Fitzsimmons out, Cassel in at new Reconstruction Authority

In other appointments:

  • Interim Inspector General of Aged Care announced
  • First Women’s Safety Commissioner in NSW

DPIE secretary Michael Cassel will act as CEO of the NSW Reconstruction Authority following the axing of Resilience NSW and its head Shane Fiztsimmons.

Shane Fitzsimmons

The new statutory corporation was established as part of the state government’s response to the independent flood inquiry and criticism that Resilience NSW had been a failed experiment.

 Staff from Resilience NSW will be absorbed by the authority and other government agencies, the government says.

Premier Dominic Perrottet praised Mr Fitzsimmons for his work with Resilience NSW saying he had been “a great servant to the people of NSW”.

However, he’s stopped short of offering the former RFS chief and Black Summer hero a role with the new body.

Planning minister Anthony Roberts said the Reconstruction Authority would focus on preparing NSW communities against future disasters and building more resilient places, and Mr Cassel was the right choice for the job.

“Mr Cassel’s proven ability to achieve outcomes that meet the communities expectations and build consensus is well documented,” Mr Roberts said.

The Public Service Commission has started a recruitment process for CEO of the Authority on a permanent basis. It is anticipated the process will be complete in early 2023.

Long time aged care advocate appointed Interim Inspector General

Long time consumer aged care advocate Ian Yeats has been appointed as the interim Inspector General of Aged Care.

Ian Yates

The former COTA chief’s appointment, effective from January, is one of the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

In his new role Mr Yates will engage with stakeholders on the development of an investigations program, identify priorities for the Inspector General, raise awareness of the new office and report to parliament on the implementation of the royal commission’s recommendations.

Mr Yates has wide experience as an aged care advocate, including as CEO of the Council on the Ageing, Chair of the Council of Elders and as a member of the National Aged Care Advisory Council and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council.

Mr Yates has also represented older Australians on key federal government and sector advisory bodies, including nine years as a member of the Aged Care Financing Authority.

Aged care minister Anika Wells says the Inspector General will be tasked with driving change in aged care and providing oversight of the sector.

“The Interim Inspector-General and, when appointed, the Inspector-General, will provide independent oversight across the aged care system, and will play a critical role in enhancing transparency and building greater confidence in the operation of the aged care system.”

Mr Yates said the role presented an opportunity to address long-standing issues with the aged care system.

“I am confident we can help build community confidence in an accountable and transparent aged care system that meets the diverse needs of older Australians, their families and carers,” he said.

A permanent Inspector-General is expected to be appointed in the second half of 2023, pending the passage of legislation.

First NSW Women’s Safety Commissioner appointed

Former Human Rights Commission disability director Dr Hannah Tonkin is NSW’s first Women’s Safety Commissioner.

Hannah Tonkin

In her new role Dr Tonkin will lead the implementation of the government’s five-year plans to eliminate sexual, domestic and family violence as well as guide new coercive control laws once they come into effect.

“Under the guidance and leadership of Dr Hannah Tonkin, I am confident we can continue to make a great difference in the goal of ending violence against women,” women’s safety minister Natalie Ward said.

Dr Tonkin is currently a Barrister at Hanson Chambers in Adelaide and Garden Court Chambers in London, an Adjunct lecturer at the University of Adelaide teaching international law and holds a seat as the Senior Co-Chair of the Women and Girls Rights Subcommittee of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

She commences in the role in February 2023.

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