Women promoted in cabinet reshuffle

In other news:

  • Former war crimes investigator takes new role as local government watchdog
  • Ex-Virgin boss to lead transport agency
  • Bendigo growth director appointed CEO at Macedon Ranges

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a cabinet reshuffle with a focus on women after a series of scandals and missteps over workplace culture resulted in two ministers going on medical leave.

The reshuffle will see a number of women promoted as the PM attempts to get his battered ministry back on track.

Marise Payne (Screenshot via ABC)

Minister for Women Marise Payne adds Minister for Women to Foreign Affairs and she’ll head a new Cabinet taskforce for women as “Prime Minister for Women”, with Amanda Stoker as Assistant Minister for Women.

“The changes I’m announcing will provide the strongest ever female representation in an Australian government Cabinet,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

Michaelia Cash will replace the demoted Christian Porter as Attorney General, who moves to science and industry, while Peter Dutton replaces Linda Reynolds in Defence, who goes to NDIS and government Services.

Stuart Robert moves to Employment, Skills, Small Business.

Karen Andrews has been promoted to Home Affairs and Jane Hume is Minister for Women’s Economic Security while Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price returns to cabinet. Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will add Minister for Women’s Safety to her responsibilities. 

Former war crime investigator to oversee local government in Victoria

The state government says local government wrongdoers have been put on notice with the appointment of Michael Stefanovic as Victoria’s new Chief Municipal Inspector.

Mr Stefanovic will be charged with investigating complaints about council operations and prosecuting anyone in breach of the new Local Government Act.

Mr Stefanovic has 35 years of experience in fraud, corruption  and misconduct including with the World Bank and the United Nations. He has served as a UN war crimes investigator in The Hague, Chief Resident Investigator in UN peacekeeping missions and a member of specialist teams engaged by the US State Department to investigate crimes against humanity in Myanmar and Darfur.  

Since November 2020, he has been the Director for Compliance Operations with COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria. Prior to this, he was the director of investigations for the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants.

“Councils do a fantastic job, but we must ensure they follow the rules and put their communities first,” local government minister Shaun Leane said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with Michael Stefanovic on strengthening governance across the sector.” 

Former Virgin boss to head Transport for NSW

Former CEO (Group Executive) of Virgin Australia Airlines Rob Sharp has been announced as the new Secretary of Transport for NSW.

Rob Sharp

Transport Andrew Constance said Mr Sharp was a proven CEO and senior executive with experience business turnarounds and transformational change.

Mr Sharp, whose appointment follows the axing of Rodd Staples last November, begins his new job on April 7.

He departed Virgin following a management structure at the airline group in 2019.

“My passion for the transport sector is well known and I am thrilled to be confirmed as the next Transport Secretary in this really exciting time delivering a multi-billion dollar infrastructure program, with a renewed focus on technology and innovation,” he said in a statement.

In other transport appointments, the NSW government has also announced that the Board of Sydney Metro has appointed senior transport bureaucrat Peter Regan as the new chief executive of Sydney Metro.

Expanded role for former Wind Farm Commissioner

National Wind Farm Commissioner Andrew Dyer has had his role expanded to cover new large-scale transmissions projects and will now be known as the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.

Andrew Dyer

Mr Dyer will now work with government, scientists, industry and the community to resolve complaints about major transmission projects, such as the Marinus Link, Project EnergyConnect, HumeLink and VNI West, as well as wind farms, solar farms and large scale battery installations.

“As these critically important transmission projects take shape, we want to ensure that any concerns community members have are heard and resolved in the appropriate way, and the Commissioner’s expanded role will facilitate this, energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Tayor said.

Mr Dyer was appointed as the nation’s first Wind Farm Commission in 2015 and in 2018 his role was expanded to solar and storage operations. The role will be re-evaluated later this year.

New CEO appointed at Macedon Ranges

City of Greater Bendigo’s director of strategy and growth Bernie O’Sullivan has been appointed as the new CEO at Macedon Ranges Shire Council following a national search.

Bernie O’Sullivan

Mr O’Sullivan notched up some significant achievements since joining Bendigo in 2016, including securing Qantas flights for the City and the region, attracting major exhibitions to Bendigo Art Gallery, securing the relocation of the Arena Theatre Company to the City and seeing Bendigo become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

Mr O’Sullivan said it was a privilege to be a leader in Greater Bendigo during a time of growth and change.

“I look forward to taking my learnings at the City and supporting not only the Macedon Ranges community but contributing to the continued growth and development of this great region,” he said in a statement.

Mr O’Sullivan winds up at Bendigo on April 23 and begins at Macedon Ranges on May 10, where he’ll work with Council to finalise the new council plan.

He replaces John Nevins who has been Acting Chief Executive Officer since 21 October 2020 following the resignation of former CEO Margot Stork.


Jeff Stewart-Harris will add another senior government  leadership role to his CV with his unanimous appointment as CEO at Isaac Regional Council.

Jeff Stewart-Harris

He has been council’s director of planning, environment and community services since 2017 and prior to that he was CEO at Mackay City Council and Pittsworth Shire Council, and deputy CEO at Maroochy Shire. He was also CEO at the Mackay Port Authority and deputy CEO at AquaGen Water and Renewable Energy. He was CEO at the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation for seven years.

Mr Stewart- Harris replaces Gary Stevenson in his new role.

Huon Valley farewells CEO

Emilio Reale

Emilio Reale has resigned after four years as CEO of Huon Valley Council to take on a new role as Director of Infrastructure and Works at Glenorchy City Council.

He was previously director of city services and infrastructure at Glenorchy.

Mr Reale said he hoped he would be remembered for achieving unity and stability at the council following the dismissal of Huon Valley’s councillors in 2016, as well as helping council suppor the community through floods, bushfires and the pandemic.


Shaun Jenkinson has been appointed to head the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which oversees Sydney’s nuclear reactor and the Australian Synchroton in Melbourne.

Chair Annabelle Bennett said Mr Jenkinson was selected for the three-year term starting this week after a worldwide search.

He joined ANSTO in 2010 and has been acting in the role since 2020.

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