Movers & Shakers: Services Australia promotes managers, new skills agency finds leader

By Jackson Graham

Friday October 15, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Ailsa Borwick

Band 2

Ailsa Borwick has been promoted to a managerial position at Services Australia. 

Band 1

Benjamin Morris, Damian Tobin, Julie Ballard, Jessica Gear have been promoted to managerial roles at Services Australia.

Helen Martin has been promoted at the Department of Finance to assistant secretary. 

The Department of Defence has promoted Suzanne Kerrigan to senior executive. 

Paul Schofield has been promoted at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assistant secretary. 

New authority finds experienced leader

Craig Robertson will lead the new Victorian Skills Authority as its founding chief executive officer. 

The authority has been established to steer the state’s post-secondary education and training sector in the future.

Robertson has a background in social and economic policy at both the state and federal levels and has focused on vocational education and training. He held roles as the chief executive officer for TAFE Directors Australia, as well as a deputy secretary for higher education and skills at the Department of Education and Training.

“I am really excited to contribute to the community as the founding CEO of the Victorian Skills Authority – working alongside students, trainers and industry to create better opportunities for Victorians,” Robertson said.

Craig Robertson

Lisa Line will chair an advisory board that will lay the groundwork for Victoria to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 through a clean economy jobs and skills taskforce. Line will lead the taskforce in developing a 10-year strategy.  

The advisory board includes 13 further members from a range of community organisations, unions, business and university backgrounds. 

The formation of the VSA was a key recommendation of the report handed down by former federal minister Jenny Macklin in her independent review into Victoria’s vocational education and training system

Queensland District Court gets two new judges 


Former Queensland woman lawyer of the year, justice Kerri Mellifont QC, has been appointed as the new Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) president.

Mellifont has 27 years’ experience in criminal and regulatory law, including more than five years at the Public Defender’s Office, similar time at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, and almost two decades at the private bar. 

Kerri Mellifont QC

She commences in the role next month, replacing justice Martin Daubney, who has led the tribunal for the past four years.

Deborah Holliday QC and Amanda McDonnell joined the Queensland District Court on Thursday. 

Deborah Holliday

Ms Holliday, whose new position is at the Southport District Court, was admitted as a barrister in 1994 and appointed Queens Counsel last year.

She has worked for the commonwealth, the state and in private practice, focussing on criminal, administrative and regulatory law. 

A crown prosecutor of 15 years before joining the private bar in 2015, Holiday then served as a commissioner of the crime and corruption commission in 2017, and has been a member of the Queensland Bar Association Ethics Committee. 

McDonnell worked as a lawyer for Minter Ellison for 26 years before in 2018 becoming a sessional member for the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

McDonnell has been appointed to the court in Brisbane. 

WA appoints new magistrate 

Thomas McPhee has joined the Magistrates Court of Western Australia. 

McPhee was senior assistant state prosecutor at the State Solicitor’s Office, where he led a team focused on high-risk serious offenders. 

He has also been principal federal prosecutor at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. In the Commonwealth role, he conducted commercial matters and oversaw a team of practitioners. 

He has also been a senior prosecution adviser in Papua New Guinea, where he led the serious crime dishonesty team, appeared as lead counsel in prosecutions and provided mentoring. 

Prior to this appointment as a magistrate, he was Special Counsel (Criminal Law) at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

He replaces magistrate John O’Sullivan, who will become a senior member of the State Administrative Tribunal.

Land board welcomes two new members

Western Australia’s Pastoral Lands Board, which administers the state’s 490 pastoral leases, has welcomed two new board members — Wendy Brockhurst and Tim Meecham. 

Brockhurst, of Larrawa Station near Halls Creek, has been involved in the pastoral industry since 1994. She worked with her family to turn a ‘bare block’ into a productive cattle enterprise, augmented by pastoral-based tourism. 

Meecham, of Quobba Station on the Ningaloo Coast, previously served on the Pastoral Lands Board, from 2015 to 2018. 

They replace outgoing members Ashley Dowden of Challa Station and Jack Burton of Kilto Station, who have served on the board since 2017 and 2012.

State infrastructure boss resigns 

Michel Masson

Michel Masson has resigned as Infrastructure Victoria’s chief executive officer, after taking on the inaugural role in 2016.

Masson used his time to outline ways in which Victoria could make the most of existing infrastructure and for new infrastructure to deliver maximum value. This year, he launched the independent government body’s 2021-2051 Infrastructure Strategy. 

“It has been an honour and privilege to lead Infrastructure Victoria in contributing to robust policy decisions and a better future for all Victorians,” Masson said. 

“I am immensely proud of the talented and passionate team at Infrastructure Victoria who have continuously demonstrated the value of independent, transparent, evidence-based advice.”

Masson will continue as CEO until November 4, while the government commences a process to recruit a new chief executive.

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