Movers & shakers: inspector general of water compliance appointed

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday August 6, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.
The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Tara Cavanagh

Band 2

Tara Cavanagh has been appointed first assistant secretary at the Department of Home Affairs. She previously held the role of regional director, South Asia.

Band 1

Christopher Holzheimer has been named commander at Home Affairs.

At the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Yvonne Uren has been appointed branch manager, policy and program. Rachel Kerrigan has also been named branch manager, in the land branch.

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

Rachael Moore

Diplomatic appointments

Rachael Moore has been appointed as Australia’s next high commissioner to Tonga. Moore is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has previously served overseas in Dili, Jakarta and Port Moresby. She replaces Adrian Morrison.

Kerin Ayyalaraju

Meanwhile, Kerin Ayyalaraju has been named as Australia’s next ambassador to Denmark, with accreditation to Iceland and Norway. A DFAT career officer, Ayyalaraju was most recently Australia’s first ‘pop up’ ambassador to Estonia. She has also served overseas as deputy head of mission in the United Arab Emirates, and in Vietnam and Lebanon. Ayyalaraju replaces Mary Ellen Miller.

As previously reported in The Mandarin this week, Victoria has also announced two diplomatic appointments. Former commonwealth associate secretary Caroline Edwards and former consul-general Nigel Warren have joined the state government as commissioners for Victoria to the Americas.

Office of Inspector General of Water Compliance

Former NSW deputy premier Troy Grant has been officially appointed as inspector general of water compliance for the Murray–Darling Basin for a four-year term, after serving in the role in an interim capacity since December.

Troy Grant

Water minister Keith Pitt said Grant was chosen for the job because of his strong leadership, strategic capability, and integrity following a 30-year career of public service in government, law enforcement, emergency services and social justice.

“Mr Grant, as the inspector general, will provide greater confidence to Basin communities and all Australians that the rules are fit for purpose and are being applied consistently. That’s because the inspector general will monitor commonwealth and basin state agencies in relation to their obligations in managing basin water resources to make sure no one is marking their own homework,” Pitt said.

“He has a role in creating more consistent standards and guidelines across jurisdictions and has new avenues around water theft and illegal water trade open to him when states can’t or won’t take action.

“Importantly the office now has the compliance and enforcement powers previously held by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority when it comes to operation of the Water Act, Basin Plan and Water Resource Plans. In lie with the office’s powers and his commitment to transparency Mr Grant is looking forward to releasing his workplan and priorities in the coming days.”

The Office of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance has 33 staff located across the basin, including field officers in five regional locations. Grant said his field officers would build relationships with communities so they can effectively engage with the people who live and work in their area.

“As the first statutory Inspector General I want to assure all Australians that the new compliance arrangements will ensure the highest standards of accountability in the national interest for all involved in the use and management of our precious water resources,” he said.

“I’m determined to make sure that the Office of the Inspector General is open and responsive to community needs and that we’re also clear about our focus, independent in our actions and practical in delivery of enhanced compliance systems.”


Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper has been appointed as chair of the DevelopmentWA board, with Reg Gillard named as a new member. They will commence in their new roles on September 1.

Cooper has previously held the role of national president of Urban Development Institute of Australia, and currently advises boards in the property development and telecommunications industries. He is also deputy board chair of not-for-profit community housing provider Foundation Housing.

Gillard brings with him more than 50 years’ business experience, and has served on the boards of more than 30 listed resources companies. He also formed Specialist Sports Management and has managed dozens of West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers players.

George McCullagh

Cooper and Gillard will replace George McCullagh and Simon Read, who are each retiring after more than a decade of service to LandCorp, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and DevelopmentWA.

“During this time, they’ve overseen some of WA’s most significant developments including the build out of Elizabeth Quay, Perth City Link, expansion at the Australian Marine Complex and the transformation of the Karratha City Centre,” Lands minister Tony Buti said.

“George was particularly influential in the creation of DevelopmentWA. His expertise as a conduit between government and industry stakeholders throughout the merger process played a major part in the smooth transition to a new, larger organisation.

“As chair of the coard’s Audit and Risk Management Committee, Simon was particularly influential in developing robust financial, risk and audit aspects of the business, which has underpinned the Agency’s ongoing financial health and sustainability. Both George and Simon leave behind lasting positive legacies.”

Muir heads to Paul Ramsay Foundation 

Centre for Social Impact (CSI) CEO Professor Kristy Muir has been appointed to the newly created role of chief alliances officer at the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

CSI board chair Professor Peter Shergold said the CSI has ‘gone from strength to strength’ under Muir’s leadership.

Kristy Muir

“She embedded and delivered on an ambitious and optimistic strategy, and has secured CSI’s sustainability for no doubt a long, long time to come,” Shergold said.

“While I’ll miss working with Kristy, I’m really excited to see what she can achieve at the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Her expertise in mobilising cross-sector partnerships and turning ideas into action to achieve social impact is unparalleled.”

Paul Ramsay Foundation  CEO Professor Glyn Davis said Muir’s academic and philanthropic leadership made her perfect for the new position.

“Kristy has a track record of working with, and across sectors to achieve lasting change,” he said.

“Kristy’s appointment is part of our plans to lift our engagement, strengthen alliances and build new coalitions with others who share our ambition to break cycles of disadvantage and enable people to realise their potential.”

Muir will take up the position later this year, after five years of leading CSI. She will maintain her professorship with the UNSW Business School, and will continue to deliver on projects in an advisory capacity at CSI and at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

Muir said being CEO at CSI has ‘undoubtedly’ been one of her greatest achievements.

“I am immensely proud of what we’ve achieved as a team across three universities and with many partners. We turned CSI around with a bold new strategy, have assured CSI’s continued sustainability and indeed scalability and importantly demonstrated impact across sectors,” she said.

“It was always going to take an absolutely incredible purpose-based leadership opportunity to lure me away from that. The new chief alliances officer role at the Paul Ramsay Foundation provides that and more. It has enormous potential to work with others to help break cycles of disadvantage. I’m thrilled to be joining the team.”

Tourism and Events Queensland

Brian Hennessy, Duane Fraser, and Kylie Blucher have been appointed to the Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) board.

Duane Fraser

Hennessy is a Cairns-based marketing professional with almost four decades of experience in the tourism, travel, and aviation industries. Fraser is a Wulgurukaba and Bidjara man, and a Traditional Owner of the Great Barrier Reef and south-central Queensland. He has extensive experience in advising government on Indigenous and environmental policy. Finally, Blucher is the managing director of Nine Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Northern Territory and has vast radio and television media knowledge.

Tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new members would help support the recovery of the state’s tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Queensland’s tourism industry is a vital contributor to the state’s economy and continues to be hit hard by the global pandemic,” he said.

“The new members of the TEQ board join at a critical time in the recovery and rebuilding of Queensland’s tourism industry. They bring to the TEQ board an accomplished mix of industry leadership, regional knowledge, and media and marketing expertise.”

Trade and Investment Queensland CEO Paul Martyn also joins the board as an ex-officio appointment, while existing members Chris Mills, Associate Professor Sarah Kelly, Brenda LaPorte, and Nancy Bamaga will return to the board for second consecutive terms. Hinchliffe said the addition of Martyn would provide the board with greater whole-of-government coordination.

Feral cat and fox management coordinator

Gillian Basnett has been appointed as Australia’s first national feral cat and fox management coordinator at the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS).

Environment minister Sussan Ley said Basnett would focus on seven priority bushfire-affected regions across south-east Australia, where ‘many native species have been left even more vulnerable and unprotected’. She would also raise awareness of the importance of feral management and the best practice control methods that are available to land managers.

“The recovery and resilience of threatened species will be increased through greater stakeholder cooperation, sharing of information, and improved data between states, Natural Resource Management groups, farmers and NGOs,” Ley said.

Funding for the new role is part of a $811,000 grant from the government’s $200 million Bushfire Recovery package to CISS, for strategic coordination of best practice pest management. The funding will also provide further support to the national deer management coordinator.

Ley noted that feral cats kill an estimated 596 million reptiles, 92 million frogs, 316 million birds and 964 million mammals every year.

“Feral animals also have a devastating effect on agriculture, resulting in the loss of up to $800 million per annum in terms of production losses and control activities across Australia,” she said.

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