Digital Health Agency head quits

In other news:

  • First woman appointed to lead Australian Signals Directorate
  • Watchdog orders monitor to oversee troubled Victorian Council
  • New director for Australian War Memorial


Head of Digital Health Agency resigns

Tim Kelsey

Australian Digital Health Agency chief executive Tim Kelsey has resigned from his role and will stand down from January 17 to take up a position as Senior Vice President of Analytics with global health information and technology not-for-profit organisation HIMSS.

HIMSS President and CEO Hal Wolf  described Mr Kelsey as an international leader in enabling healthcare technologies who had improved clinical decision making and consumer empowerment.

The DHA was established in 2016 to implement and oversee the national digital health strategy and deliver ehealth systems, including management of the controversial My Health Record system.

Mr Kelsey, who has held the position of CEO since the agency began, implemented the national expansion of  My Health Record, which provides a digital home for the personal health information more than 22 million Australians, and  supported the introduction of e-prescribing.

Bettina McMahon, who held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the agency before resigning in November, will be Interim CEO during recruitment for a new head.


First woman to lead Australian Signals Directorate

Rachel Noble will become the first woman to lead the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) when she takes up the role next February.

Rachel Noble

Ms Noble has previously worked in ASD and was most recently the head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre where she led the government’s cyber security capabilities and response to security incidents.

She has also held a string of senior public service positions in national security agencies including the Departments of Defence and Home Affairs.

She replaces Mike Burgess who departed in September, and takes over from acting director general Lieutenant General John Frewen who returns to his role as principal deputy-director General.

Ms Noble will take up her role in February 2020.


Monitor to examine City of Whittlesea

Yehudi Blacher

Yehudi Blacher, the former Secretary of the Victorian Department of Planning and former deputy secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, has been appointed to examine governance and operations at Victoria’s City of Whittlesea Council following an investigation by the local government watchdog.

Local government minister Adem Somyurek says the appointment of Mr Blacher as monitor comes after three years of “instability in senior management” at Council, including the sacking of chief executive Simon Overland by councillors on December 10.

Mr Overland is a former Victorian Chief Police Commissioner who is has been giving evidence in the Lawyer X Royal Commission.

The northern suburbs council had reportedly been under investigation by the Local Government Inspectorate over claims of bullying and workplace safety.

Mr Blacher, who was also the administrator for the City of Greater Geelong when the council was sacked in 2016, will provide the minister with an interim report by the end of March.


Space agency hunts new leader

Dr Megan Clark

The Australian Space Agency has launched an international search for a new star to take the nation’s space industry into the future.

The current head, Dr Megan Clark, ends her term next year.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says the next agency head will be tasked with working with the states and territories, building relationships with international agencies and turning Australia into a space business hub.

The new Head of the Space Agency wil also lead cooperation with NASA to develop Australian expertise in automation, robotics and remote asset management for use in space.

“Space businesses and advanced manufacturers across the country have seen the opportunities in the space market and they aren’t wasting any time. The next Head of the Australian Space Agency will be someone who can match this emerging sector’s energy and dynamism as we work together to grow a globally respected Australian industry,” Ms Andrews said.


Vic appoints first Fire Rescue Commissioner

Ken Block

Veteran firefighter Ken Block will lead Fire Rescue Victoria in fire rescue and emergency services.

Mr Block served as a firefighter since 1980, and was most recently the Chief Fire Officer of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services in Canada.

Fire Rescue Victoria will officially come into operation in July 2020. Until then, Mr Block will begin his work with the Department of Justice and Community Safety in February 2020.

Fire Rescue Victoria will bring together career firefighters from Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services under one organisation.


New director for Australian War Memorial director

Matt Anderson

Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Matthew Anderson will take over from Brendan Nelson as Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Dr Nelson finishes up at the end of this year.

Mr Anderson is a Graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon and spent eight years as an Australian Army Officer. He has also written three children’s books on Australia’s involvement in the wars.




Federal Parliamentary Budget Officer resigns

Federal Parliamentary Budget Officer Jenny Wilkinson has resigned to take up a new position.

Ms Wilkinson, who began her four-year term in July 2017, has worked across a wide range of public policy areas in Treasury, Climate Change, DPM&C and the Reserve Bank.

The search for a new Parliamentary Budget Officer will begin next year. Until a permanent appointment is made, Linda Ward and Colin Brown will act in the role.


New Chair for Port Arthur Board

Port Arthur historical site

Former Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien has been appointed to chair the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA), continuing on from Professor Sharon Sullivan, who retires after 20 years of service.

Born in Tasmania, Mr O’Brien started with Purity supermarkets and worked his way up to being CEO of retail giant Woolworths. He is also a former Chairman for both Australian Leisure and Hospitality and Hydrox Holdings in addition to being a member of the Business Council of Australia, a Director of the Global Consumer Goods Forum and Chairman of the Retail Council of Australia.

Mr O’Brien is currently a member of the Government’s AFL task force, Director of the Avner Nahmani Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and Deputy Chairman of the Stars Foundation.

He will continue to build on PAHSMA’s achievements and ensure that historic sites managed by the Authority will continue as major tourist drawcards and significant contributors to the local economy, Tasmanian parks and heritage manager Peter Gutwein said.


New chair for TasRail

Stephen Cantwell has been appointed as Chair of TasRail from 1 January 2020.

Mr Cantwell is a current TasRail Director with operational experience in freight rail, heavy industry, mining and ports.

“With the delivery of tranches Two and Three of the Freight Rail Revitalisation Program (FRRP), a new shiploader to build and new customer projects all occurring in the next four years, Stephen’s operational and commercial know-how will be a great asset to TasRail,” Infrastructure minister Michael Ferguson said.

Mr Cantwell takes over from TasRail’s second ever chair Samantha Hogg who oversaw the successful delivery of Tranche One of the FRRP.


Minister takes leave of absence

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman, has requested a leave of absence for personal reasons.

However, he will continue to perform his duties as the Member for Banks.

Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, will take on Mr Coleman’s ministerial duties until he returns.


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