-founder and managing director of Time Out Australia.


Daniel Westerman has been appointed as the new chief executive officer and managing director of the Australian Energy Market Operator, starting on May 17. He is currently the chief transformation officer at London-listed international electricity and gas utility National Grid.

Daniel Westerman

Westerman said he was looking forward to working with market participants, policy makers and stakeholders across the energy industry during this transformative time.

“As our economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, the gas markets operated by AEMO will continue to play an important role in both the export and domestic energy sectors,” he said.

“AEMO must continue to operate our energy systems today while planning for the challenges of tomorrow, and that will be my focus.”

Energy minister Angus Taylor said Westerman’s commercial and regulatory experience in the UK and the US mean he is “well-positioned to lead a key market institution like AEMO through this period of significant change in the energy market”.

He will replace Nino Ficca, who has been acting CEO following the departure of Audrey Zibelman in December. Ficca will return to his role as non-executive director.

WA taskforce for children and adolescents

Robyn Kruk

The Western Australian government has appointed Robyn Kruk as chair of a new taskforce that will review and recommend care and service models to achieve better mental health outcomes for children and adolescents aged 18 and under across the state.

A former secretary of the commonwealth Environment department, Kruk has extensive experience in the public service. She served as the inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, has held a number of roles across state governments, and chaired the WA Sustainable Health Review between 2017 and 2019.

She will be joined by:

  • Mental health commissioner Jennifer McGrath,
  • Child and adolescent psychiatrist Professor Helen Milroy,
  • Chief medical officer mental health Dr Sophie Davison,
  • Chief nursing and midwifery officer Robina Redknap,
  • Chief executive of the Child and Adolescent Health Service Dr Aresh Anwar,
  • Chief executive of the WA Country Health Service Jeff Moffet,
  • A lived experience representative,
  • A clinical representative.

The taskforce was announced in December in response to recommendations from the chief psychiatrist’s review into the care provided to WA adolescent Kate Savage.

It will be supported by three expert advisory groups, and will actively engage children, adolescents, families, clinicians and other key stakeholders in the design of public specialist mental health services for children and adolescents that fit WA’s unique circumstances. The taskforce’s final report is expected to be delivered in late 2021.

Multicultural Councils

Mathematics teacher Eddie Woo has been appointed to the Australian Multicultural Council, joining 11 other members.

He received the Australian of the Year Local Hero Award in 2018, and has continued to make maths more fun and accessible to school students since then.

Eddie Woo

Multicultural Affairs minister Alex Hawke said Woo was selected for the council on the basis of his expertise, leadership and demonstrated commitment to social cohesion and multicultural Australia.

“As citizens, we share a commitment to Australia and its people, and our shared values of freedom, respect, fairness and equality of opportunity. Mr Woo has exemplified these values in his actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the WA government has established a new Ministerial Multicultural Advisory Council to consult on issues facing culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The inaugural 15 members of the council are: Enzo Sirna (co-chairperson), Nick Agocs, Surya Ambati, Dr Ting Chen, Andrea Creado, Joan Hillman, Abdullah Khan, Nafiso Mohamed, Dr Anh Nguyen, Maria Osman, Joansy King, Wendy Rose, Dr Casta Tungaraza, Salim Youssef and Dr Edward Zang. A 16th member is yet to be appointed.

Multicultural interests minister Paul Papalia said the council would provide invaluable support that would help the WA government to deliver responsive policies and services, and create equitable opportunities for participation across the community.

“The committee consists of people with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I look forward to working with them to ensure Western Australia remains a strong, vibrant and inclusive multicultural society well into the future,” he said.

Australian War Memorial

Rhondda Vanzella and Glenn Keys have been appointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial, replacing Gwen Cherne and Margaret Jackson.

Rhondda Vanzella

Vanzella is the National President of Australian War Widows Incorporated. She has been a member of Australian War Widows NSW since 2014, and has served as its state president and chair since 2016. She is also co-founder and president of the Ozy Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service, and is a member of a number of boards.

Keys is the founder, executive chair and director of Aspen Medical. He is also a veteran, and has held roles across the healthcare, disability, not-for-profit, and business sectors. Keys became director of the Australian Invictus Games in 2018 and is also a board member of Veteran Sport Australia.

Veterans’ affairs minister Darren Chester said the appointees would bring important skills, perspectives and dedication to the council as it progresses the Australian War Memorial development project.

“I would like to thank Gwen and Margaret for their enthusiasm and dedication to preserving and sharing Australia’s military history, and I look forward to working with Rhondda, Glenn and the rest of the Council to continue to tell the stories of our nation’s military service and honour those who have served and continue to serve,” he said.

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