Movers & shakers: Resilience job for former RAAF officer, new chief people leader for DAWE

By Melissa Coade

April 22, 2022

Top (l-r) Shelley Reys, Kevin Sleight, Louise Perez. Bottom (l-r) Laura Arnott, Nicolo Padovan, Melinda Bopping.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

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Nicolo Padovan
Nicolo Padovan

Former ADF personnel Nicolo Padovan has been promoted to deputy coordinator general at the National Recovery and Resilience Agency. He was previously the deputy CEO and COO. 

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The Australian Tax Office’s Martin Mane has been promoted to digital services group general manager. 

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s (DAWE) Jasna Blackwell has been promoted to chief people officer.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has elevated NSW-based Joanne Philipson to deputy director.

Adam Myer is a new first assistant secretary at the Department of Home Affairs.

Anne Twyman has been appointed first assistant secretary at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

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Louise Perez
Louise Perez

Louise Perez is the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ new communications general manager.

Melinda Bopping has been promoted to chief people officer at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. 

Services Australia has announced three new national managers: Kerrie Brian, Jody Nicholson, and Daniel Hodgson. 

The Department of Defence has announced two new assistant secretaries: Laura Arnott (governance & delivery), and Sally Timbs (space strategic plans).

New chair for WA Prisoners Review Board

Former District Court chief judge Kevin Sleight will lead the Prisoners Review Board and chair other related review boards for Western Australia.

Judge Sleight will replace Allan Fenbury, who will step down from the role at the end of this month. He will also serve as chair of the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board (MIARB) and chair of the Supervised Release Review Board (SRRB).  

State attorney-general John Quigley said Sleight’s term would run until January 6, 2023, while a search for a longer-term appointment was underway.

“I congratulate Judge Sleight on his appointment to this critical and challenging position,” Quigley said of the board responsible for making decisions to grant, defer or refuse parole of adult offenders.

Kevin Sleight
Kevin Sleight

WA corrective services minister Bill Johnston said the chair’s position was critical given the community had high expectations around decisions made to grant or refuse parole to prisoners.

“I trust that Judge Sleight’s leadership will ensure the Prisoners Review Board’s continuing commitment to balancing the safety of the community with the management of risk posed by an offender,” Johnston said. 

Associate judge added to Victorian Supreme Court

Fiona Steffensen joins the bench of the Supreme Court of Victoria as an associate judge and senior master. A commercial litigation and complex financial and insolvency specialist who previously practised in Hong Kong, Steffensen has worked as a judicial registrar for the court since 2020, leading mediations.

Commenting on Steffensen’s appointment on April 12, Victorian attorney-general Jaclyn Symes said the new judge brought a wealth of knowledge and diversity of experience to the role.

“I congratulate Associate Judge Steffensen on her appointment,” Symes said.

“I would like to also extend my thanks to associate judge Efthim for his service and commitment. I wish him well for the next chapter in his life.”

Yorta Yorta woman takes reins as Victorian commissioner protecting Aboriginal children

Former director, senior consultant and lawyer Meena Singh has been named Victoria’s new commissioner for Aboriginal children and young people. In her new post, she is charged with working to further advance the rights and interests of Aboriginal children and young people in Victoria.  

Victorian minister for child protection Anthony Carbines thanked Singh’s predecessor Justin Mohamed for guiding reform and his efforts for the ‘Our Youth, Our Way’ inquiry.

He added Singh brought more than 20 years’ experience in the legal profession and human rights sector to the role. 

“I congratulate Ms Singh on her appointment as Victoria’s third Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People,” Carbines said.  

“Ms Singh brings with her skills, experience and passion that will carry forward our nation-leading work to ensure the rights of Aboriginal children and young people in Victoria are protected and respected.” 

CFO appointed CEO at Queensland Rail 

Kat Stapleton will lead the Queensland Rail agency as CEO, after formal endorsement by state transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey. The Queensland mandarin previously held senior positions with nbnCo and Bahrain Telecommunications prior to joining Queensland Rail in 2019.

“This appointment marks an exciting new chapter for the 156-year-old organisation, and I look forward to working with Kat to continue Queensland Rail’s important work to connect communities,” Bailey said of Stapleton, who replaces Nick Easy as CEO.

“Investment in rail is booming as our population surges and we prepare for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is why Kat’s wealth of experience, her knowledge of Queensland Rail and her customer-centric focus will be welcomed,” he added.

David Marchant, chair of the agency’s board, said Stapleton was picked following a competitive recruitment process.

“On behalf of the board, I welcome Kat to the role and look forward to working together to deliver on Queensland Rail’s strategic priorities,” Marchant said.

“I would also like to thank Kat, Scott Riedel and Rupert Holloway for acting in the CEO role these last months while this rigorous recruitment process was underway.”

Victoria’s 2022 mayoral advisory panel announced

Ten mayors representing a mix of Victoria’s urban, regional and rural communities have been selected and will meet periodically with the state’s local government minister to advise on local government matters.

In a statement, Leane said this year’s advisory panel will focus on COVID-19 recovery, gender equality, and strengthening relationships with First Nations Victorians. The group will meet for the first time this year next Wednesday 27 April.

“The panel will provide feedback and advice on a range of topics that are important to local communities right across Victoria,” Leane said. 

“The mayors on the 2022 panel will be able to share their ideas and initiatives to build a stronger local government sector.”

The panel members include lord mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp, Boroondara mayor Jane Addis, Brimbank mayor Jasmine Nguyen, Maribyrnong mayor Anthony Tran, Moonee Valley mayor Samantha Byrne, Nillumbik Shire mayor Frances Eyre, Horsham mayor Robyn Gulline, Latrobe mayor Kellie O’Callaghan, Bass Coast Shire mayor Michael Whelan, and Northern Grampians Shire mayor Tony Driscoll.

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