Movers & Shakers: Ex-sec of two federal departments now IPAA National president

By Anna Macdonald

July 8, 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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Jason Lucchese

Dara Williams has moved from the Office of National Intelligence to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to become the deputy head of the Australian Space Agency.

At Services Australia, Jason Lucchese has become general manager; he was previously at the Australian Taxation Office. 

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Xiaoyan Lu

At the Australian National Audit Office, several people have been promoted to executive director: Marie-Christine Chalmers, Bradley Medina, Mark Vial, and Xiaoyan Lu.

Anita Challen has been promoted at the Australian Taxation Office to assistant commissioner, risk & strategy.

There have been several promotions to national manager at Services Australia: Michelle Guerin in Toowoomba, Nerissa Doverty in Perth, Jason Kallus in Newcastle, and Javier Ribalta and Melissa Ann Haines in Canberra. 

Anita Challen

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has promoted Penelope Edwards to executive national manager. 

Former public servant now IPAA National president

Professor Renée Leon has been appointed to the role of IPAA National president effective 1 July 2022.

Leon was previously the secretary of the Department of Human Services (now called Services Australia) and the Department of Employment, as well as deputy secretary at the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She was previously the CEO of the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety.

Renee Leon

Outside of her career as a public servant, Leon is a fellow of IPAA, an adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and a member of Chief Executive Women Australia.

“I am honoured to have this opportunity to continue the fine work of the IPAA, and to support the vital role the public service performs for governments and communities,” Leon said in a statement. 

IPPA said it was ‘delighted’ about the appointment, welcoming Leon to the organisation.

Federal review of vaccine procurement launched

Professor Jane Halton has been appointed by the federal government to lead a review of Australia’s vaccine and treatment procurement. 

Halton was formerly the secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health, as well as the chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and co-chair of the COVAX initiative. She previously undertook the review of the government’s hotel quarantine. 

Minister for health and aged care Mark Butler said the review would be examining how the previous government’s approached the vaccine rollout.

“This review will provide a deep dive into current supplies and how we plan for the future vaccine and treatments needs,” the minister said. 

Government consulting on new High Court justice following Keane’s retirement

The federal government has commenced the consultation process to appoint a new Justice of the High Court of Australia, following the retirement of Patrick Keane, who will retire in October of this year.

Attorney-general Mark Dreyfus thanked Keane for his dedication and service to Australia’s courts.

“It is a role that he has performed with the utmost distinction and intellectual rigour,” Dreyfus said.

The attorney-general said he was looking for Keane’s replacement in the attorneys general of states and territories, and the heads of Federal Courts and State and Territory Supreme Courts.

Dreyfus emphasised he would also be consulting with the broader legal community about the appointment. 

High Court justices in Australia must retire by the age of 70, unlike in the United States where the equivalent court, the Supreme Court of the United States, hold the position for life. 

Queensland makes CCC chair permanent

Bruce Barbour has been permanently appointed as the chair of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), having acted in the role since January 2022. 

Barbour’s three-year appointment began on July 2. 

Queensland attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman called the role ‘one of the most important jobs’ in the state.

“It is Queensland’s peak anti-corruption agency, and I have the utmost confidence that Mr Barbour will lead the organisation with distinction.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring Queensland has a robust integrity system that serves the people of this State,” Fentiman said.

Amongst various roles, Barbour was the NSW ombuds for 15 years and a senior member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Law Council of Australia appoints new CEO

Former official Secretary to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Dr James Popple has become the new CEO at the Law Council of Australia. 

Popple’s resume includes roles such as the inaugural Freedom of Information commissioner, a senior member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and a member of the ACT Remuneration Tribunal.

The Law Council of Australia said it was ‘pleased’ to make the announcement, with its president, Tass Liveris, welcoming the news.

“Throughout his career, Dr Popple has demonstrated a commitment to ensuring access to justice for all and we look forward to him continuing to make a significant contribution to the Law Council’s efforts to uphold the rule of law, advance the public good and champion the Australian legal profession,” Liveris said in a statement. 

Popple is taking over from deputy CEO Margery Nicoll, who had been acting in the role during the recruitment process. 

“Margery has been an exemplary Acting CEO and I know the staff, Executive and board appreciated the stability and steady guidance that she provided over the almost six months she was in this role,” the president added.

Popple commented: “I look forward to being able to support the Law Council in its work advocating on major issues that impact all Australians, in particular for the improvement of the law and the administration of justice.”

Popple commences the role on 25 July 2022. 

Two new Gaming and Wagering Commission members in WA

Helen Creed and Sam Buckeridge have been appointed as two members of the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC).

The government said the appointments mark its commitment to strengthening the regulatory framework governing Western Australia’s casino.

WA racing and gaming minister Tony Buti said casino regulation is a priority. 

“Key to this is ensuring that we have the right people on the board that provide breadth and depth of knowledge to guide and advise the GWC and help drive this reform.

“I congratulate Ms Creed and Mr Buckeridge on their appointment and thank outgoing member Mr Dobson for his work,” Buti said. 

New members appointed to WA Aboriginal Advisory Council

Three members have been added to the Aboriginal Advisory Council of Western Australia: Preston Thomas, Fabian Tucker, and Rowena Leslie.

Thomas works for the Ngaanyatjarra Council Aboriginal Corporation, having previously spent 15 years with the WA Police Force as an Aboriginal police liaison officer.

Tucker works for Carey Mining, and previously chaired Bega Garnbirringu Health Service.

Leslie is the director and executive manager for Kai Rho Contracting, is vice-chair of the Kurrawang Aboriginal Christian Community and chair of the Goldfields Aboriginal Business Chamber.

The Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA co-chairs said it looked forward to working with its newest members.

“Council welcomes the incoming members and is encouraged by the collaborative process engaged between Council, Minister Buti and the WA Government in ensuring that Aboriginal representation on Council is representative of the regions of WA, as one of the strategic priorities of the WA Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy, and the National Closing the Gap Agreement priority reform one — local and regional decision making,” the co-chairs said in a statement. 

New chair at QTC Capital Markets Board

Former QIC chief Damien Frawley is the new chair of Queensland Treasury Corporation’s (QTC) Capital Markets Board.

Queensland treasurer and minister for trade and investment Cameron Dick called Frawley an ‘exceptional’ addition. 

“As CEO of Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), Damien looked after more than $88.8 billion in assets under management for a range of government, domestic and global institutional investors.

Damien Frawley

“Damien will now oversee the financial and operational performance of QTC’s Capital Markets Board, which plays a vital role driving the strategic direction of the corporation, the central financing authority for the Queensland Government” the minister said. 

Frawley is a former rugby union player, playing for Australia in the 1980s. 

Dick also thanked outgoing chair Gerard Bradley for his contribution.

“So many major investment decisions by the state government across the past 40 years have been either signed off or reviewed by Gerard,” the minister said. 

NSW Legal Aid CEO made permanent

Monique Hitter has been appointed the new CEO of NSW Legal Aid, having acted in the role since November 2021. 

Hitter has been at the organisation for over two decades, serving 15 years on the executive and four years as deputy CEO. 

Chair of the Legal Aid NSW Board Craig Smith welcomed Hitter’s appointment.

“Ms Hitter has earned the respect and the support of the Board. Her commitment and passion for the cause of Legal Aid will ensure our continued success in serving the community and providing access to justice,” Smith said. 

The new CEO called the appointment humbling.

“It is a great privilege to lead Legal Aid NSW, to serve and to make a significant difference to the individuals and communities who need us most across NSW,” Hitter said.

Hitter commences in the role immediately and replaces former CEO Brendan Thomas.

New solicitor-general for Queensland

Gim Del Villar has been appointed as solicitor-general in Queensland. 

Queensland attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman said Del Villar’s track record meant Queensland’s legal representation was in ‘safe hands’.

“A barrister since 2008, Mr Del Villar has specialised in five areas – constitutional law, administrative law, native title, proceeds of crime, and electoral law – all of which are central to the interests of government bodies.

“Such is his standing, Mr Del Villar has appeared with current Federal Solicitor-General Dr Stephen Donaghue QC in several matters,” the minister said.

Fentiman thanked the outgoing solicitor-general Sandy Thompson for his time in the role. 

“Mr Thompson performed his duties to the State with the professionalism and skill that befits the position, and we wish him well for the future,” Fentiman said.

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