Movers & shakers: PM&C creates climate coordinator role

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday March 18, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

James Larsen

Band 3

James Larsen has been appointed to the newly created role of climate coordinator at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has moved to the position from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, where he was a deputy secretary. He had also been acting in the role of director of National Parks.

Band 2

Sara Goldsworthy has moved from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to take on a senior role at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Eliza Murray

Band 1

The Department of the House of Representatives has appointed Russell Chafer, Peggy Danaee, and Glenn Worthington to the role of clerk assistant.

Gareth Williams has been named deputy chief executive officer, National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Anna Peatt has been engaged as deputy chief executive at the National Blood Authority. She has previously worked at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services as chief officer, medicines and poisons regulation.

Eliza Murray has been promoted to a Band 1 position at the Climate Change Authority. She has previously held roles at the Department of Environment and Energy, and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Do you know a senior public servant who has recently taken on a new role? Email [email protected] to let us know.

Queensland Public Service changes

Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet director-general Dave Stewart is set to step down from the role in May, having been appointed as agent-general for the United Kingdom and Trade and Investment Commissioner, Europe.

Dave Stewart

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has thanked outgoing agent-general Linda Apelt.

Stewart is one of the longest-serving directors-general of the DPC, as well as one of the longest-serving senior public officials across the country.

“Dave Stewart is one of the best — he is widely respected as one of the most experienced public officials in this country having worked for governments of all persuasions,” Palaszczuk said.

Under treasurer Rachel Hunter will step into the role of DPC director-general, and will be the first woman in Queensland to do so. Her replacement is yet to be announced.

Prior to being appointed under treasurer in May 2020, Hunter has served as director-general of the state Justice and Attorney General, Education Training and the Arts, and State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning departments. She was also Queensland Public Service Commissioner from 2000 to 2003.


NSW chief data scientist Dr Ian Oppermann will chair the new NSW Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee.

Ian Oppermann

The panel will provide ongoing strategic advice on the use of AI to assist in decision-making and improving service delivery across the state government.

The inaugural appointees of the NSW Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee include:

  • Maria Milosavljevic, inaugural chief data officer for Services Australia,
  • Edward Santow, human rights commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission,
  • Martin Stewart-Weeks, principal, Public Purpose Pty Ltd,
  • Theresa Anderson, data & AI ethicist,
  • Fang Chen, executive director data science/distinguished professor at UTS,
  • Lee Hickin, national technology officer at Microsoft Australia,
  • Aurelie Jacquet, chief legal and data ethics officer at Innovations Accelerated,
  • Peter Leonard, principal at Data Synergies,
  • William Simpson Young, co-founder and chief executive of Gradient Institute,
  • Neil Soderlund, chief executive of Quantium Health & Government.

Regulator leadership cohort

The government has appointed a federal regulator leadership cohort to lift performance and improve regulatory practices, according to the Australian Financial Review.

David Parker

The panel is being led by Clean Energy Regulator chair David Parker, and has a number of members, including Services Australia chief executive Rebecca Skinner, tax commissioner Chris Jordan, APRA chair Wayne Byres, ACCC head Rod Sims, Therapeutic Goods Administration head John Skerritt, and Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

Senior public servants from the Health, Infrastructure, Attorney-General and Industry departments are also taking part, and will be supported by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens.

Parker told the AFR he hoped the group would “help regulator leaders learn from each other to set and embed the right cultural tone for their organisations”.

“Over time, I see the cohort helping with the government’s deregulation agenda and building a platform to recognise and professionalise the skills and capabilities that support best regulatory practice and capability,” he said.

The cohort will meet on a quarterly basis.

Green Industries SA

Dr Ian Overton has been appointed as chief executive of Green Industries SA, replacing Vaughan Levitzke.

Ian Overton

Levitzke is retiring after nearly 20 years in the role. He first entered the public service in 1978 as an ecologist with the Department for the Environment.

After 10 years with the SA Environment Protection Authority, Levitzke was appointed acting head of Zero Waste SA in 2003, during the agency’s establishment phase, and was subsequently appointed as its inaugural chief executive.

Environment minister David Speirs thanked and congratulated Levitzke for an “impressive” 43 years of public service for the people of SA.

Levitzke’s replacement, Overton, has more than 30 years experience in business, research, academia and government, including 17 years with the CSIRO.


Martin Parkinson

As previously reported in The Mandarin, former PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson has been named chair of the Australian National University’s Sir Roland Wilson Foundation.

He replaces former Treasury secretary Dr Ken Henry, who has served as chair since 2013 and initiated the foundation’s scholarship program for public servants.


Finally, former finance minister Mathias Cormann has been named secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, replacing Ángel Gurría.

Cormann retired from the ministry and senate in October to pursue the top OECD job, beating Sweden’s Cecilia Malmström.


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