23 April 2024

The Water Cooler: Comings, goings, grants and consultations

| James Day
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Three images compiled together (L to R): John Quigley, Kirsten Rose, Meagan Loader.

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


CSIRO appoints Kirsten Rose to newly created deputy chief executive role

From 20 May, Kirsten Rose will help lead the strategic direction of Australia’s national science agency, in the inaugural role of deputy chief executive.

Since 2020, Ms Rose has been CSIRO’s executive director future industries, leading a portfolio that ranges from research in agriculture and biosecurity, to national scientific infrastructure and science and innovation-based services.

Kirsten Rose

Kirsten Rose has been appointed to the newly created CSIRO position of deputy chief executive. Photo: Leo&LouisePhotography.

NFSA appoints Meagan Loader as chief curator

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) has appointed music and broadcasting executive Meagan Loader as its chief curator.

Based in its Sydney office, she will direct the NFSA’s collecting activities and advance the institution’s strategy for collection interpretation, programming and research.

From 14 May, she will replace outgoing chief curator Gayle Lake, who is retiring in June.

Meagan Loader

Meagan Loader will join the NFSA executive and report to its CEO Patrick McIntyre. Photo: NFSA.

States and Territories

Investment NSW brought back under the Premier’s domain

Premier Chris Minns has announced the state’s industry, innovation, trade and investment functions will be returned to the centre of government.

From 1 July, the Premier’s Department will absorb the powers of Investment NSW, along with the office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer.

Chris Minns in a high-vis jacket and hardhat, surrounded by similarly dressed individuals in a warehouse

Another significant alteration is the renaming of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade (DEIT) as the Department of Creative Industries, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport. Photo: LinkedIn/Chris Minns.

Department of Regional NSW to become Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

From 1 July, the Department of Regional NSW will become the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Local Land Services CEO Steve Orr will head the new department as Secretary, taking over responsibility for the NSW regions from Rebecca Fox.

Agriculture and biosecurity will be joined under one portfolio, and the same will be done for a separate portfolio conjoining fisheries and forestry. Regional coordination functions will go under the control of the Premier’s Department, while regional economic development is set to remain part of the new department.

Inaugural appointees to the restored Industrial Court of NSW

The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) has endorsed the appointments of three highly experienced barristers as judges to the Industrial Court of NSW. It was restored last year as a specialised venue for resolving industrial disputes, and dealing with work health and safety matters.

IRC president will be Ingmar Taylor SC, a nationally recognised expert in employment law and work health and safety.

David Chin SC will be the IRC’s vice-president. He is a specialist in work health and safety, industrial, employment and discrimination law, and co-authored The Modern Contract of Employment.

The IRC’s deputy president will be Jane Paingakulam, who has practised primarily in criminal law and provided advice to government agencies on public sector issues.

New board members for NSW Reflections Holidays

The NSW Government has appointed two new members and a new chair to the board of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Land Manager, Reflections Holidays.

From 1 May, the six-person Reflections Holidays board will have Julie Osborne as chair, along with Sally Barnes and Justin Hales as new members.

Dr Emily Phillips appointed as Victoria’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management

The Victorian Government has appointed Dr Emily Phillips as its new Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM).

She will succeed Tony Pearce – who was the first to be appointed to the role in 2014 – and will serve a five-year term from 3 June after taking over from interim Inspector-General Sam Redlich.

Solicitor-General of Victoria joining the Court of Appeal

Rowena Orr KC has been appointed as a judge to the Court of Appeal, with Alistair Pound SC replacing her as Solicitor-General of Victoria.

Mr Pound has practised both commercial and public law and has appeared in a range of trial and appellate proceedings in the High Court, Federal Court and Supreme Court.

Ms Orr has already begun as a judge of the Court of Appeal, while Mr Pound is set to begin as Solicitor-General on 23 April.

Rowena Orr

Rowena Orr KC has practised as a barrister for almost two decades, appearing in significant and complex cases for corporate entities, individuals and the State and Commonwealth governments. Photo: Judicial College of Victoria.

New members appointed to the Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council

Prince Long Lo and Cornelia Babbage OAM have been appointed to the Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council.

The council provides advice to Multicultural Affairs Minister Charis Mullen on how services and programs funded by the Queensland Government can be more responsive to the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

WA establishes new Investment and Trade Commissioner post in Singapore

The Western Australia Government is set to expand its presence in South-East Asia by announcing a new Investment and Trade Commissioner to be based in Singapore.

The government says that, as part of its 2024-25 state budget, it has allocated $4.4 million to establish a second Trade Commissioner role in the ASEAN region to manage investment and trade inquiries flowing from these important markets.


Over the past two years, the WA trade presence in the ASEAN region has expanded through new locations established in Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur and the Philippines. Photo: Singapore Economic Development Board.

Dr Shirley Bowen appointed as new WA Health Director-General

Western Australia’s biggest public sector agency – the Department of Health – will have Dr Shirley Bowen as its new Director-General.

WA Attorney-General’s new appointments to District Court and State Administrative Tribunal

The Attorney-General of Western Australia John Quigley has made several announcements in the past week.

Alan Sefton SC will be a judge of the state’s District Court from 6 May, replacing long-time judge Andrew Stavrianou, who has retired.

Dr Michelle Evans-Bonner has been appointed as a new full-time senior member of SAT and Robyn Hartley as a new full-time ordinary member.

Charmian Barton has been reappointed on a full-time basis and Carol Conley and Michelle East, previously full-time ordinary members, have been reappointed as part-time members.

South Australia Labor announces major Cabinet reshuffle

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has announced significant adjustments to his Cabinet following the resignation of Minister Geoff Brock, replacing the independent voice with former Liberal politician Dan Cregan.

A significant change is the establishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will be led by David Reynolds, the current chief executive of the Department for Trade and Investment and former under-treasurer.

Supporting his efforts will be Minister Nick Champion, who is taking the lead of a new expanded ”super” portfolio. It will cover all aspects of housing, including infrastructure, urban development and planning, and will have the oversight of SA Water.

Deputy Premier Susan Close will step into the new role of Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy.

The government’s population and workforce planning functions have been consolidated into the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

The new Cabinet standing in front of Government House in Adelaide

SA Premier Malinauskas said the state was at a critical juncture and he was proud to deliver a new ministry that would commit to bringing out the best of his government. Photo: Facebook/South Australian Labor.

Professor Ian O’Connor appointed as Higher Education Independent Adviser to oversee university merger

The South Australian Government has appointed Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AC as its Higher Education Independent Advisor, responsible for providing expert advice on matters relating to the establishment of the new Adelaide University.

The Independent Advisor’s role includes engaging with key stakeholders on the establishment of Adelaide University, which is expected to launch in 2026.

Professor Craig Simmons appointed as Chief Scientist for South Australia

Professor Craig Simmons FAA FTSE will be the Chief Scientist of South Australia for a three-year term. The part-time position helps lead discussions about the application of science in decision making, advising on the further development of the research ecosystem in SA and coordinating specific scientific advice to government as requested.

Professor Simmons will retain his current position as pro vice-chancellor, College of Engineering, Science and Environment, at the University of Newcastle.

Defence SA’s new chief executive is Matt Opie

The South Australian Government’s key defence agency has appointed Matt Opie as its chief executive, while the state begins the new shipbuilding programs at Osborne shipyard.

Mr Opie is a highly qualified industry executive with significant experience in the defence, space and technology sectors. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College Duntroon, and has served in the Australian Army in Australia and the Middle East.

Tasmania appoints Kathrine Morgan-Wicks as Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet

The Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has appointed Kathrine Morgan-Wicks PSM as the new Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPAC).

Ms Morgan-Wicks has served as Secretary for the Department of Health since 2019, and previously held senior positions in the Department of Justice, and Department of Treasury and Finance.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks apologised to victims as the head of Tasmania’s Health Department when she appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Response to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings. Photo: OneHealth.

Justice Robert James Bromwich appointed as next Chief Justice of the Norfolk Island Supreme Court

The Commonwealth has appointed Justice Robert James Bromwich as the next Chief Justice of the Norfolk Island Supreme Court, replacing the outgoing Anthony Besanko.

Justice Bromwich has served on the Federal Court of Australia since 2016 and the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island since 2021. He will begin in the role on 7 May.

APS Senior Executive Service

Band 2

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has a new assistant secretary, Brant Smith.

Band 3

Cristina Hutchison is now a deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Grants Programs

Flooded road with a sign reading ''ROAD CLOSED''

The WA Government has opened disaster assistance following last month’s flash flooding across the state’s Goldfields, Southern Interior and Eucla areas. Photo: WA DFES.


Play Our Way grants

The Federal Government has opened applications for its $200 million Play Our Way grant program, which hopes to provide 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.

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, Wollongong, Blacktown, Byron Bay, Central Coast, Clarence Valley, Dungog, Gwydir, Hornsby, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Oberon, The Hills and Yass Valley local government areas following the impact of flooding from 1 April, 2024.

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

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

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.

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.


Cat management strategy trial program

This is a $300,000 effort whereby 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 close on 30 April.

Live Music Festival and Gig Funds

Grants of up to $50,000 have been made available through a new Live Music Festivals Fund for organisers looking to stage new or existing events in the state. The government has also unveiled a Gig Fund, whereby live music venues can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to put towards artists’ fees for playing there. Applications for each opened on 22 April and close on 17 May.


Bike Riding Encouragement Program

The second round of a grants program encouraging fresh ideas on ways to get more people to ride bikes for transport, recreation and wellbeing has opened. Grants of up to $25,000 are available for community groups, not-for-profits and for-profit organisations, along with local governments collaborating with said entities, until 24 May.

Household Resilience Program

Eligible homeowners can apply for a grant of up to $15,000 to put towards building upgrades improving the resilience of their homes against cyclones. Submissions close on 30 September.

Western Australia

Recovery support for East Kimberley communities impacted by ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln

Disaster assistance is now available for the Halls Creek local government area following the impact of ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln and flooding that occurred from 19 to 25 February.

Support includes grants for personal hardship, financial counselling, counter-disaster operations, essential public assets, and interest rate subsidies to small businesses and primary producers (including freight subsidies for the latter).

For information on eligibility and applications, visit the WA Department of Fire & Emergency Services.

Disaster assistance for flood-impacted Goldfields, Southern Interior and Eucla communities

Disaster recovery assistance is now available to communities in Western Australia’s Goldfields, Southern Interior and Eucla areas affected by heavy rainfall and flash flooding from 7 to 14 March.

Support includes grants for emergency recovery and repair works to bring essential public assets such as bridges and roads back to usable condition.

For information on eligibility and applications, visit the Federal Government’s Disaster Assist website.

School funding for Aboriginal reconciliation

A total of $799,000 in grants has been opened up to school and kindergarten projects that advance and promote Aboriginal reconciliation in the community. The Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing (PALS) program offers grants of up to $3000 over two years for initiatives that encourage education on Indigenous histories, languages and cultures. Its current round of funding closes on 8 May.

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.

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.

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 natural resource management initiatives that protect and restore Western Australia’s environment. Applications close on 20 May.

Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s community litter grants

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for initiatives and projects that incorporate education, improvements to infrastructure and littering enforcement. Applications for this latest round are open until 20 May.

Lower Carbon Grants (LCG) for projects supporting decarbonisation

Grants from $5 million to $15 million have been made available to projects focused on decarbonisation through the LCG-Gorgon Fund. Innovators can apply until 11 June.

Water Security for Southern Forests Horticulture Industry

Growers can apply for grants of up to $100,000 from the new Southern Forests Infrastructure Support Scheme for a range of water-efficient irrigation systems and devices to adapt to a drying climate. Applications close on 11 June.

Student Assistance Payments

Families with school-age children can apply for hundreds of dollars in financial support to help with the extra costs associated with their children’s education. Each secondary student can receive $250, while primary and kindergarten students may be given $150 each. Claims can be made through the ServiceWA app until 28 June.

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.

South Australia

Space Collaboration and Innovation Fund

Two grants of up to $100,000 each will be available to South Australian-based start-ups or SMEs in collaboration with at least one international partner organisation committed to developing NewSpace technology. Applications close on 17 May.


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.

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisations can now apply for grants of up to $100,000 a year in Darwin, $30,000 a year for Alice Springs, and $20,000 a year for Katherine. Applications are to be submitted before 30 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

Townsville renewable hydrogen hub

Concept art of the initial stage of the Townsville Renewable Hydrogen Hub, which is part of the Federal Government’s Net Zero Plan. Image: Facebook/Anthony Albanese.

Electricity and Energy Sector Plan discussion paper

The Federal Government is developing an Electricity and Energy Sector Plan to support its Net Zero Plan. 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. 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 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 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.

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.

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

Federal Parliament Public Hearings

Wednesday (24 April):

Australian Antarctic Division Funding – Environment and Communications References Committee

Time: 10 am – 12:30 pm; Chamber: Senate; Location: Hotel Grand Chancellor, Grand Ballroom 3, 1 Davey Street, Hobart, TAS.

Inquiry into the failed visa privatisation process and the implementation of other public sector IT procurements and projects – Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

Time: 10:30 am – 3:30 pm; Chamber: Joint; Location: Committee Room 251, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Inquiry into Commonwealth Financial Statements 2022-23 – Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

Time: 3:30 – 5 pm; Chamber: Joint; Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Inquiry into the 2022-23 Major Projects Report – Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

Time: 8:45 – 10: 15 am; Chamber: Joint; Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Tuesday (30 April):

Oversight of ASIC, the Takeovers Panel and the Corporations Legislation – Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services

Time: TBA; Chamber: Joint; Location: Sydney, NSW.

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