22 March 2024

The Water Cooler: comings, goings, grants and consultations

| James Day
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A compilation of three images. Penny Wong on the left, Jim Chalmers and Ted Kennedy in the middle, and Mark Dreyfus on the right.

The breakdown on 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

Australian Ambassador appointments to Germany, Micronesia and APEC announced

Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong has announced the latest round of diplomatic appointments, naming new Australian Ambassadors to Germany and the Federated States of Micronesia, and Australia’s lead representative to APEC.

Natasha Smith has been named Australia’s next Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany to succeed Ambassador Philip Green.

Jenny Grant-Curnow will replace Ambassador Jo Cowley as Australia’s next Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia.

Elizabeth Ward has been named Australia’s next Ambassador for APEC, succeeding Ambassador Helen Stylianou.

Senator Penny Wong

Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong wants to position Australia as a partner of choice in the Indo-Pacific region. Photo: Facebook.

Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy to be re-appointed for five more years

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has recommended to the Prime Minister that Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy be re-appointed for a further five years when his current term expires in September.

Mr Chalmers used his address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Sydney to make the announcement, saying he had enjoyed working with Mr Kennedy for almost two years since winning office.

Jim Chalmers & Steven Kennedy

Mr Kennedy has had a distinguished public service career as Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development. Photo: Jim Chalmers Facebook.

Federal Government advertises for CEO and principal registrar of rejigged Administrative Review Tribunal

Following its efforts to replace the former Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) with the rejigged Administrative Review Tribunal (ART), the Federal Government has started the recruitment process for a CEO and a principal registrar of the new agency.

A-G Mark Dreyfus

In December 2022 Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus described the former AAT as dysfunctional and politicised, and that it would be replaced by a new agency. Photo: Mark Dreyfus Facebook.

CEO extended and new appointments announced for Climate Change Authority

The Federal Government has extended the appointment of Brad Archer as the CEO of Climate Change Authority (CCA) for a further 12 months, and announced that two new appointments have been made.

Mr Archer has been in the role since 2019, and his reappointment helps maintain continuity for the organisation.

New to the CCA are Fiona Simson and Richard Bolt.

CCA CEO Brad Archer

CCA CEO Brad Archer has been in the role since 2019, and his reappointment helps maintain continuity for the organisation. Photo: Brad Archer LinkedIn.

Governance Council leaders for Queensland’s Public Sector renewal

The Public Sector Commission (PSC) will be leading the Queensland Government’s implementation of a five year strategy and action plan to renew its public sector.

In charge of oversight throughout will be the state’s Public Sector Governance Council. Two new community representatives will also be alongside Premier and Cabinet director general Mike Kaiser, under treasurer Michael Carey and public sector commissioner David Mackie Angela Leitch, the current deputy vice-chancellor (Indigenous Australians) at the Queensland University of Technology; and Professor A J Brown, who works as a professor of public policy and law at Griffith University, on top of chairing Transparency International Australia.

Mr Mackie said the strategy would help Queensland’s public sector evolve. Photo: Supplied.

APS Senior Executive Service

Band 1

The Australian Submarine Agency has two new director generals: Jeremy Coghlan is managing the construction division for the AUKUS submarine program; Peter Kitchen will provide legal advice on domestic nuclear regulation.

Four senior executive lawyers have been promoted by the Australian Government Solicitor: Carmen Mak, Katherine Brophy, Laura Smyth, and Larissa Chu.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made Emil Stojanovski and Alison Airey assistant secretaries, while Gemma Sandlant and Christopher Mudford are now assistant secretaries for policy and programs at the Department of Education.

Band 3

DFAT’s new deputy secretary is George Mina. Previously he served as Australia’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, and as first assistant secretary to the office of global trade negotiations.

Grants Programs

The PM with Anika Wells, Michelle Rowland and a group of children in front of a concert stage.

The $200 million Play Our Way program is for the improvement of sporting facilities and equipment specifically for women and girls. Photo: Facebook/Anthony Albanese.


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.

New South Wales

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.


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

Funding projects that help prevent, monitor, and control pests and diseases in livestock, critical to protecting the state’s $20 billion agriculture industry. Applications close 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

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

Cat Management Strategy trial program

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 close on 26 April.

South Australia

Autism Works in the Community grants

Eligible organisations and community groups can apply for grants between $2,000 and $50,000, in a program designed to support those on the spectrum throughout the state. Applications close on 28 March.

The Power of Her – Infrastructure and Participation Program (IPP)

The first $2.8 million round of the state’s program dedicated to female sporting facilities, improvements, programs and projects that improve female participation are open. Applications remain open until 3 April.

Western Australia

Electronic Identification (eID) 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.

Grants for registered Community Housing Providers

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


High Priority Grants to improve waste management and resource recovery industry

There will be a $3 million boost to waste management systems through the island state’s Landfill Levy, in an effort to support the industry’s transition. The first round of grants are for High Priority Infrastructure. Applications are open until 28 March.

Winter Event Marketing grants

A total of $100,000 has been committed to a program looking to boost Tasmania’s winter event season. Anywhere 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

Grants to support truth-telling initiatives

Up to $20,000 per applicant is open to assist with expenses associated with developing and delivering truth-telling projects, which heal relationships between Aboriginal people and the wider community. Applications close on 8 April.

Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations (GDC) 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.

Open for Consultation

Matt Keogh MP

Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Matt Keogh says the current system is difficult to understand and complex to administer. Photo: ADF.

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.

Remaking of Privacy (Credit Related Research) Rule

Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the draft rule set to be replaced on 1 October. Submissions are open until COB 11 March.

Australian Postnatal Care Guidelines

The Living Evidence for Australian Pregnancy and Postnatal Care (LEAPP) consortium is seeking NHMRC approval under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 for its Australian Postnatal Care Guidelines. Consultation for the first guideline recommendation is open until 15 March.

Laws to combat doxxing

The Attorney-General’s Department has opened consultation on measures to address the practice where hackers and online vigilantes search for and publish private information on the internet, usually with malicious intent. Submissions close on 28 March.

Standardising natural hazard definitions and reviewing standard cover for insurance contracts

The Commonwealth has released a paper on the matter in their effort to improve insurance affordability as more severe weather events contribute to higher costs. Submissions will close on 4 April.

Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) regulations

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

Otway Offshore Gas Victoria Project Proposal

Australia’s offshore energy regulator (NOPSEMA) 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.

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

Federal Parliament Public Hearings

An Indigenous family of women in the Northern Territory.

As part of the inquiry into Diabetes, a Committee held three public hearings in the Northern Territory with special focus on First Nations’ people. Photo: Menzies School of Health Research.

Friday (22 March):

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

Time: 9:30 AM – 2:45 PM; Chamber: House.

Migration Amendment (Overseas Organ Transplant Disclosure and Other Measures (Bill 2023) – Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate.

Inquiry into Diabetes – Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport

Time: 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM; Chamber: House.

Monday (25 March):

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

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate.

Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks – Joint Standing Committee on Treaties

Time: 11 AM – 11:40 AM; Chamber: Both.

Wednesday (27 March):

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Military Invalidity Payments Means Testing) Bill 2024 [Provisions] – Community Affairs Legislation Committee

Time: TBA; Chamber: Senate.

Additional Estimates Spillover – Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

Time: 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM; Chamber: Senate.

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