Safe Work Australia finally locks in Michelle Baxter as boss


After the longest audition in known public service history, Michelle Baxter has been confirmed as boss of Safe Work Australia.

Baxter (pictured), a lawyer and 20-year veteran of the Commonwealth bureaucracy, acted as CEO for a year before accepting a 12-month short-term contract in November last year. She now has a new five-year term.

In a statement, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said she was the highest-ranked candidate in a competitive field:

“In carrying out her current duties as CEO, Ms Baxter has successfully pursued the government’s red tape reduction agenda by leading an examination to improve model work health and safety laws, making it easier for businesses and workers to comply.”

The statutory position has responsibility for work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.

Baxter has previously been a chair of Safe Work Australia’s Strategic Issues Group on Workers’ Compensation and a commissioner on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

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