Movers & Shakers: New Australian consul-general in New Zealand

By Anna Macdonald

July 29, 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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Penelope Morton has been promoted at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assistant secretary.

At Services Australia, Rhona MacPherson has been promoted to national manager. 

Nicole Steele

Nicole Steele has been promoted to assistant commissioner at the Australian Public Service Commission.

Owen Freestone has moved from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, taking up the position of assistant secretary (chief economist), economic policy branch.

New consul-general in New Zealand

Brad Williams has been appointed

Owen Freestone

Australia’s consul-general and senior trade and investment commissioner, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Williams joins from the Australian Logistics Council, where he was chief executive officer.

“His experience across a range of sectors, including resources, energy, infrastructure, trade and agriculture, will be invaluable in his new role,” minister for trade Don Farrell said of the appointment.

The minister also thanked outgoing consul-general for Auckland and senior trade and investment commissioner Craig Knowles. 

Mandarins amongst those on Strengthening Medicare Taskforce

The government has announced the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, which will provide the government with recommendations on areas such as improved patient access to general practice and greater patient affordability. 

The taskforce is made up of the following members:

  • Dr Omar Khorshid, president, Australian Medical Association
  • Adjunct professor Karen Price, president, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Dr Sarah Chalmers, president, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Leanne Wells, chief executive officer, Consumers Health Forum of Australia
  • Dr Dawn Casey, deputy chief executive officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Karen Booth, president, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
  • Annie Butler, federal secretary, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
  • Amanda Cattermole, chief executive officer, Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Professor Stephen Duckett, honorary enterprise professor, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne
  • Associate professor Learne Durrington, chief executive officer, WA Primary Health Alliance
  • Professor Adam Elshaug, director, Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Steve Hambleton, general practitioner
  • Dr Walid Jammal, general practitioner
  • Dr Nigel Lyons, deputy secretary, NSW Health
  • Antony Nicholas, board chair, Allied Health Professions Australia
  • Adjunct professor Ruth Stewart, national rural health commissioner

Health and aged care minister Mark Butler said the pressure on the hospital system needs to be addressed, as well as an increase of 60% for out-of-pocket GP services.

Brad Williams

“Our Strengthening Medicare Taskforce is a diverse group of health experts and consumer representatives who will provide practical advice to help us start fixing our health care and make it easier for Australians to see a doctor,” Butler said. 

Acting charities commissioner appointed from ATO 

Deborah Jenkins has been appointed acting commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Jenkins’ appointment follows the resignation of Gary Johns as commissioner, whom assistant minister for competition, charities and treasury Andrew Leigh described as ‘like putting Scott Morrison in charge of ensuring safety at kids’ soccer games’, referencing Morrison’s accidental tackle of a child during a soccer match. 

The acting commissioner takes up the role on August 1. She is currently deputy commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office. 

Jenkins will act in the role until October 31 or until the position is filled permanently.

NSW government office opened in Singapore

A NSW government office has opened in Singapore, in what the government says is a commitment to opening up opportunities for NSW businesses.

The office is led by senior trade and investment commissioner to ASEAN Andrew Parker.

Debroah Jenkins

“Singapore is a hugely successful economy and holds significant potential for our state’s growing businesses. Work is already well underway to support NSW exports to expand into the region, get students and visitors back and to attract innovative companies from the region to invest in NSW,” Parker said.

Minister for enterprise, investment and trade Stuart Ayres formally opened the office on Monday.

“We have a strong and vibrant relationship with Singapore, and having a presence on the ground will play a vital role in delivering on our commitment to ensuring Asia’s biggest companies establish a presence in NSW,” the minister said. 

Export Finance Australia’s new MD and CEO

At Export Finance Australia (EFA), John Hopkins has been named managing director and CEO, stepping up from his current role at the organisation as chief risk officer.

Minister for trade Don Farrell welcomed Hopkins to the role, who has been with the organisation for just over a decade, since January 2012.

“Mr Hopkins’ 25 years in corporate and financial services and his deep experience leading EFA’s risk, legal and operational functions make him an outstanding choice. 

“I am confident EFA’s strong support of Australia’s trade and regional interests will continue under John’s leadership,” the minister said. 

John Hopkins

Farrell also thanked outgoing CEO Swati Dave for her contribution to the role.

New MD for WA’s North Regional TAFE

Helen Smart has been appointed managing director of North Regional TAFE in Western Australia.

Smart is currently at the Department of Training and Workforce Development as director, training infrastructure management, and commences her new role on August 8.

WA education and training minister Sue Ellery congratulated Smart on her appointment. 

“Ms Smart’s background across the training and education sector, coupled with her extensive regional knowledge, will be invaluable in this role.

“I thank Nerida Kickett for her service as acting managing director of North Regional TAFE,” the minister said. 

Two members reappointed to WA Aboriginal Lands Trust

Both Nerida Haynes and Jeremiah Riley have been reappointed to the Aboriginal Lands Trust of Western Australia.

Aboriginal affairs minister Tony Buti said both will bring ‘fresh ideas and continuing experience’.

‘We are working on amending parts of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 to support the Trust in addressing obstacles and limitations to divestment and open new social, cultural and economic opportunities for Aboriginal people.”

“I look forward to continuing to work with all members of the Trust on these important reforms and the critical work they do in ensuring that land in the Trust estate is managed for the benefit of Aboriginal people,” Buti said. 

Additionally, James Elliott has retired as a member of the trust and was thanked by the minister for his service. 

New deputy under treasurer in SA Department of Treasury and Finance

Sandy Pitcher is taking up the position of deputy under treasurer in South Australia’s Department of Treasury and Finance, coming from her role as secretary of the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. She had also been working within the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet as deputy secretary, social services reform. 

Pitcher took to LinkedIn on her last day to reminisce on her time in the Victorian public service. 

“It’s been a jam packed three years, where I have seen the best of how the public service supports people in our community, especially in times of vulnerability and need. Covid taught us many things; resilience, endurance, support and commitment are at the top of my list,” the public servant wrote. 

Pitcher added she is looking forward to her new role in South Australia, and thanked both the Victorian government and public service for welcoming her. 

The public servant previously spoke to The Mandarin on how the Victorian budget had been created with pandemic recovery in mind earlier this year. 

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