9 April 2024

The Water Cooler: comings, goings, grants and consultations

| James Day
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Three images compiled together (L to R): Dr Nicholas Gales, Julie Bishop, and Margaret Beazley.

Dr Nicholas Gales, Julie Bishop, and Margaret Beazley. Photos: (l-r) RAAF/David Said, supplied, Governor of NSW.

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

The Big Moves

Canberra-raised Samantha Mostyn named next Governor-General

Prominent businesswoman and gender equity advocate Samantha Mostyn, who grew up in Canberra, will be Australia’s next Governor-General.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced her appointment on 3 April as the replacement for General David Hurley. She will be sworn in on 1 July.

Mr Albanese said Ms Mostyn, the current chair of the Federal Government’s Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, was known for her exceptional service to the Australian community and was a leader with a long history in executive and governance roles across diverse sectors.

Ms Mostyn will be the 28th Governor-General and the second woman to be appointed to the role, after Quentin Bryce.

Samantha Mostyn

Samantha Mostyn will be the second woman to hold the position of Governor-General. Photo: LinkedIn.

ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop appointed UN Special Envoy on Myanmar

Julie Bishop has been appointed by the United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as the organisation’s next Special Envoy on Myanmar.

The country has faced nationwide conflict since the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted by the military in February 2021. Ms Bishop will continue in her role as the Australian National University’s (ANU) Chancellor while also undertaking her work with the UN.

Julie Bishop

The UN said Ms Bishop brought “extensive political, legal management and senior leadership experience to the role”. Photo: Supplied.

David Johnston appointed as Chief of Defence Force

The current Vice-Chief of the Defence Force, Vice-Admiral David Johnston, will be promoted to Admiral and will replace General Angus Campbell as the new Chief of the Australian Defence Force (CDF) from July.

The announcement was made this morning, 9 April, and is subject to the Governor-General’s consideration and approval.

The move is one of many as the services’ senior leadership moves around to fill new roles.

The current Chief of Air Force Air Marshall Robert Chipman will move into the Vice Chief of Defence Force (VCDF) role, while the Air Force’s current Head of Military Strategic Commitments Air-Vice Marshal Stephen Chappell will be promoted to Air Marshal and take over as Chief of Air Force (CAF).

The Chief of Army (CA), Lieutenant General Simon Stuart, and Chief of Navy (CN) Vice-Admiral Mark Hammond will remain in their current roles for a further two years.

The current Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS), Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, will retire and be replaced by his deputy, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, who will be promoted to Vice-Admiral.

Similarly, the Chief of Joint Capabilities (CJC), Lieutenant General John Frewen, will also retire and be replaced by the current Commander of Army’s Forces Command, Major General Susan Coyle, who will be promoted to Lieutenant General.

The Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lieutenant General Gavan Reynolds, will also retire and will be replaced by a civilian appointment to be named in due course.

David Johnston

Vice-Admiral David Johnston will be the new Chief of Defence Force. Photo: ADF.

Dr Nicholas Gales appointed as Chair of the Australian Antarctic Science Council

Antarctic and sub-Antarctic scientist Dr Nicholas Gales has been appointed Chair of the Australian Antarctic Science Council, taking over from outgoing Chair Philip Marcus Clark AO.

The council provides independent advice to government on the priorities of the Australian Antarctic Science Program, which investigates the role of Antarctica in the global climate system.

Dr Gales has been part of the Australian Antarctic Program for many years, including as chief scientist of the department’s Australian Antarctic Division and then as head of the division from 2015-18. In 2021 he won the Antarctic Medal for his contribution to the program.

Dr Nick Gales standing in front of an RAAF plane at Wilkins aerodrome.

Dr Gales brings a wealth of expertise to the role in Antarctic research, leadership and diplomacy. Photo: RAAF/David Said.

Three appointments to lead the future of Science in Defence

The new Head of Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), Professor Emily Hilder, will bring 20 years of experience within industry and academia as a worldwide leader in analytical science.

She will be supported by Simon Firth as Assistant Secretary for ASCA’s Capability Transition. The former BAE Systems professional brings more than 15 years of complex international transactional experience, including managing channel partners in South America and the Asia Pacific.

Suneel Randhawa is the new Chief of the Information Sciences Division for the Defence Science and Technology Group. He is bringing decades of research expertise in cyber security, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence.

Professor Emily Hilder speaking at Quantum Australia 2024.

Professor Emily Hilder gave a presentation at Quantum Australia 2024, on ASCA’s role in further developing Defence quantum technologies. Photo: X/@DefenceScience.

John Sheldon named as the interim Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has named John Sheldon as interim Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, following the retirement of Andrew Dyer.

In the role he will help community members resolve energy concerns to realise opportunities from wind farms, large-scale solar farms, energy storage facilities, and new major transmission projects.

During his time with the department, Mr Sheldon has worked on social licence and community engagement across a range of policy areas. In his current role as Director of Social Licence Policy, Mr Sheldon has worked on energy infrastructure and transmission projects.

A permanent Commissioner is expected to be announced in June.

Professor Christine Kilpatrick appointed as Chair of Safety and Quality in Health Care Commission

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, has confirmed Professor Christine Kilpatrick as Chair of Safety and Quality in the Health Care Commission. Since 1 April, Professor Kilpatrick has led the commission that coordinates safety and quality improvements across the Australian healthcare system.

She has served as a non-executive member of the commission’s board since July 2023, but has had a long career in healthcare management as a senior executive for 20 years, including 15 years as a chief executive, most recently at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Prior to these executive appointments Professor Kilpatrick was a neurologist specialising in epilepsy, working in both public and private practice.

Professor Christine Kilpatrick

Professor Kilpatrick is also a board member of Healthdirect Australia and the Florey. Photo: University of Melbourne.

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has term extended

NSW Premier Chris Minns has extended the appointment of incumbent State Governor, Margaret Beazley, for another two years. She was first appointed to the role in 2019 as NSW’s 39th Governor, and will remain so until 2026.

Her 43-year law career has seen her in multiple distinguished positions – as a QC in 1989, the first woman to sit exclusively as a judge in the Federal Court in 1993 and the first woman in and president of the NSW Court of Appeal.

Margaret Beazley

Governor Beazley was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to the judiciary and law. Photo: Governor of NSW.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon to lead state’s Reconstruction Authority

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon APM has been appointed as CEO of the NSW Reconstruction Authority, taking over from Simon Draper PSM who is the current Secretary of NSW Premier’s Department. Deputy Commissioner Lanyon will lead the authority in proactively reducing the impact of floods, fires and other major disasters so communities can recover faster.

Prior to his appointment he led flood recovery efforts in the Northern Rivers as the Northern NSW Recovery Coordinator in 2022 and has had an extensive career in the NSW Police Force.

Janelle Saffin MP and Mal Lanyon APM speaking at a conference.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon APM was appointed as acting CEO from 8 April. Photo: Janelle Saffin MP.

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York stepping down

After almost five years leading the state’s emergency service agency, Carlene York APM is retiring from her role as Commissioner in May.

She will be handing on her duties to Deputy Commissioners Damien Johnston and Deborah Platz, after leading the agency through some of the state’s worst natural disasters including record-breaking floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Summer bushfires.

Commissioner York became the first woman to lead the agency in late 2019 and the first woman leader of any emergency service in the state. She joined after nearly 40 years in the NSW Police Force, where she served as Director of the Forensic Service Group, Commander of the Northern Region, Human Resources Commander and led the strike force that captured convicted murderer Malcolm Naden in 2012.

Carlene York in uniform while sitting at a table.

During her career, Commissioner York earned the Australian Police Medal and the Commissioner’s Commendation for Service. Photo: NSW Government.

Andrew Mills named as Chair of NSW Independent Planning Commission

The new Chair of NSW’s Independent Planning Commission is Andrew Mills, who will bring 40 years of experience in roles across senior government, accounting, the law and academia.

He will be replacing outgoing Chair Professor Mary O’Kane, who has completed her maximum term on the commission that plays an integral role in the state’s planning system.

Mr Mills was appointed as a commissioner in February 2023, and has been a member of its Risk and Compliance Committee since 2020. Currently he serves as Chair of the Financial Reporting Council, Chair of Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW and a Principal Fellow/Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne Law School.

Andrew Mills.

Mr Mills is a current member of the Board of Taxation and was previously the Second Commissioner of Taxation and a member of the Executive of the Australian Taxation Office. Photo: LinkedIn/Andrew Mills.

Sydney barrister Rashelle Seiden SC appointed into two new roles

Rashelle Seiden SC has been made a judge of the NSW District Court, as well as a deputy president and head of the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division and the Occupational Division of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of NSW (NCAT).

The Sydney barrister has almost 30 years of legal expertise, ranging from constitutional and administrative law to trusts, corporate and commercial law, insolvency and revenue, including tax crime.

She was first called to the Queensland Bar in 1996 before her admittance to the NSW Bar in 2000. In 2013 she was made Senior Counsel for NSW, practising at Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers before her most recent role at New Chambers.

Ms Seiden will be sworn in as judge of the NSW District Court on 15 April.

Rashelle Seiden

Ms Seiden has also regularly accepted pro bono matters, provided mentorship to other barristers and has served on a number of committees. Photo: Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers.

Experienced legal practitioner Tracee Micallef appointed to South Australian Magistrates Court

Member of South Australia’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal Tracee Micallef has been appointed to the state’s Magistrates Court where she will be working primarily in the Youth Court.

Prior to her appointment to the Tribunal, she spent nearly 20 years working in private practices as a barrister and solicitor. Her specialisation was in criminal law, family law, environment, guardianship and administration and care and protection matters. While in her current SACAT work, she focused on guardianship and administration.

New Assistant Commissioners for the Northern Territory Police

NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy APM has announced Janelle Tonkin, Matthew Hollamby APM, and Peter Kennon as the region’s new Assistant Commissioners.

Ms Tonkin currently serves as the Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Territory Community Safety Coordination Centre, where her strategic vision and collaborative approach has been instrumental in driving positive change within the force. She brings extensive qualifications, including a Masters in International Police Leadership and Executive Coaching and Professional Leadership Facilitator certification.

Mr Hollamby is the current Acting Assistant Commissioner of Greater Darwin, Road Policing and Support, where he has been instrumental in managing flooding events in the western Top End. He has been in the NT Police Force for 39 years, and has a Graduate Certificate in Applied Management.

Mr Kennon is the Acting Assistant Commissioner of People and Wellbeing, where his proficiency in financial control, human resource management and problem-solving has driven organisational change and enhanced service delivery. With more than 26 years of experience in the force, he has also completed courses in counter terrorism and company direction.

The new NT Police Assistant Commissioners (L to R) Janelle Tonkin, Peter Kennon, and Matt Hollamby APM.

The new NT Police Assistant Commissioners (L to R) Janelle Tonkin, Peter Kennon, and Matt Hollamby APM. Photos: NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services.

APS Senior Executive Service

Band 1

Christie McClure is now assistant secretary for legal services and general counsel for Public Law at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

The new assistant secretary for communication and media at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is Carmel Curran.

Heike Phillips has transferred from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to the Department of Home Affairs as the new assistant secretary for media and communication.

Grants Programs

Flooding on Corrimal Street in Wollongong.

Flooding in the Illawarra after the weekend’s downfall. Photo: SES Wollongong.


Play Our Way grants

The Federal Government has opened applications for its $200 million Play Our Way grant program, which hopes to provide local communities with more welcoming and equitable means for women and girls to participate in sport. Two streams (Facilities, Participation and equipment) are available until 29 April.

Western Australia

Feral cat management grants

Grants between $10,000 and $250,000 are available for projects with specific measures to reduce the impact of feral cats in priority areas so they improve conservation outcomes for native fauna. Applications remain open until 20 May.

Raising awareness of elder abuse

Grants of $3000 are available for regional initiatives to raise awareness of elder abuse and mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on 15 June. The competitive process closes on 12 April.

Electronic identification system infrastructure grants

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to help sheep and goat supply chain operators transition to the new mandatory national electronic eID system. Applications close on 17 May.

Community stewardship grants for natural resource management initiatives

Grants of up to $450,000 are available under the 2024 community stewardship grants, tasked with supporting NRM initiatives that protect and restore Western Australia’s environment. Applications close on 20 May.

Grants for registered community housing providers

Up to $50 million in grants is available under a submissions process looking to increase the supply and diversity of new and refurbished community housing across regional areas. Submissions are open until 16 September.

New South Wales

Recovery support for flood-affected communities

Disaster assistance is now available in the Blue Mountains, Camden, Hawkesbury, Kiama, Liverpool, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, Upper Lachlan, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong local government areas (LGAs) following the impact of flooding from 5 April 2024.

Support includes grants for replacing essential household items, structural repairs, freight subsidies for primary producers, concessional interest rate loans, emergency accommodation, and restoring essential damaged public assets.

For information relating to financial assistance, replacing lost documents, location of your nearest recovery centre and more, please contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit www.nsw.gov.au.

To apply for a concessional loan or primary producer grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit Rural Assistance Authority.

Further information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at Disaster Assist.

Net-zero manufacturing initiative

The State Government has released $275 million in grants to support the creation of renewable manufacturing, clean technology innovation, and low-carbon product manufacturing. Applications have been open since 26 February.

Recording and promotion grants

Some $1 million has been made available by Sound NSW to support the state’s contemporary musicians to record and release new, original creative projects. Applications close on 17 April.

Touring and travel fund

Sound NSW has unveiled $2 million in funding to address the time-sensitive nature of venue availability and performance opportunities – $25,000 per person for domestic activity and up to $7500 per person for international activity can be applied for until 20 May.


Aboriginal sport participation grant program

A range of grants are available under the latest round of this program dedicated to providing First Nations athletes with funding for uniforms, equipment, travel and participation in sport carnivals. Applications are open until 15 April.

Biosecurity funds grants program

This program funds projects that help prevent, monitor and control pests and diseases in livestock, critical to protecting the state’s $20 billion agriculture industry. Applications close on 15 April.

Port Phillip Bay fund

The latest round of grants supporting projects that protect the health of Port Phillip Bay’s environment has opened up $2.3 million in funding. Grants from $25,000 to $300,000 are available, depending on the size of the project, until 18 April.

Multicultural festivals and events program

A new round opens up $2.4 million in funding for community events promoting multiculturalism and building social cohesion. Applicants can apply for up to $50,000 until 19 April.

Cat management strategy trial program

This is a $300,000 effort where local councils can apply for grants of up to $25,000 to deliver desexing services to target areas with problem cat populations, or those who may be experiencing financial hardship. Feedback on the state’s cat management strategy closes on 26 April.

Local environmental projects

Environmental volunteer groups can now access up to $20,000 for on-ground works and community-based projects focused on preserving native vegetation and wildlife, waterways, wetlands, soils and other natural habitats and ecosystems. Applications for the program will close on 30 April.


Winter event marketing grants

A total of $100,000 has been committed to a program looking to boost Tasmania’s winter event season. Between $5000 and $10,000 is available to event organisers for increasing their marketing activities, specifically targeting interstate visitors. Applications are open until 1 May.

Northern Territory

Geophysics and drilling collaborations competitive grants program

The Territory Government will allocate up to $3 million from the $9.5 million available to co-fund projects that address geoscientific knowledge gaps, advance exploration activity, and support the discovery and development of resources. Applications for the new round are open until 29 April.

Visitor experience grants for tourism industry

The Territory’s tourism industry can access up to $100,000 for upgrading on-ground experiences for tourists that will drive growth in its economy. Submissions remain open until 7 May.

Open for consultation

Dr Leigh speaking at the Mckell Institute.

Dr Andrew Leigh speaking at the McKell Institute on non-compete clauses: “Once upon a time, only the best-paid corporate executives were required to spend a period of gardening leave between jobs.” Photo: McKell Institute.

National climate adaptation plan issues paper

The Federal Government has released its plan to strengthen national adaptation policy so the nation is better protected against significant climate risks. It’s part of a $28-million investment over two years delivering the National Climate Adaptation and Risk Program, including Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment, and the National Adaptation Plan. Submission remain open until 11 April.

Petroleum resource rent tax regulations

Treasury has published its draft for the next set of regulations to improve the certainty and integrity of the tax regimen, which was recommended in the Gas Transfer Pricing Review and announced in the 2023-24 budget. Feedback is available until 12 April.

Draft national other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) framework

The Federal Government has released its draft framework on national OECMs, which includes its target to protect and conserve 30 per cent of land by 2030. It proposes principles and information on how they will be implemented including minimum requirements to guide OECM recognition, and a site assessment tool. Feedback is open until 17 April.

ACMA’s draft plan for management of nation’s spectrum

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published its draft plan for the management of Australia’s wireless communications frequencies that carry mobile data, satellite transmissions and broadcast signals.

The draft five-year spectrum outlook 2024-29 canvasses a range of potential use cases, including increasing the spectrum available for 5G wireless broadband as well as new satellite technologies, both supporting greater network coverage and connectivity. Submissions close on 22 April.

Electricity and Energy Sector Plan discussion paper

The Federal Government is developing an Electricity and Energy Sector Plan to supports its Net Zero Plan. It’s inviting views on aspects of the energy transformation that represent the greatest material challenges and opportunities for the energy sector. Submissions will be accepted until 26 April.

Veterans’ legislation reform

The Defence Department has released exposure draft legislation that hopes to simplify the century-old veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation system. Submissions remain open until 28 April.

Future national water agreement

A new intergovernmental agreement on water has been proposed to build on the management principles established in the National Water Initiative (NWI), created in 2004. The government is seeking views on the proposed objectives and outcomes that a new agreement might include, along with what elements of the NWI should be included in the proposed agreement. Submissions close on 3 May.

Proposed offshore wind area: Indian Ocean off Bunbury, WA

The Federal Government is seeking feedback on a proposed offshore wind area in the Indian Ocean off Bunbury, Western Australia. Consultation closes on 3 May.

Otway offshore gas Victoria project proposal

Australia’s offshore energy regulator has opened up comment on Beach Energy’s project to be located 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 (JSCATSIA) 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.

Draft National Autism Strategy

The draft strategy not yet agreed to by the government, is seeking feedback to improve life outcomes for Australians living with autism. It will help guide a coordinated national approach, with feedback on issues from the community to be shared with state and territory governments. 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. The government has released an issues paper seeking feedback from workers, businesses and the broader community on the use and impact of non-compete and related restraint clauses. Responses can be made until 31 May.

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

Federal Parliament Public Hearings

Tuesday (9 April):

Equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for individuals with rare and less common cancers, including neuroendocrine cancer – Community Affairs References Committee

Time: 9 am – 12:16 pm; Chamber: Senate; Location: Banqueting Room, Adelaide Town Hall, SA.

Insurers’ responses to 2022 major floods claims – Standing Committee on Economics

Time: 9:45 am – 3:30 pm; Chamber: House; Location: Learning and Business Centre, Caboolture Hub, 4 Hasking St, Caboolture, QLD.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Accountability and Fairness) Bill 2023 [Provisions] – Economics Legislation Committee

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

Wednesday (10 April):

Insurers’ responses to 2022 major floods claims – Standing Committee on Economics

Time: 12 – 4 pm; Chamber: House; Location: Beenleigh Events Centre, Kent St, Logan, QLD.

Middle Arm Industrial Precinct – Environment and Communications References Committee

Time: 1:30 pm – 4:45 pm; Chamber: Senate; Location: Reflections Room, DoubleTree By Hilton, 116 Esplanade, Darwin, NT.

Thursday (11 April):

Insurers’ responses to 2022 major floods claims – Standing Committee on Economics

Time: 9 am – 3:40 pm; Chamber: House; Location: Invercauld House, 163 Invercauld Rd, Goonellabah, Lismore, NSW.

Middle Arm Industrial Precinct – Environment and Communications References Committee

Time: 9 am – 5:15 pm; Chamber: Senate; Location: Reflections Room, DoubleTree By Hilton, 116 Esplanade, Darwin, NT.

Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Committee Room 2S3, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Friday (12 April):

Protecting the Spirit of Sea Country Bill 2023 – Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Venue TBC, Darwin, NT.

Monday (15 April):

Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 – Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Committee Room 2S3, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Impact and mitigation of aircraft noise – Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Catalina Room, McGuires’ Colmslie Hotel Conference & Suites Centre, Cnr Wynnum and Junctions roads, Morningside, QLD.

Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices

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

Tuesday (16 April):

National Cultural Policy – Environment and Communications References Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Bank closures in regional Australia – Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate; Location: Pacific Harbour Golf & Country Club, 141 – 159 Avon Ave, Bribie Island, QLD.

NDIS participant experience in rural, regional and remote Australia – Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Time: TBA; Chamber: Joint; Location: Hilton Darwin, 32 Mitchell Street, Darwin, NT.

Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices

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

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