Movers & shakers: Financial advice reviewer, ATO’s assistant commissioners

By Melissa Coade

Friday March 18, 2022

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

Senior Executive Service

Sylvia Gallagher

Band 1

The Australian Tax Office has promoted assistant commissioners Angela Allen (individuals service centre) and Sylvia Gallagher (service strategy and assurance). 

At the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (DPM&C), Gabriela Sermeno has been promoted to the position of assistant secretary.

Two judges join the NSW Supreme Court

Anna Mitchelmore SC has joined the bench of the appeal court, while Justice David Hammerschlag has been appointed Chief Judge in Equity.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman recognised the distinguished legal careers of both judicial officers and noted they had decades of experience between them.

“The NSW justice system is fortunate to have practitioners of such standing serving on the bench of our Supreme Court,” Speakman said. 

Anna Mitchelmore

Justice Hammerschlag begins his role on 17 March, replacing new Court of Appeal President Justice Julie Ward, and Mitchelmore will join the bench on 28 March.

New member for Financial Regulator Assessment Authority

Fiona Crosbie

Competition lawyer Fiona Crosbie has been appointed by the federal government to the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority (FRAA). Her tenure with the independent statutory body will run from 21 March 2022 to 14 September 2026. 

The FRAA is responsible for assessing and reporting on the capability of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

In a statement, treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Crosbie, who is the chair of top-tier law firm Allens, was recognised as an expert in competition law. Crosbie also recently chaired the Law Council of Australia’s competition and consumer committee. 

“The combined skills and experience of the FRAA chair Nicholas Moore and members Craig Drummond and Ms Crosbie will support the authority’s ongoing reviews of ASIC and APRA,” Frydenberg said.

Reviewer appointed to consider Australia’s regulatory framework for financial advice

Michelle Levy

Lawyer Michelle Levy has been named by the federal government as the reviewer for its Quality of Advice Review. 

The review is part of the response to the Financial Services Royal Commission and will consider how the national regulatory framework can deliver better outcomes for consumers. It will also cover the review of life insurance commissions progressed by ASIC.

In a statement published by superannuation and financial services minister Jane Hume, Levy was described as a financial services, life insurance and superannuation law specialist. She co‑authored the LexisNexis FoFA Handbook and is a member of the ATO’s Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group.

“Ms Levy has been recognised by Chambers Asia‑Pacific for the past 8 years as a leading lawyer in Financial Services Regulation and Superannuation and is a regular contributor to journals and publications including Financial Services Newsletter and the Superannuation Law Bulletin,” the statement said. 

Levy said she was pleased to lead the government review, which aims to provide a report to government by the end of the year. 

“I believe there are many ways we can improve the regulation of financial advice, making it easier for Australians to receive quality advice when they need it and in a form they want. I am optimistic about what we can achieve,” she said. 

Executive additions at the office of the NSW ombud

Leanne Townsend

NSW Ombud Paul Miller has named three new deputies following a competitive recruitment process. Leanne Townsend (Aboriginal programs) will start her new role in March, Helen Wodak (monitoring and review) has already started, and Jacqueline Fredman (complaints and resolution) will commence her role in April 2022.

Miller’s executive has also undergone a ‘significant refresh’ with the hiring of a new legal counsel and corporate director, following the appointment of a chief deputy ombud and chief operating officer last year. 

“Our mission is to be a leader in complaint-handling, investigations, reviews, and public and community sector monitoring and assessment,” Miller said. 

“The deputy ombud will be critical in this mission, leading the three branches with direct responsibility for this work.”

DAWE welcomes higher research student at its plant innovation centre

PhD student Tom Farrall will study methods to efficiently identify viruses in imported seeds at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s (DAWE) Post-Entry Quarantine plant innovation centre (PIC@PEQ). He is the first higher research student to work with this group in the department.

Dr Chris Parker, DAWE first assistant secretary (biosecurity plant division) said Farrall’s research would investigate ways to identify harmful viruses in key seed species imported into Australia more efficiently. He explained the goal was to develop a cost-effective method using third-generation high-throughput sequencing.

“Imported seeds have the potential to introduce serious and harmful exotic plant pathogens into Australia. To address this risk, we require some imported seeds to be tested for the presence of these harmful pathogens,” Dr Parker said.

“But our current testing methods are costly and slow, requiring dozens of individual tests to detect different plant viruses.”

The PhD research will feed into the department’s ‘future ready state’ of harnessing science to support policy, regulatory and operational decision-making; and increasing our cross-cutting science, information and research activity & capability.

“Australia has a robust biosecurity system that reduces the risks posed by exotic pests and diseases, but we’re always looking for ways to further strengthen and future-proof our screening processes,” Parker added.

Farrell’s presence at the PIC@PEQ is made possible thanks to a collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Florida.

Wheeler Centre announces new chair and directors

Julie Ligeti

The Wheeler Centre — Victoria’s home of books, writing and ideas — has a new chair in Julie Ligeti. The lawyer was named by the state’s creative industries minister, Danny Pearson, this month alongside new board directors, authors Jamila Rizvi and Jock Serong.

Existing board directors Chaman Sidhu and Rebecca Batties have also been re-appointed for a further term.

“Julie Ligeti and the new board members bring a wealth of governance expertise, ideas and talent to the Wheeler Centre, which connects audiences to a compelling world of ideas, stories and perspectives,” Pearson said in a statement.

Legeti replaces outgoing chair Susan Oliver, who held the position since 2017. Oliver said she was proud of what the Wheeler Centre had achieved over the years and the role it was able to play providing inspiration and connection through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am leaving a strong organisation and I look forward to seeing it continue to flourish under Julie Ligeti’s leadership,” Oliver said.

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