Gig Guide: Industry mandarin appointed climate ambassador

Brandon How

Experienced Industry department official Kristin Tilley has been appointed Australia’s first Ambassador for Climate Change since 2014, replacing the former Ambassador for the Environment.

Ms Tilley was previously the first assistant secretary at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, heading the supply chain resilience division. Overall, she has 10 years of experience with international and domestic climate change policy and programs.

She is a part of the Department of Foreign Affairs delegation attending COP27 climate summit on behalf of Australia this month.

Foreign Affairs minister Penny Wong said that Ms Tilley will be responsible for leading “Australia’s international climate engagement, working with partners to deliver opportunities for green economy jobs”.

It was also announced on the weekend that the Australian government will partner with neighbouring nations in the Pacific to co-host COP31.

Editorial credit: rafapress /

The federal government’s special advisor on low emissions technology and former chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel has been appointed chair of hydrogen technology firm Hysata’s global advisory council.

Dr Finkel is a champion of the nation’s hydrogen sector and led the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy and the independent review into the future of the National Electricity Market. In his new role, he will help bring Hysata’s technology to market and oversee the selection of other council members.

In March, Hysata claimed it had published research related to its hydrogen electrolyser technology that could bring hydrogen production costs to “well-below” $2 per kilogram, something which Dr Finkel is excited to support.

The three lead authors of the previously announced review of Australia’s migration system have been appointed. These are senior public servant Dr Martin Parkinson, temporary labour migration regulation expert Dr Joanna Howe, and former Deloitte senior partner John Azarias. The authors are expected to report back in early 2023.

Across Dr Parkinson’s extensive career, he has served as chancellor of Macquarie University and secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, inaugural secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Treasury secretary, and as an International Monetary Fund official.

Western Australia’s first hydrogen minister and Labor veteran Alannah MacTiernan has announced she will retire before Christmas. She has served in roles across the state and federal government over 26 years. She is currently the Western Australian Minister for Regional Development, for Agriculture and Food, and for Hydrogen Industry.

Ms MacTiernan quit federal politics in 2016, but was asked by then-state opposition leader Mark McGowan to return to run for the state’s Legislative Council. Prior to her retirement announcement, Ms MacTiernan said she would not run for re-election at the next state election.

Former federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt under the Morrison government has been appointed as Chair of the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health’s Advisory Council at Monash University. Mr Hunt retired from federal politics at the 2022 election after serving in the Coalition cabinet since 2013.

Two new executive directors have been appointed to the Australian Research Council, Professor Anika Gauja and Professor Christina Twomey. Professor Gauja will oversee Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences while Professor Twomey will oversee Humanities and Creative Arts.

Professor Gauja is associate dean (research) of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sydney University while history Professor Twomey was the former head of the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University.

Adjunct Professor Debora Picone was appointed as chair of the Health Technology Assessment Review Reference Committee at Medicines Australia. Adjunct Professor Picone recently retired as the chief executive of the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care, a role she held since 2012.

The government nominee to the committee is first assistant secretary of the Technology Assessment and Access Division in the Department of Health and Aged Care, Adriana Platona. There were also five other appointments: Ann Single, Dr Dawn Casey, Professor Andrew Wilson, John Young, and Professor Andrew Roberts.

Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group honoured its scientists at its annual Achievement Awards this week, handing out nine awards. Among the recipients were the team behind project Mirage, a “world-leading capability that brings together technical artistry and innovative science to create a visible signature evaluation tool, delivering probability of detection estimates for maritime targets”, according to Defence.

Eight awards through The Technical Cooperation Program were also handed out as a part of what Defence describes as Australia’s most significant multilateral program of international science and technology collaboration.

The Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering held its annual Awards on October 27. The winner of the Clunies Ross Innovation Award was Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla for her invention of a patented Polymer Injection Technology known as Green Steel.

The winners of the Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award were Professor Jason Monty and Dr Forbes McGain for developing the Medihood, which helped limit the spread of Covid-19 by hospitalised patients.

Space launch company Equatorial Launch has appointed Pax Barkla as the new general manager for the Arnhem Space Centre and Engineering site. Mr Barkla has 20 years of experience in executive, operational management, and project delivery roles in the energy and resources sector. His most recent role was as chief operating officer of natural gas producer Strike Energy.

Scale Facilitation, the parent company of Recharge Industries — a key player in Deakin University’s Recycling and Renewables Energy Commercialisation Hub — has appointed Thomas Dwyer as its new head of government affairs in Australia. Mr Dwyer has spent 13 years in the resources industry, with the last seven at Orica.

Scale Facilitation also has a new managing director of major projects in Jo Smail. Ms Smail moves after almost five years as senior trade and investment commissioner (Washington) and minister counsellor (commercial) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.

Australian National University Distinguished Professor Susan Scott is the first Australian to win a prestigious Blaise Pascal Medal from the European Academy of Sciences. The theoretical physicist is particularly well-regarded for her leading role in Australia’s participation of the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015.

The Attorney-General’s Office’s new chief information officer is Michael Harrison. Mr Harrison was already acting in the role.

LaTrobe University’s new chief information officer is Shainal Kavar. He moves from the head of IT strategy, architecture, and business engagement role at Downer.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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