14 May 2024

The Water Cooler: Comings, goings and consultations

| James Day
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Three images combined: a police officer, a woman and another man with a cake

A breakdown of the latest appointments and open consultations in the Australian Public Service and across the public services of the states and territories.

APS Senior Executive Service

Band 1

Shaun Barclay is a new branch head at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

The next chief lawyer at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is Sobet Haddad.

Chen Xu is now assistant secretary for offshore patrol vessels at the Australian Submarine Agency.

The new assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care is Kristen Price, who was previously at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Band 2

The Department of Education has appointed Selena Patrick as a first assistant secretary.

Sally Box has been promoted to division head at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Band 3

An SES 2 spy within the Australian Signals Directorate has been promoted to deputy director-general of digital and technology at the Office of National Intelligence.

The Big Moves


Elizabeth Tydd is the new Australian Information Commissioner

The current Freedom of Information Commissioner at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), Elizabeth Tydd, has been promoted to head the agency following a merit-based selection process.

The OAIC is an independent Australian Government agency established under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 as our national privacy and information regulator.

Before her current role, Ms Tydd was the Information Commissioner and CEO of the NSW Information and Privacy Commission, and executive director of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.


Elizabeth Tydd’s five-year appointment will begin on 16 August and see incumbent Commissioner Angelene Falk leave the role. Photo: LinkedIn/Elizabeth Tydd.

Reappointment of the Australian Federal Police Commissioner – Reece Kershaw

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has reappointed Reece Kershaw APM as the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for a two-year period ending in October 2026.

Commissioner Kershaw was appointed to the role in 2019 after serving a four-year term as Commissioner of Police and chief executive officer of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services. During his time in the role, Commissioner Kershaw also served as chair of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group.

Alongside him for another two years is Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney, which follows the appointments of two new Deputy Commissioners: Krissy Barrett and Scott Lee. This recent set of appointments means the AFP has two female sworn Deputy Commissioners for the first time in its history.

police and military officials meet

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw (centre) took part in the Joint Heads of Pacific Security event 2020, engaging with Pacific Island nation counterparts. Photo: Jay Cronan.

Simon Abrahams joins the Creative Workplaces Council

Federal Minister for the Arts Tony Burke has announced the appointment of Simon Abrahams as a member of the Creative Workplaces Council for a four-year term.

Chaired by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, the Creative Workplaces Council promotes fair, safe and respectful workplaces for artists, arts workers and arts organisations.

Mr Abrahams is best known as the creative director and chief executive officer of Melbourne Fringe, but was also the co-founder of Theatre Network Australia, serving as its chair from 2010-2017.

smiling man with cake

Simon Abrahams is a festival director, creative producer and arts advocate with 20 years of experience in the industry. Photo: LinkedIn/Simon Abrahams.

States and Territories

Sydney barrister appointed presidential member of ACAT

Sydney barrister Dr Juliet Lucy has been appointed as a presidential member of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said Dr Lucy would begin her seven-year appointment on 21 May.

Mr Rattenbury said Dr Lucy brought a wealth of expertise in public law, discrimination and human rights, commercial law, common law and professional discipline to the tribunal, and had been practising as a barrister in Sydney since 2012.

smiling woman

Earlier this year, Dr Juliet Lucy served as a review panel member for a taskforce on the ACT Chief Psychiatrist’s review into complex mental health care. Photo: ACT Government.

Seven new magistrates appointed to Victoria’s courts

Victoria’s Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes has congratulated Majella Foster-Jones, Michael Gurvich, Jillian Prior, Timothy Schocker, Andrew Waters, Siobhan Whittle and Louise Wildberger on their new appointments to the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts.

Messrs Gurvich, Schocker and Waters, and Ms Prior and Ms Wildberger, have been appointed to the Magistrates’ Court, with Ms Foster-Jones and Ms Whittle joining the Children’s Court.

Mr Gurvich has been a judicial registrar at the Magistrates’ Court for the past three years. Mr Schocker has been a partner and principal lawyer at Stary Norton Halphen since 2017. Mr Waters has served as a senior public defender at Victoria Legal Aid since 2021. Ms Prior has been the principal legal officer and co-founder of the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women since 2016. Ms Wildberger has served as deputy managing lawyer at Victoria Legal Aid, where she worked at the Dandenong and Moorabbin offices, for 20 years.

Ms Foster-Jones has spent three years as a judicial registrar of the Children’s Court. Ms Whittle joins the Children’s Court from the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women, where she has been the managing lawyer since 2021.

court building

Seven new appointees will start their roles at the Magistrates’ and Children’s courts this month. Photo: Victorian Judicial College.

Paul Holden appointed to lead Critical Minerals Queensland

Paul Holden will be the head of Critical Minerals Queensland (CMQ) at its new office in Townsville.

Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart said he was excited to have someone of Mr Holden’s calibre guiding the state towards its ambitions of being a global leader, supplier and manufacturer of critical minerals and renewable-energy technologies.

“Our $245 million Queensland Critical Minerals Strategy is the starting point to making this vision happen and at the forefront will be Critical Minerals Queensland, an office dedicated to bringing investors, proponents, government and community together,” Mr Stewart said.

smiling man in business attire

Paul Holden has previously been a director at Townsville Enterprise and held senior roles with the Office of the Coordinator-General and the Department of State Development. Photo: LinkedIn/Paul Holden.

South Australia confirms Greyhound Industry Reform Inspector

The South Australian Government has appointed Sal Perna AM as its Greyhound Industry Reform Inspector (GIRI), who will begin in the role within the coming months.

As GIRI, Mr Perna will oversee Greyhound Racing South Australia’s actions in response to the recommendations made by former Victorian police commissioner Graham Ashton in the Independent Inquiry into the Governance of the Greyhound Racing Industry, completed in December 2023.

Before his appointment, Mr Perna was Victoria’s inaugural Racing Integrity Commissioner in 2010 and provided independent oversight of integrity in the state’s multibillion-dollar racing industry, completing his tenure in March 2021. In this role, Mr Perna was responsible for a 2015 inquiry into live baiting in greyhound racing in Victoria.

man speaking into microphone

Sal Perna will regularly report to the SA Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, with a final report due two years after his term officially begins. Photo: Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner.

Tasmanian Minister Nic Street goes on leave due to mental health challenges

Liberal Member for Franklin Nicholas Street announced that he has gone on leave due to mental health challenges that he’s had for several years.

Mr Street said he was increasingly struggling in recent weeks, and wanted to work on his recovery with all the appropriate supports.

During his absence, Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson will be the Acting Minister for Finance, Minister Roger Jaensch will be the Acting Minister for Local Government, and Minister Nick Duigan will be the Acting Minister for Sport and Events.

two men and a female hockey player

Nicholas Street (centre) intends to return to his ministerial duties in the coming weeks. Photo: LinkedIn/Nic Street.

Open for consultation

Otway Offshore Gas Victoria Project proposal

Australia’s offshore energy regulator has opened up comment on Beach Energy’s project to be sited around 20 km south of the Victorian mainland, with an operational life of up to 30 years. Submissions remain open until 20 May.

Inquiry into civics, education, engagement and participation in Australia

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is seeking written submissions from people with direct experience of civics and citizenship education, and challenges associated with electoral participation. Submissions remain open until 24 May.

Inquiry into economic self-determination and opportunities for First Nations Australians

The Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is calling for submissions to learn about opportunities and impediments to training, employment and business development, and the economic and social infrastructure to support economic prosperity for First Nations people in the long term. Written entries are welcome until 24 May.

Response to PwC – tax regulator information-gathering powers review

Treasury is seeking stakeholder feedback on a paper examining whether the ATO information-gathering powers remain fit for purpose and assist the AFP to investigate serious criminal offences perpetrated against the tax and superannuation systems. It also looks at the limitations on the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) using formal information-gathering powers before launching a formal investigation. Submissions can be made until 31 May.

Draft National Autism Strategy

The draft National Autism Strategy, not yet agreed to by the government, is seeking feedback to improve life outcomes for Australians living with autism. Submissions close on 31 May.

Non-compete clauses and other worker restraints

Non-compete clauses in employment contracts are now squarely in Labor’s sights, with the Federal Government insisting that such business methods are thwarting competition and holding back economic growth. Responses can be made until 31 May.

National guidelines for including mental health and wellbeing in early childhood health checks

The Department of Health and Aged Care has asked the Mental Health Commission to develop national guidelines to include mental health and wellbeing in early childhood health checks (for children 0-5 years). Submissions are open until 2 June.

Updates to ASIC’s regulatory guidance for external administrators and controllers

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has released proposed updates that provide greater clarity on its expectations of external administrators and controllers when reporting and lodging statutory reports about alleged misconduct. Feedback on the consultation paper is open until 6 June.

Rapid uptake of automated decision-making and machine learning in the workplace

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has begun a new inquiry calling on workers, employers, software developers and providers, academics, employer groups and trade unions regarding the digital transformation of workplaces across Australia. Submissions are welcome until 21 June.

Response to PwC – regulation of accounting, auditing and consulting firms in Australia

Treasury is seeking feedback on a paper identifying priorities to strengthen regulatory arrangements for the accounting, auditing and consulting firms in Australia. Feedback is open until 28 June.

For information on all the state and territory government projects open for consultation, follow the links below:

Federal Parliament Public Hearings

Wednesday (15 May):

Australia’s tourism and international education sectors – Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Time: 9:15 – 10:30 am; Chamber: Joint; Location: Committee Room 2S1, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Monday (20 May):

Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Fiji on Cooperation in the Field of Defence and the Status of Visiting Forces – Joint Standing Committee on Treaties

Time: 11 am – 12 pm; Chamber: Senate; Location: 1R0, Main Committee Room, Australian Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Tuesday (21 May):

National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024 [Provisions] – Community Affairs Legislation Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Committee Room 2S1, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Select Committee on Adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT (Building 11), CB11 81-113, Broadway, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW.

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