Movers & Shakers: Two new directors at CSIRO

By Anna Macdonald

June 9, 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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Vidya Vasudevan has been promoted to assistant commissioner, head of enabling services at the Australian Public Service Commission. 

Kylie Wright has moved from the Department of Health to the Department of Defence, taking up the role of assistant secretary Defence Industry.

Two new directors at CSIRO

Michelle Edge

There have been two appointments at the CSIRO, one being Michelle Edge as director of health and biosecurity, the other being Michael Robertson as director of agriculture and food. 

CSIRO executive director of future industries Kirsten Rose welcomed both to the organisation, saying they both are world-leading researchers.

“In these leadership positions, they will play a critical role in helping turn big ideas into disruptive solutions, and inspiring and driving their teams to blaze new trails of discovery,” Rose said.

Edge joins from the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), where she was a chief executive.

Michael Robertson

Meanwhile, Robertson is being promoted from within the CSIRO, having held roles such as deputy director of agriculture and food.

Edge starts in her role on July 4, while Robertson takes up the new role on August 1. 

Former judge to lead Queensland DNA testing commission of inquiry 

Recently retired president of the Queensland Court of Appeal Walter Sofronoff has been appointed to conduct a commission of inquiry into DNA testing at Queensland’s Forensic and Scientific Services.

Queensland attorney-general Shannon Fentiman said the community is well-served by Sofronoff.

The commissioner will look into matters including whether DNA testing conducted by the agency was adequate and followed best practice.

Public and private hearings will be held as the commissioner sees fit.

First female chair for Victorian BICC

Rebecca Casson

Rebecca Casson has become the first female chair of Victoria’s Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC). 

Joining from Master Builders Victoria, where Casson was CEO, the government said she’d bring nuanced understanding of the industry to the role. 

Victorian minister for industrial relations Tim Pallas said the government was committed to diversity and gender equality in the sector.

“Rebecca Casson will perform a crucial role as chair of the Building Industry Consultative Council — her insight and leadership will be vital as the sector moves forward,” Pallas said.

“This is a critical time for Victoria’s building and construction industry as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is vital that our sector continues to work with the Victorian Government to lead our state’s recovery,” Casson said. 

Casson added she was proud to be the first woman to lead the BICC and hopes to see more women employed in the industry. 

WA Family Court bench expanded with judge appointment

Michael Berry

Senior counsel and barrister Michael Berry has been appointed to a judge of Western Australia’s Family Court, becoming the sixth judge following increased commonwealth funding.

Berry became a lawyer in 1996 and has been an accredited family law specialist for more than 20 years.

WA attorney-general John Quigley congratulated Berry on his appointment, saying Berry will be instrumental in increasing the efficiency of the court.

“His skill and many years of specialised experience will increase the Court’s ability to respond to the complex issues that frequently arise.

“Increasing the number of judges will greatly assist the hardworking staff in this very important jurisdiction in providing WA families with equitable and dignified resolutions of their disputes,” Quigley said.

Berry’s appointment was effective June 7. 

Ex-Department of Defence public servant joins climate change board

Cheryl Durrant

Cheryl Durrant, formerly at the Department of Defence, has joined the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change. 

“It is an honour to work in such a distinguished group on the ‘wickedest’ security challenge of our times — climate change,” Durrant said on LinkedIn

During her time at Defence, Durrant was responsible for the department’s global change and energy sustainability initiative from 2013 to 2016.

Second head of federal agency resigns post-election

As reported in The Mandarin, a second federal agency head has resigned following the election result. Martin Hoffman, CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) resigned, effective July 2.

Chair Denis Napthine thanked Hoffman for his time at the organisation, saying Hoffman led the NDIA with ‘passion, grace and commitment’.

“He has also overseen significant participant experience improvements, with an emphasis on digital investment that will deliver further improvements in future,” Napthine said. 

Martin Hoffman

Hoffman said he felt privileged about his three years at the agency, thanking staff for their support.

“I wish the Scheme, and its participants, families, carers and providers all the very best for the future,” Hoffman said.

Current NDIA deputy CEO Lisa Studdert will act as CEO after July 2, with a recruitment process underway. 

Four puppies graduate to Seeing Eye Dogs

Four puppies have graduated to become Seeing Eye Dogs at NSW Parliament House.

The dogs — named Queenie, Cleo, Yaffa and Nova — will go on to assist people with low vision or who are blind. 

Minister for disability services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the dogs greatly help give people greater independence. 

“Both dogs and handlers have been on a journey to learn about themselves and each other, forging a unique partnership. This truly opens up a world of opportunities for those who need it most,” Maclaren-Jones said.

The puppies were raised by volunteers and will be matched with a client of Vision Australia.

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