Julie Bishop appointed ANU Chancellor

Former foreign Minister Julie Bishop will take on the role of Chancellor at the Australian National University (ANU) as the university undergoes substantial changes.

In other appointments in and around government:

  • Mick Keelty has been named the new Murray Darling “tough cop” and;
  • Councils have welcomed a new NSW Building Commissioner

Bishop first woman to head ANU

The appointment marks the first time in the history of the university that a female has held the position.

Ms Bishop’s three-year term will start at the beginning of next year in what the university described as the next juncture of its “strategic transformation.”

Announcing her appointment to the position, Ms Bishop said she was “delighted and honoured” to be taking on the role at such a critical time in history.

“The world is facing unprecedented change – the fourth industrial revolution with technology changing everything we do, geo-strategic and geo-political shifts and changing demographics.

“ANU is playing a vital role in research and development to create a better world and equipping our students with the skills, abilities and knowledge to make a significant contribution to that world.”

The 63-year-old, who served as the member for Curtin for two decades, said she was looking forward to the move, describing the university as “world-class.”

“I’m particularly excited to be working with the university community – the staff, faculty, student, distinguished counsel including the Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt and together we will continue to build on the long and successful foundations created by so many individuals since 1946.”

The news comes just months after the leader resigned following an unsuccessful leadership tilt and just one day after she announced she is joining the board of advisory firm Afiniti.

The appointment comes after months of consultation with the academic community about their aspirations for the university, says Naomi Flutter, Pro-Chancellor at ANU.

Pointing to Ms Bishop’s experience on council of Murdoch University and as Federal Minister for Education and Science from 2006-2007, Ms Flutter said she will serve the university with distinction.

“Over the coming years, our ANU community will get to know her much better, as she leads us through the next phase of our strategic transformation. ”

Ms Bishop will replace outgoing Chancellor the Hon Gareth Evans.

Mick Keelty named new Murray Darling water theft sheriff

Former AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty has been backed as interim Inspector-General of the Murray Darling Basin.

Mr Keelty, who was appointed as the Northern Basin Commissioner last year, was last week named as the new Acting Inspector-General.

Mick Keelty

Prior to the appointment, Mr Keelty chaired the Australian Crime Commission.

The new role was last week announced by Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud, who on Sunday received unanimous backing from the states and territories.

“This is a new tough cop on the beat across the Murray-Darling, with the powers needed to ensure integrity in delivery of the Basin Plan,” Mr Littleproud said.

The role will help authorities crackdown on water misuse in the basin, with the Inspector having the power to investigate and refer incidents of suspected water theft.

The Inspector-General will have to appear before Senate estimates and report to the Ministerial Council when it meets every six months.

The move, set to cost $8 million, will also see multiple support offices established across the Basin.

NSW Building Commissioner welcomed by councils

Renowned construction industry practitioner David Chandler has been appointed as the building commissioner for NSW as part of a broader bid to drive reform in the sector.

The appointment was applauded by the state’s councils who said the move was “long awaited.”

Mr Chandler, who has more than 40 years’ experience in the sector, will be responsible for investigating and responding to misconduct in the building industry and overseeing licensing and auditing across the sector.

He will also be responsible for driving legislative reform including laws set to be introduced later this year that will require building practitioners to be registered.

The move comes as part broader efforts by the state government to shake-up building laws and drive reform to afford more protections to homeowners.

David Chandler OAM

Mr Chandler was last Thursday appointed to the role by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“David has more than 40 years’ industry experience, which will be invaluable as we move to restore confidence in the building and construction industry,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Mr Chandler said his appointment was an opportunity to drive positive reforms in the sector.

“Recent events have reduced community confidence in how buildings are designed and constructed and how they perform, but I welcome the leadership and commitment being shown by the Government to implement change that will strengthen the construction industry foundations in NSW,” Mr Chandler said

President of LGNSW Linda Scott said the appointment signalled positive change was in sight.

“Councils have long advocated for a stronger regulatory framework for the building industry and we hope today’s appointment will be fully resourced and supported by a team of staff with relevant building experience.”

The state’s councils have for  months been calling for sweeping reforms to the building sector.

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