Movers & Shakers: NSW appoints next DPP, Victoria names small business commissioner

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday August 13, 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

Elizabeth Southwood

Band 2

Services Australia has appointed Brenton Halliday, Stuart Turnbull, and Laura Gannon to the role of general manager.

Naomi Westwood

Band 1

The Australian Government Solicitor has appointed Alice Kingsland, Emilie Sutton, Elizabeth Southwood and Piccolo Willoughby to the role of senior general counsel. Meanwhile, Niamh Lenagh-Maguire has been named senior executive lawyer.

Steve Dardaneliotis has been appointed assistant commissioner, external delivery services and strategy at the Australian Taxation Office. Also at the ATO, Naomi Westwood has been named assistant commissioner, business information services.

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

Martin Halloran

Department of Defence

The Department of Defence is reportedly on the hunt for a new head of Australian industry capability following a shock resignation from Martin Halloran.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Halloran has this week commenced as director of strategy and future business at Babcock Australasia, which delivers ‘highly skilled engineering services’ to clients in the aviation, land and marine sectors.

The role of head of Australian industry capability was created within Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group in February 2020. Announcing Halloran’s appointment to the position at the time, defence industry minister Melissa Price said he ‘would be tasked with delivering even better outcomes for Australian industry at an unprecedented time of investment’.


Commonwealth public servant Dr Sandra Cuthbert has been appointed as interim CEO at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Cuthbert most recently led the Commonwealth-State Relations Branch within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Her roles included supporting the national cabinet and fostering strong relationships.

Prior to working at PM&C, Cuthbert held the role of general manager at FSANZ. She has also worked at the Department of Finance, and held a number of roles at the former Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

FSANZ Board acting chair Steve McCutcheon has welcomed Cuthbert back to FSANZ.

“Dr Cuthbert brings a wealth of experience to the role, including managing FSANZ stakeholder engagement, corporate and food safety functions between 2018 and 2021,” he said.

The interim appointment follows the departure of Adjunct Professor Mark Booth, who has taken up a role in the private sector. McCutcheon has thanked Booth for his service to the agency.

“Prof Booth ably led FSANZ over the last four-and-a-half years, leaving the agency in a strong position to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future,” he said.

FSANZ is an independent statutory agency within the federal government’s Health portfolio.

Grattan Institute

Lindsay Maxsted has been appointed as chair of the Grattan Institute Board.

Lindsay Maxsted

Maxsted is currently chair of Transurban, and is a former chair of Westpac and of the Victorian Public Transport Corporation. He is also a former partner and CEO of KPMG Australia. He replaces Alex Chernov, who will retire at the end of November.

“We are delighted to have someone of Lindsay’s standing, experience, and intellect to guide Grattan’s future growth,” Chernov said.

“I know that under Lindsay and our outstanding CEO, Danielle Wood, Grattan will continue to be a force for better public policy in Australia.”

Maxsted said he was honoured to take on the role at ‘such a critical time’ in Australia’s history.

“Under my predecessors, Grattan established itself as a household name in Australian public life, and I relish the opportunity to help consolidate its position as the home of independent, rigorous, and practical public policy research and recommendations,” he said.

Investment NSW

Dr Vinita Deodhar has left the NSW Public Service after 13 years to take on the role of chief product officer at Open Orbit, a tech start-up at the innovation hub Stone and Chalk.

Vinita Deodhar

Deodhar was most recently executive director of strategy, performance and marketing at Investment NSW. She has also held roles at the NSW Telco Authority, NSW Treasury, and the Education and Climate Change departments.

She told The Mandarin that working alongside ‘many wonderful people’ in the NSW Public Service has been ‘a passion and privilege’.

“I leave the public sector grateful and proud: grateful for all the opportunities to serve and many firsts. And proud to have been able to make a difference on many fronts, including through defining and casting the vision for outcomes focussed planning, budgeting and delivery of public services, and building change momentum for the reform,” she said.


Mike Diakomichalis

Mike Diakomichalis has been appointed as executive director of customer experience at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Diakomichalis was most recently director and business manager to the chief executive at Bank SA. He has previously worked for two decades at Westpac.

As InDaily has pointed out, DPC is currently led by former Bank SA boss Nick Reade, who recently appointed another one of his former colleagues, Jayne Flaherty, to the department.

Meanwhile, Brenton Caffin has been appointed as executive director of strategy and policy, with Alison Lloydd-Wright taking on the role of executive director of the cabinet office.

Lloydd-Wright replaces Ruth Ambler, who has taken up a position at the Department of Human Services.


Sally Dowling

Sally Dowling has been appointed as the next New South Wales director of public prosecutions (DPP) for a 10-year term. She is the first female to hold the role.

Attorney general Mark Speakman noted that Dowling brings more than 25 years of legal experience to the position.

“Ms Dowling has a distinguished background in criminal law and has shown outstanding leadership and legal skills while arguing cases both as a prosecutor and as defence counsel,” he said.

“She is very well positioned to continue the dedicated work of Lloyd Babb SC, who finished his 10-year term on 17 July 2021. NSW has been fortunate indeed to have benefited from the expertise, professionalism and integrity Mr Babb brought to the position over the past decade.”

Among her past roles, Dowling served as a crown prosecutor for 16 years, and has been a barrister in private practice at Wardell Chambers since 2020.

Dowling said she was honoured to lead the agency.

“I look forward to representing our community and providing the public with a prosecution service that is strong, fair and fearless,” she said.

Indigenous Business Australia

Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt has appointed Kirsty Moore as CEO at Indigenous Business Australia (IBA).

Kirsty Moore

Moore joined IBA in 2018 as head of products and markets. She has been in the acting CEO role since May. Prior to joining IBA, Moore was a senior executive with the Western Australian government, where she had responsibility for business development, low deposit home loans, shared equity and asset management of the WA social housing portfolio. She has also worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and National Australia Bank.

Moore said it was a privilege to be ‘trusted to lead this long-standing, highly successful organisation’.

“I believe that all people deserve opportunities. That is why I work at IBA and why I want to create opportunities for people who are ready,” she said.

IBA chair Eddie Fry said Moore had the full support of the IBA Board.

“She is deeply invested in the financial success and economic independence of Indigenous Australians,” he said.

“The dedication and experience that Kirsty brings to the organisation is exceptional. She will take IBA further into the future, challenging ideas and engaging across communities, stakeholders and government.”

Vic small business commissioner

Lynda McAlary-Smith

Lynda McAlary-Smith has been appointed as Victoria’s next small business commissioner.

McAlary-Smith was most recently executive director of regulatory operations at the Victorian Building Authority, and has previously served as acting deputy fair work ombud. She replaces Mark Schramm, who has acted in the role since former commissioner Judy O’Connell retired earlier this year.

Small business minister Jaala Pulford said she looked forward to working with McAlary-Smith as she leads the Victorian Small Business Commission and ‘fights for a fair and competitive environment for small business’.

“I thank Ms O’Connell and Mr Schramm, who made outstanding contributions at a time when the Commission’s work has been important to the survival of many Victorian small businesses,” Pulford said.


Angelene Falk

Angelene Falk has been reappointed as Australian information commissioner and privacy commissioner for a period of three years.

Falk has led the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) since 2018, and has held senior positions there since 2012.

Attorney-general Michaelia Cash said Falk has worked to increase public’s trust and confidence in the protection of personal information by promoting the understanding of privacy issues and effectively resolving privacy complaints and investigations.

“Under Ms Falk’s leadership, the OAIC has launched its first civil penalty proceedings for an interference with privacy, implemented the Consumer Data Right privacy safeguards, increased international regulatory cooperation and provided guidance on a range of privacy issues that have emerged throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cash said.

Cressida Griffith

NSW Artform Advisory Boards

The NSW government has appointed 20 new members to the state’s Artform Advisory Boards.

The board members come from across the small to medium sector, service organisations, festivals, and independent artists, according to arts minister Don Harwin.

Zebastian Hunter

“The new members will impart their invaluable experience when providing strategic advice to the NSW Government and when making funding recommendations for the 2021/2022 Arts and Cultural Funding Program,” he said.

He noted that more than half of all Artform Advisory Board Members are women, more than 30% are from regional NSW and Western Sydney, 16% are Aboriginal, and 11% are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“The boards reflect our state’s rich diversity, and members will bring with them fresh ideas to drive NSW’s arts and cultural communities into new territory of ambitious and creative projects, now and well into the future,” Harwin said.

The new board members are:

  • Jannali Jones and Rachel (Rei) Cheetam — Aboriginal Arts and Culture Board,
  • Cressida Griffith — Classical Music, Opera and Choral,
  • Emily Nichol, Zoe Hauptmann and Geoff Bell — Contemporary Music,
  • Zebastian Hunter and Carl Sciberras — Dance and Physical Theatre,
  • Dan Potra and Bill Harris — Festivals,
  • Rosemarie Milsom and Fiona McGregor — Literature,
  • Georgia Mokak and Andrew Gray — Multi-arts,
  • Brett Adlington and Tristan Sharp — Museums and History,
  • Linden Duke, Suzanne Jones and Daniel Potter — Theatre and Musical Theatre,
  • Michelle Newton — Visual Arts.

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