Gig Guide: Former Space Command head becomes Defence SA adviser

Brandon How

The former head of Defence Space Command, Air Vice-Marshall Cath Roberts, has joined the advisory board of Defence SA and the board of the Andy Thomas Space Foundation.

Originally from South Australia, Ms Roberts returns to her home state after handing the reins to current commander, Major General Greg Novak, in December 2023. Space Command moved from the air force to the Joint Capabilities Group in July 2023.

Ms Roberts, who started her career as one of the first female aerospace engineer in Australia, was the inaugural Space Command leader and had held the position since January 2022.

Her departure in December marked the end of 40 years in the Royal Australian Air Force. She was also previously head of the aerospace systems division and head of air force capability.

Ms Roberts joined Defence SA, the state’s defence industry agency, on a two-year term last month.

“Workforce is at the heart of growing industry capability. Growing and skilling the workforce, particularly in STEM, is a passion I look forward to continuing in my work with the Defence SA Advisory Board,” Ms Roberts said.

Defence SA acting chief executive Reg Carruthers said “Cath will bring real insight into the needs of the Defence Force and ensuring our defence and space industry has the capability to support those requirements”.

Former head of Defence Space Command Air Vice-Marshall Cath Roberts. Image: Defence SA

Dr Philip Williams has been named as a new commissioner at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. His appointment was announced alongside proposed changes to Australia’s mergers and acquisitions regime on Wednesday.

Dr Williams was formerly executive chair of consultancy Frontier Economics and a former Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Melbourne. He has previously advised law firms, the ACCC, and the National Competition Council on competition and regulatory issues.

Stephen Ridgeway will also be appointed as a part-time associate member of the ACCC. Mr Ridgeway joined the ACCC as a commissioner in June 2019 and moves into the associate commissioner role at the end of his five-year term.

The Space Industry Association of Australia’s new chief executive is Maria MacNamara, who will formally begin on April 22, as reported by

Ms MacNamara has spent the last two years as the director of government affairs and innovation strategy at consulting firm Kyndryl and has previously worked in the office of former Liberal government minister Arthur Sinodinos.

The Australian National University’s School of Cybernetics has appointed Professor Katherine Daniell as school director on a two-year term. Professor Daniell has been interim director since founding director Professor Genevieve Bell became vice-chancellor in January. Professor Daniell was the inaugural convenor of the Master of Applied Cybernetics program and helped set up the school.

Futurist and experienced tech board director Dr Catherine Ball has announced that she has been on the advisory council of Robotics Australia Group, an industry representative group, since January.

The nine-membered council also includes CSIRO chief scientist Professor Bronwyn Fox and Defence Space Command’s director of the space operations coordination branch Colonel Robin Smith. Professor Fox is currently leading the committee overseeing development of National Robotics Strategy.

Rosemary Sinclair, the chief executive of the administrator of Australia’s ‘.au top-level domain’ auDA, will leave the organisation by the end of the year. Ms Sinclair joined the organisation in March 2020, having formerly spent five years as the chief executive of representative body Energy Consumers Australia.

She is also an experienced board director and advisory committee member, with stints at CSIRO, UNSW, the Communications Alliance, among others.

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