Gig Guide: Service NSW architect departs, new China ambassador

Brandon How

The NSW government has appointed new secretaries for Treasury and the newly-formed Department of Enterprise Investment and Trade secretary, while a new Chinese ambassador has been named for Canberra.

Senior bureaucrat Paul Grimes will become secretary of the NSW Treasury on Saturday. He replaces Michael Pratt who is returning to the private sector after nearly a decade as a public servant.

Mr Pratt had previously been New South Wales Government Customer Service Commissioner and is credited as a driving force behind the Service NSW strategy, and the strides the state has made in building digital services like the popular Service NSW App and the digital driver’s license. He became Treasury secretary in 2017 after  five years as the .

Prior to his time in the public sector Mr Pratt moved between group executive and chief executive roles at NAB, the Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of Melbourne, and has been deputy chancellor at Western Sydney University. He has indicated he will return to the private sector.

Treasury Secretary Mike Pratt is returning to the private sector

The incoming Dr Grimes has held senior Australian public service roles and was sacked from his role as federal Department of Agriculture secretary in 2015 by then-Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce. A leaked letter sent shortly before his dismissal showed Mr Grimes had lost confidence “in my capacity to resolve matters relating to integrity” with the now deputy Prime Minister.

He has since been Commissioner of the Victorian Public Sector between 2017-2020 and is being promoted from his role as coordinator general for environment, energy and science at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Dr Grimes has also received a Public Service Medal for his part in developing Australia’s response to the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Amy Brown will head the Perrottet government’s new Department of Enterprise Investment and Trade from Monday while continuing to serve as chief executive of Investment NSW. Ms Brown has worked in senior positions at the NSW Treasury and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and spent three years as a PwC partner between her public sector stints.

Xiao Qian has been appointed on Wednesday as the 15th Chinese ambassador to Australia, describing his ambassadorship as “a noble mission” and reiterating his commitment to maintaining a “steady China-Australia relationship”. ABC News reported that federal ministers and MPs have responded to Mr Xiao’s comments with “caution or scepticism” after years of worsening diplomacy. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Australia-China relations.

This week saw the announcement that Australian Investment Council chief executive Yasser El-Ansary will soon depart after holding the position since November 2013. Mr El-Ansary will remain in the role while the Council searches for new candidates. He is also a board member of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board.

The ATO has also made three new assistant commissioner appointments: Finance Service Delivery assistant commissioner Katy Borrett, Data Science assistant commissioner Ying Yang, and Service Delivery assistant commissioner Amy Horton. All three were promoted internally.

A string of Australia Day Honours were awarded to CSIRO scientists as Dr Graeme Moad received a Companion of the Order of Australia for his contribution to global chemical manufacturing. Dr Moad is most notable for developing a technology that improves polymer performance across a range of products from novel drug delivery systems to personal care products, lubricants and coatings.

Dr David Skellern, a scientist who helped develop the first WiFi chipset, has been appointed chair of CSIRO data startup Quasar Satellite Technology. He is finishing his five-year appointment as chair of the CSIRO Australian Telescope Steering Committee. Dr Skellern also chairs the RoZetta Institute (formerly the Capital Markets CRC), and remains an adjunct professor at Macquarie University and visiting professor at Imperial College London.

Julie Inman Grant will serve as Australian eSafety Commissioner until 2027 after her term was renewed. This announcement was accompanied by the enforcement start of the controversial Online Safety Act, which grants Ms Grant new internet takedown powers.

The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute has appointed two new policy directors. Greg Jericho will cover labour market and fiscal from the thinktank’s Canberra office while Dr Fiona MacDonald will cover industrial and social from the Melbourne office. Mr Jericho is an economist who teaches at the University of Canberra and has written for The Guardian since 2013. Dr MacDonald is currently vice-chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the School of Management, RMIT University.

The Consumer Policy Research Centre has appointed Erin Turner as its new chief executive, taking over from Lauren Solomon departed in December. Ms Turner was previously the director of campaigns and communications at consumer advocacy group CHOICE.

Digital ticketing and live entertainment company TEG have appointed Tane Oakes as chief technology officer (CTO) to replace Cameron Stone who has become the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator chief data and technology officer. This is TEG’s second CTO handover since November 2020.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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