Movers & Shakers: New assistant secretaries

By The Mandarin

Friday September 10, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Danielle Regeling

Band 2

Danielle Regeling has been appointed a general manager at Services Australia

Scott Sharp from Australian National Audit Office has been promoted to band 2

Band 1

Holly Buckle, Marie Gunnell, Robert Bradley and Alison Todd have all been promoted to Assistant Secretaries at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Luke Stines has been promoted to Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health

Scott Tredwell is appointed General Counsel at Federal Court of Australia, located in  Brisbane

New Human Rights Commissioner appointed

As reported in The Mandarin earlier this week, former WA Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lawyer Lorraine Finlay has been named the next Australian Human Rights Commissioner.

She will be based in Canberra and commence her term at the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) at the end of November.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the Human Rights Commissioner and am looking forward to building on the substantial contributions made by my predecessors in the role,” Finlay said.

Kiersten Fishburn appointed DPIE Secretary

Kiersten Fishburn

Kiersten Fishburn is the new Secretary of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and will start in the role at the end of October.

She moves into the role having spearheaded DPIE’s Planning Delivery Unit, which moves complex projects through the planning system faster, while also recently leading the Office of Local Government.

She brings more than 20 years of experience to the role, having previously worked as the CEO of Liverpool City Council and served as a board member across a range of sectors.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said Fishburn has an outstanding track record working across state and local government and will bring a wealth of experience to this new role.

“She has proven to be a very efficient operator during her time leading the Planning Delivery Unit, accelerating more than 600 complex planning matters resulting in more than $57 billion in economic benefit,” Berejiklian said.

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney described Fishburn as: “A leader with a distinguished public sector career – someone highly respected for her ability to get things done in large organisations.

“With her experience at Liverpool City Council – as well as leading the Planning Delivery Unit and the NSW Office of Local Government – she has the experience to be an important bridge between state and local government.

“At a pivotal time for Sydney and the state, she also brings a strong background in the cultural sector.”   

New NSW Defence Advocate starts

Kym Osley

Air Vice-Marshal Kym Osley, AM, CSC has begun his term as the new NSW Defence Advocate, representing the state’s defence industry.

He will look to accelerate the establishment of the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise in NSW, to boost skilled jobs and enhance Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.

Osley brings a wealth of defence and industry expertise to the role, with more than 44 years’ experience in defence. 

 Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said that as part of the government’s response to COVID-19, the role of the NSW Defence Advocate would be instrumental in enabling opportunities for globally competitive defence industries to thrive in NSW, now and into the future.

MP and TAFE Graduate the new Victorian TAFE Ambassador

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Sonja Terpstra will be the Victorian Government’s new TAFE Ambassador, to make skills and training better than ever and showcase the work of Victorian TAFEs and trainers across the state.

TAFE formed the foundation of Ms Terpstra’s own career. She studied typing and shorthand at TAFE before securing a job in administration which opened the door to representing working people within the union movement and eventually led to a career in politics.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for TAFE – it has opened so many doors for me and gave me the vital foundational skills I needed to get straight into the workforce,” Terpstra said.

“It’s really exciting to now share my positive experiences of TAFE with school-leavers, jobseekers and employers.”

Special envoy for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Ted O’Brien

Ted O’Brien, the Federal Member for Fairfax, has accepted the role of Special Envoy for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, commencing immediately.

 Prime Minister Scott Morrison said O’Brien played an integral role in securing the rights for Brisbane to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games as his personal representative for Brisbane’s candidature. 

“This role will see Mr O’Brien engaging with businesses and the community to ensure the Commonwealth retains an ongoing dialogue with, and understanding of, the key interests of the Queensland community,” Morrison said.

He will report directly to the PM.


Bench appointments


Leading Sydney barrister Hament Dhanji SC has been appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW.

Dhanji will become the first Australian of Indian descent to serve on the NSW Supreme Court bench, having been admitted as a legal practitioner in 1990. He was called to the Bar in 1997 and took silk in 2010.

As a barrister in private practice at Forbes Chambers, he has appeared as lead counsel in a number of important cases in the High Court and has appeared in approximately 350 cases in the Court of Criminal Appeal. 

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said Dhanji brings three decades of legal experience to the Supreme Court bench.

 “I congratulate Mr Dhanji, whose ascension follows an accomplished career specialising in criminal law, appearing in various jurisdictions Australia wide,” Speakman said.

 Dhanji will begin the role on 20 September, replacing the Honourable Justice Robert Beech-Jones, who on 31 August was elevated to Chief Judge of the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court and a Judge of Appeal.


Kerri Mellifont

Senior barristers Declan Kelly QC and Kerri Mellifont QC have been appointed to the Bench of Queensland’s Supreme Court and are set to join the court’s Trial Division.

Justice Kelly commenced his extensive legal career in 1991 as a law clerk at Feez Ruthning Solicitors, was called to the Bar in 1993, commenced practice as a barrister in 1994 and was appointed as Senior Counsel in November 2007,

Justice Mellifont was admitted to the Bar in 1994 and was made Senior Counsel (now Queen’s Counsel) in 2010. She commenced at the private bar in 2001, having previously worked at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Public Defender’s Office at Legal Aid Queensland for a total of 11 years.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the Justices had each gained broad legal expertise in the decades since their respective admissions as barristers, and are highly respected among their peers.

“The breadth of the knowledge and experience they have gained from handling high-profile and complex matters in various jurisdictions make them valuable assets to the Supreme Court in helping deliver justice for Queenslanders,” Fentiman said.


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