Movers & shakers: DFAT’s bumper promotions, Health welcomes new assistant secretaries

By Melissa Coade

September 17, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Band 2

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has promoted Christopher Cannan, Kate Duff, Adam McCarthy and Fiona Webster to the position of first assistant secretary. 

Rebekah Grindlay

Band 1

The promotions continued at DFAT for senior executive service Band 1 positions, with Rebekah Grindlay, Carli Shillito and Sally-Anne Vincent made assistant secretaries.

Jennifer Wettinger’s promotion was announced by the Attorney-General’s Department. 

The Australian Tax Office named two new assistant commissioners: Gail Hopley in product strategy and management and Allannah Traill for service delivery support and improvement.

Chamandeep Chehl

At the Department of Health, Chamandeep Chehl and Joshua Maldon have been promoted to an assistant secretary position.

Four APS personnel at Services Australia were promoted to the position of national manager  – Xinxin Cao, Juliette Edwards, Pari Gandhi and Joshua Smith – and another three were named national and general managers – Kim Laybutt, Cristie Romero-Ferre and Abhi Kashyap.

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Advisory Committee

As reported in The Mandarin this week, the federal government has selected Professor Anne Duggan to chair the MBS Review Advisory Committee and Jo Watson to serve as deputy chair. 

Duggan is a practicing gastroenterologist and the chief medical officer for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. At the commission, Professor Duggan provides expert clinical advice about ways to improve the safety and quality of national healthcare.

Professor Anne Duggan

Watson serves as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) deputy chair. She has previously held the position of chair of the Health Technology Assessment Consumer Consultative Committee and deputy chair of the Consumer Health Forum Board.

“Professor Duggan and Ms Watson have been selected for their extensive knowledge of the health system, their professional and community standing, and their understanding of broader structural whole-of-MBS issues,” a statement published on the Department’s website read.

“Throughout their careers, they have both made significant professional contributions to support important reforms to Australia’s health system. 

“Their appointments will support ongoing improvements to ensure access to high value and contemporary health services for all Australians,” the statement read.

Queensland names new government architect

Award-winning architect Leah Lang has been picked to replace Queensland government architect Malcolm Middleton, who finished his term in July. She will be the first woman to serve in the role. 

Leah Lang

Lang, a former architect for Gold Coast City who oversaw urban design policy and implementation, will start in her new post this month. She has previously led the state’s public infrastructure development for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Queensland minister for public works and procurement Mick de Brenni said that in her new position Lang would be the state’s leading design advocate. 

“Ms Lang brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role and I know she will continue to champion design excellence and influence the next generation of projects across Queensland’s cities and towns,” the minister said. 

“As Queensland heads towards the 2032 Olympic Games, her insights and learnings will prove invaluable, ensuring the legacy of the Games is one that benefits all of Queensland.”

Commenting on her new role, Lang said that good design could help solve complex urban problems surrounding issues like climate change and population growth. 

“These are challenges in which well-considered, sustainable architecture and urban design can make a tremendous difference,” she said.

The minister added that the 2031 Olympic Games gave the government architect’s role new meaning and opportunities for big thinking.

“There is abundant academic and scientific research outlining the importance of well-designed places and that good design has far-reaching benefits,” de Brenni said.

Janet Dore

Victoria appoints local council municipal monitor 

Strathbogie Shire Council will have the benefit of being guided by Janet Dore, who has been named as its municipal monitor for a six month tenure. 

Victoria’s acting minister for local government, Mary-Anne Thomas, announced Dore’s appointment in a statement and said that she brought senior executive experience for local and state government organisations, as well as on boards in government and the not-for-profit sector.

“I wish Janet Dore all the best as she works closely with Strathbogie Council and helps guide them to best serve the local community,” Thomas said. 

“I look forward to Ms Dore assisting the council to promote best practices and behaviours, for the benefit of all.”

Dore recently served as Ballarat City Council’s interim CEO. She was previously  a municipal monitor at Ararat City Council from 2017 to 2019 and is a former interim chief executive of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Authority.

Thomas said that the assistance of a municipal monitor was requested by the council’s mayor and CEO. In her new role, Dore will work with the pair to assist with good governance processes and report back to the minister on the progress made by council at the end of her term.

“I expect the council to act as role models and maintain a standard of good governance that the people of Strathbogie rightfully expect from their elected representatives,” she said. 

Manager for NSW AI data mining road safety project 

Monica Olyslagers, a global innovation manager and cities specialist with the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), has been picked to lead an AI project that aims to lower the death toll on NSW roads.

Monica Olyslagers

Transport NSW launched the data mining project, which it will lead, in September. The iRAP group, geospatial data experts Anditi and the University of Technology Sydney will partner with the department to work on the project, with support from iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre

“The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to collect the data has potential to reduce costs and increase the frequency and accuracy of data,” Olyslagers said.

“Making faster and more affordable data collection possible means that safety assessments can be done on an annual basis across the whole road network.”

Using MN-R next generation map data, the state government project aims to deliver usable data for 20,000 kilometres of road to provide ‘rapid, scalable and repeatable methods’ for road data extraction. A statement from NSW Transport said that the initiative will ultimately open up existing and emerging data sources for network-level road safety assessments throughout Australia and the world.

The project also intends to give a star rating to roads in the state using 50 different road attributes for 100 metre stretches of road based on the iRAP global standard. 

“Raising the standard of the world’s roads to a 3-star or better standard for all road users will help to focus policy and investment,” Olyslagers said.

“With crash costs typically halving with each incremental improvement in star rating the potential for 3-star or better roads to save lives is significant.”

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