Movers & shakers: Vaccine rollout leaders appointed

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday June 11, 2021

M&S June 11 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

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Caroline Edwards

Department of Health associate secretary Caroline Edwards is retiring from the public service, after leading Australia’s

COVID-19 health response and vaccination rollout. Edwards commenced as associate secretary in August 2020. She was previously deputy secretary at the department between 2017 and 2019. Edwards had a brief stint at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2019, as deputy secretary for social policy.

Edwards returned to Health in February 2020 to assist with the COVID-19 response, at the request of the former secretary Glenys Beauchamp. At the time, she thought she was only returning to the department ‘for a few weeks’.

Erin Cockram

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Edwards’ retirement following a national cabinet meeting last week. He also announced that Lieutenant General John ‘JJ’ Frewen would lead the National COVID Vaccine Taskforce. Frewen established the Australian Defence Force’s COVID-19 Taskforce in 2020, providing assistance during the Victorian second wave.

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Erin Cockram has been appointed as general manager financial management at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.


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


Queensland vaccine rollout

Shane Chelepy

Queensland Police deputy commissioner Shane Chelepy has been appointed to oversee the state’s increased COVID-19 vaccination rollout. He will coordinate the operational and logistical elements to support Queensland Health teams and ensure more people have access to the vaccine, according to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“Ensuring more Queenslanders are vaccinated is a huge logistical exercise. Deputy commissioner Chelepy will have the responsibility of ensuring our vaccine clinics and community hubs are ready to administer vaccines in a timely way,” she said.

Chelepy is a 35 year veteran of the police service including as Commander of Police Specialist Operations including SERT. For the past 10 years he has been coordinator of the State Disaster Centre, responding to cyclones, floods and fires.

He will draw on Queensland’s disaster response mechanism and apply it to the vaccine rollout.

“Our disaster management framework gives us an opportunity to harness the same coordination we see during cyclones and other natural disasters,” Chelepy said.

NSW chief magistrate

Judge Graeme Henson will retire from the role of chief magistrate and as a member of the Judicial Commission of NSW in August.

He is NSW’s longest serving chief magistrate, and will depart after 33 years on the bench, including 15 as the head of the Local Court jurisdiction. Under Henson’s stewardship, the Local Court has consistently led the nation in the efficient delivery of justice, according to attorney general Mark Speakman.

Graeme Henson

“This is a great achievement when you consider the Local Court finalises 96% of NSW’s criminal prosecutions and more than 90% of its civil litigation,” he said.

The Local Court bench has also improved gender parity during Henson’s time as chief magistrate, with the proportion of female Local Court magistrates now at 49.6%.

Speakman noted that last year Henson implemented measures to ‘keep court users safe and the wheels of justice moving’ during COVID-19.

“These included increasing the use of audio visual link, postponing certain non-urgent hearings and keeping foot traffic in courts to a minimum,” he said.

Henson was appointed as a magistrate in 1988, a deputy chief magistrate in 1994, chief magistrate of the Local Court in 2006, and a judge of the District Court in 2010. Prior to serving on the bench, Henson was admitted as a barrister and served as deputy solicitor for public prosecutions in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Beyond Blue

Primary health leader Abbe Anderson will this month join the Beyond Blue board, ahead of director Dr Mukesh Haikerwal’s retirement from his position in September.

Anderson has more than 30 years’ experience in the public, private and not-for-profit health sectors of Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Abbe Anderson

During her 14 years as the CEO of the Brisbane North Primary Health Network, Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local and Brisbane North Division of General Practice, Anderson served on numerous governance bodies. She is a fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.

Beyond Blue chair Julia Gillard said Anderson’s knowledge would ensure the organisation’s strategies have ‘meaningful impact on the ground, in our communities and health care settings’.

Gillard also acknowledged Haikerwal, who has provided the organisation with ‘inspirational and invaluable’ insights and advocacy over the past six years.

“Mukesh’s deep experience in family practice and his vast knowledge of Australia’s healthcare landscape have informed much of Beyond Blue’s system reform advocacy and service delivery agenda,” Gillard said.

“He is a passionate advocate for people who live with mental health issues, in particular doctors and health care workers. He was instrumental to Beyond Blue’s efforts in this area chairing the Advisory Committee for Beyond Blue’s National Doctors’ Mental Health Program and steering our work since.”

Anderson said she was excited to join the board, which includes Johanna Grigg, Dr Jessica Dean, Paul Howes, Robert Knowles, Dr Jason Lee, Denise McComish, Prof Helen Milroy, deputy chair Kate Carnell, Russel Taylor, and Derek Schoen.

“Our mental health care system is at a point of significant structural reform, and I share Beyond Blue’s commitment to be led by the voice of the community to ensure supports and services are delivered to people when, where and how they need them,” she said.

NSW Police

Seven assistant commissioners and two deputy commissioners have been appointed to the NSW Police Force, commencing July 1. The promotions were made following recent vacancies, including the retirement of deputy commissioner Jeff Loy

Karen Webb

Karen Webb has been appointed as deputy commissioner Corporate Services. She has served on the force since 1987, most recently working as commander of traffic and highway patrol. Mick Willing will serve as deputy commissioner Regional Field Operations. He has more than 31 years of service and ed the state’s disaster recovery efforts following the Black Summer Bushfires. 

The new assistant commissioners include:

  • Dean Smith, Police Property Group,
  • Anthony Cooke, SW Metro Region,
  • Brett Greentree, Western Region,
  • Stephen Hegarty, Traffic & Highway Patrol Command,
  • Stacey Maloney, Communications & Security,
  • Peter McKenna, Northern Region,
  • Gavin Wood, HR Command.

NSW Disaster Response Taskforce

The New South Wales government has established a new Disaster Response Taskforce to help local councils respond to natural disasters and manage the recovery process.

Five new roles have been created to help council staff develop and deliver disaster recovery projects across NSW, according to the state government. The Mandarin understands that some of the positions have been filled, but not all.

Regional transport and roads minister Paul Toole said the new staff would be based in the regions they are supporting, to help councils apply for disaster funding.

They will be in place by the end of the month, he said.

“We know how important these roads are to local communities, and how difficult the recovery process can be, which is why we’re putting boots on the ground in affected communities to make sure funding and expertise is available as soon as possible,” he said.

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