Movers and Shakers: Changing guard for NSW secretaries, new vax commander

By Jackson Graham

January 28, 2022

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

Senior Executive Service 

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The Department of Home Affairs has named Steve Webber as a first assistant secretary. 

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Katy Borrett

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has named Roshini Jayewardene as assistant secretary scientific and technical leader. 

The Australian Taxation Office has promoted Katy Borrett to finance service delivery assistant commissioner, Ying Yang to data science assistant commissioner and Amy Horton to assist, service delivery assistant commissioner.

Megan Buick has been appointed to strategic partnerships and engagement general manager at Comcare

Public service careerest to head state Treasury department

Paul Grimes will be the next secretary of the NSW Treasury, replacing Michael Pratt who has indicated he will return to the private sector after four years in the leadership job.

Paul Grimes

Grimes in 2011 formally became the secretary of the commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, and then in 2013 became secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture.

He had previously previously served in deputy roles in the South Australian, ACT and federal public services. 

But in 2015 then-agriculture and water minister Barnaby Joyce sacked Grimes as head of the Department of Agriculture, with the official explanation at the time being “a relationship of strong mutual confidence”. 

The Mandarin later reported Joyce indicated in a video that the ousting was partly to send a message to the department which he believed was heard. 

He then served as Victorian Public Sector Commission in December 2017 until early 2020, and is currently coordinator general  of environment, energy and science in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. 

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated Grimes and said he had “every confidence he will serve the people of NSW with distinction”. 

Grimes is due to take over as the department’s 28th secretary from 29 January, 2022. 

Meanwhile, Pratt will leave the public service after becoming the state’s inaugural customer service commissioner in 2012, and being elevated to Treasury secretary in August 2017. 

He led the design, build and delivery of Service NSW, including the Service NSW App.

New secretary to lead newly formed department

Amy Brown is the new secretary of NSW’s Department of Enterprise Investment and Trade, after the government formed the department in December.

Amy Brown

Brown is chief executive of Investment NSW and will continue in that role while taking on the secretary position in the department. 

She has previously served as deputy secretary and head of the strategy and delivery group at NSW’s Department of Premier and Cabinet. 

Brown said making NSW a greater place to live was a motivation for her as her current role expands. 

“Our economic strength and liveability are deeply intertwined and can’t succeed without each other,” she said. 

Kate Foy

“We are positioning NSW nationally and globally as a safe and attractive place to do business; where innovation, trade and tourism work together to create great jobs and an even better lifestyle.”

Kate Foy has also been named a group deputy secretary of tourism, sport and arts within the department.

Foy, a public servants with 20 years of experience in NSW, has held senior roles in the premier’s department, the NSW Telco Authority and Transport for NSW. 

She led the delivery of a cultural infrastructure plan, the COVID relief package for the arts sector and the first Closing the Gap implementation plan for NSW.

Both will start in the new roles on Monday. 

New secretary for state justice department 

Michael Tidball will be the next secretary of NSW’s Department of Communities and Justice.

Michael Tidball

He is currently the chief executive officer of the Law Council of Australia. 

Formerly he was the chief of the Law Society of NSW for 14 years and started his career in the South Australian public service in child protection and worked for the Commonwealth on developing community corrections and juvenile justice programs before self-government in ACT. 

NSW attorney-general Mark Speakman praised Tidball’s background in policy, leadership and strategy formulation. 

“During his 35 year career, Michael has worked with Government leaders and ministers, agency heads, industry leaders, the judiciary, non-government organisations and the community,” Speakman said.  

“I look forward to working closely with Michael in his new role aiming to achieve safe, just, resilient and inclusive communities in NSW as we deal with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tidball replaces Michael Coutts-Trotter, who departed DCJ in October 2021 to lead the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Jim Betts, a former Planning, Industry and Environment Department secretary, had been due to become the DP&C secretary but Dominic Perrottet terminated the appointment and installed Coutts-Trotter instead. 

Tidball will take over from acting secretary Catherine D’Elia on February 1. 

State’s vaccine commander roles shifts to deputy cop

Gary Dreibergs will be WA’s vaccine commander, shifting from his current role as deputy commissioner of WA Police.

Gary Dreibergs

He replaces WA Police commissioner Chris Dawson in the vaccination role and will have oversight of the state’s vaccinations until April 30 this year. 

The role also involves engaging with the Commonwealth, states and non-government sectors to lead communication and stakeholder engagement to encourage hesitant groups to take up the vaccine. 

Dreiberg will also oversee vaccination blitzes targeting linguistically diverse populations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  

He reports directly to the premier and health minister. 

Former MP becomes magistrate in NSW court

Former NSW Nationals MP Trevor Khan will be sworn in as a magistrate in the NSW Local Court. 

Khan retired from parliament on  January 6, this year after becoming an MP in 2007. 

A statement from the NSW government says he was appointed to the position following “a merit selection process”. 

Khan had worked in private practice specialising in court advocacy in the Local, District and Family Courts for 20 years prior to becoming an MP. 

Khan brings the total number of judicial officers on the Local Court bench to a record 145, with the government planning to have 149 this year. 

China’s new ambassador to Australia takes office 

Xiao Qian, China’s new ambassador to Australia, arrived to take up the post on January 26. 

He described China-Australia relations as at a “critical juncture” and he saw his role as having a “noble mission” and being a “great responsibility”. 

“I look forward to working with the Australian government and friends in all sectors to increase engagement and communication, enhance mutual understanding and trust, eliminate misunderstanding and suspicion, promote mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation in all areas between the two sides,” Xiao said. 

He said his government believes a sound and steady China-Australia relationship contributes to prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, with China expecting both sides to adhere to “principles of mutual respect, equality, inclusiveness and mutual learning”.

He has replaced Cheng Jingye as China’s 15th ambassador to Australia. 

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