Movers & Shakers: First director for new WA Office of Disability

By Anna Macdonald

May 20, 2022

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Newly established WA Office of Disability names first director

Marion Hailes-MacDonald

Marion Hailes-MacDonald has been named as the inaugural director of WA’s new Office of Disability. 

Hailes-MacDonald is now leading the office responsible for driving innovation for inclusion of those with disabilities. She has experience in the disability sector. 

In the role, she will lead Western Australia’s disability strategy for the decade of 2020-2030.

WA disability services minister Don Punch noted the significance of the appointment in the steps to establishing the office.

“The Office of Disability will be a vital conduit of information and knowledge about the services people with disability require,” Punch said. 

QLD president of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judge retires

Justice Walter Sofronoff has retired as president of the Court of Appeal and as a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Sofronoff took silk in 1988, and has appeared in the Supreme Court, Family Court, Federal Court and High Court of Australia. 

In a media statement, Queensland state attorney-general Shannon Fentiman thanked Sofronoff for his contribution to the judiciary.

“A brilliant legal mind and a person of exceptional character and integrity, Justice Sofronoff has demonstrated his dedication to maintaining a strong and independent judiciary in our State,” Fentiman said. 

Judge Debra Mullins will replace Sofronoff as president of the Queensland Court of Appeals.

Justices Jean Dalton and Peter Flanagan have been elevated to join Mullins on the Court of Appeals, with justice Hugh Fraser retiring as well. 

NSW Law Reform Commission lead appointed

Tom Bathurst

Former chief justice of NSW Tom Bathurst has been appointed to lead the state’s independent law reform advisory body, effective from June 1.

Bathurst said it was a privilege to take up the position with a view to assess the law externally. 

“I look forward to the opportunity to consider the law in a new light,” Bathurst said. 

NSW attorney-general Mark Speakman welcomed the expertise Bathurst brings to the position.

“As Chief Justice, Mr Bathurst oversaw a number of reforms, including to the way the courts engaged with technology.

 “I am delighted that the Law Reform Commission and the people of NSW will now benefit from his intellect, leadership skills, and sound judgement,” Speakman said. 

WA government-owned energy retailer Synergy makes acting CEO permanent

David Fyfe

David Fyfe has been made permanent CEO at government-owned energy retailer Synergy.

Fyfe had been acting as CEO since February, following the departure of previous CEO Jason Water to Gold Corporation.

“Mr Fyfe’s extensive experience across Western Australia’s electricity sector places him in a strong position for the challenges and opportunities he will face, as we progress towards a low-carbon, renewable energy future.

“He has a proven track record of delivering customer-focused business strategies and achieving success in the two major government trading enterprises in the energy sector,” WA energy minister Bill Johnston said. 

New head of Screen NSW from NITV

Kyas Hepworth

NITV’s Kyas Hepworth has joined Screen NSW as its new head, replacing Grainne Brundson, who left in March to join Screen Australia. 

“I am incredibly excited to start my new role with Screen NSW to continue the incredible work of the many who have come before me cementing NSW as a global leader for screen creatives and production,” Hepworth said.

NSW minister for the arts Ben Franklin welcomed Hepworth’s appointment, saying the NSW screen industry leads the nation.

“Ms Hepworth’s appointment will see us further cement this position while attracting new local and international blockbusters,” Franklin said.

CEO of WA metropolitan cemeteries board named for next five years

Kathlene Oliver

Kathlene Oliver has been made CEO of Western Australia’s Metropolitan Cemeteries Board, commencing a five-year term on 7 June 2022, taking over from director Joe Fortuna, who was acting as CEO. 

Oliver joins from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, where she was assistant director-general.

“Over a long career of public service in WA and in the private sector, Ms Oliver has exhibited strong leadership skills, and I have no doubt she will deliver great outcomes for the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board over the coming five years,” WA local government minister John Carey said. 

Acting TAFE NSW MD takes on role permanently

Current acting TAFE NSW managing director Stephen Brady has been appointed to the role permanently, having been in the position since December of last year.

Minister for skills and training Alister Henskens congratulated Brady for what he had achieved in the role thus far.

“Mr Brady will deliver on our shared vision for TAFE NSW – a vibrant, nation-leading training provider which delivers high-quality vocational education that meets industry needs and produces job-ready, skilled workers,” Henskens said in a statement.

Brady himself said he was honoured to continue in the role, and stated his focus would be on helping TAFE NSW thrive. 

WA state solicitor departs to take place on district court

WA state solicitor Nicholas Egan has been appointed to the district court, having served in his previous position since 2017.

The state’s attorney general John Quigley thanked Egan for his service, particularly through the pandemic, as Egan was named on the Commonwealth COVID-19 Honour Roll.

“I have no doubt that Mr Egan will continue to dedicate himself to the service of the people of Western Australia as a valued member of the judiciary.

 “I also take this opportunity to thank retiring judge, His Honour Judge Timothy Sharp, for his service as a district court judge and for 10 years as deputy president of the State Administrative Tribunal. I wish him well in his retirement,” Quigley said. 

Recruitment for Egan’s replacement as state solicitor is underway, with Angela Komninos taking on the position of acting state solicitor in the interim.

Northern Territory Workforce Advisory Group established

Wendy Morton

The Northern Territory government has established a workforce to advise it on the skills shortage. 

The board consists of:

  • Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage managing director Tom Vincent
  • Sitzler managing director Steve Margetic
  • Jape Group International director sales and marketing Connie Jape
  • Community housing registrar for the NT Wendy Morton
  • Hilton director of human resources NT Katy Jackson
  • Charles Darwin University vice chancellor and president Scott Bowman
  • Rusca Developments director Jason Jones

The group is set to provide the government advice on the allocation of funds from the $3 million Flexible Workforce Initiative Fund, with the group meeting again in June.

QLD Government creates a new Public Trustee advisory board 

The Queensland government has established a new Public Trustee Advisory and Monitoring Board to monitor the performance of the agency’s functions. 

“We have said this before and we will say it again – protecting vulnerable Queenslanders is a priority for this Government,” Queensland attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman said.

“The new Public Trustee Advisory and Monitoring Board will enhance transparency and public accountability of the services provided by the Public Trustee.”

According to a statement, the board will consist of community members with relevant knowledge, senior public servants and at least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. 

Five dogs and handlers graduate to QLD correctional centres

The graduates

Five dogs and their respective handlers have graduated from Queensland’s general purpose and passive alert drug detection courses.

Each pair has been appointed to a correctional centre.

CS Dog Jack is going with handler Christopher to Borallon Training and Correctional Centre. To Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, CS Dog Ace and handler Nathan are going. Handler Scott and CS Dog Bruiser, and handler Nicole and CS Dog Luka have all been allocated to Wolston Correctional Centre. Maryborough Correctional Centre will receive CS Dog River and handler Shaun.

QLD minister for corrective services Mark Ryan called the graduates ‘well-prepared’ following the three-month course.

“The dog squad training course is second-to-none and covers core practical competencies in obedience, agility, searching and bite work, as well as theory such as legislation, first aid, tracking and principles of dog training,” Ryan said.

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