CHRIS SARRA has been appointed Director-General of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) in Queensland.

Dr Sarra has stated plans to “reset” the government’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland, seeking to change the policy approach to one which will empower First Peoples “to thrive, rather than survive”. 

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has applauded Dr Sarra’s policy approach which focusses on “investing in authentic localised leadership, rather than subcontracting out”.

“National Congress recognises Dr Sarra’s considerable work in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” a National Congress spokesperson said. “Dr Sarra’s career began as the first Aboriginal principal of Cherboug State School, where he dramatically lifted school attendance, literary and numeracy results. He was a founding director of Strong Smart Solutions, which has improved results in hundreds of Aboriginal schools.”

Dr Sarra is currently a professor of education at the University of Canberra. He has served on several boards including as chair of the Stronger Smarter Institute, co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, commissioner of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Cowboys NRL House and Queensland Performing Arts Centre Trust.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised Dr Sarra’s “work in pursuing more positive and productive outcomes for Indigenous communities” for which he has been recognised both nationally and internationally.


THE NEW chief executive of carbon capture and storage research organisation, CO2CRC, is David Byers, who steps into the role from July 23.

“David has extensive experience in the resources sector, having most recently worked as Interim CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the peak national body for the Australian minerals industry,” CO2CRC chairman. Former Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson said.

Mr Byers replaces Tania Constable, who has been appointed chief executive of the MCA. 

“The CO2CRC Board thanks Tania for her leadership of the CO2CRC and looks forward to David continuing the model of strong stakeholder engagement established by Tania during her four years as CO2CRC chief executive,” Mr Ferguson said.

“CO2CRC is pleased to have attracted someone of David’s experience and calibre to the role of chief executive. CO2CRC is Australia’s leading carbon capture and storage (CCS) research organisation, supporting industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is an active participant and leader of CCS projects globally and in Australia, demonstrating CCS in-field at its $100 million Otway Research Facility.

“We have a big task ahead of us to limit global temperatures to below 2 degrees and CCS is critical to a number of industries including gas, coal, cement and steel to help meet this goal” Mr Ferguson said.

Immediately prior to joining the MCA, Mr Byers was vice president for government relations and public policy for BHP, with responsibility for coordinating the company’s global government affairs and public policy interests.

This followed four years as CEO of the Australian Petroleum Producers and Explorers Association (APPEA), the peak national body representing Australia’s oil and gas exploration and production industry. During this period, the Australian oil and gas industry experienced its largest ever expansion with seven major LNG projects under construction and development of new onshore and offshore gas resources.

Mr Byers’ role at APPEA followed his earlier appointment from 2007-2010, as chief executive of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

David Byers has spent almost all his career in the resources sector with over 17 years at ExxonMobil Corporation in a variety of senior roles in Melbourne, Singapore and the US and four years with Woodside, based in Karratha, Western Australia.


LONG-ESTABLISHED northern NSW charity, The Buttery, has announced the appointment of one of the founding partners of private equity firm Next Capital, Sandy Lockhart, as its chairman.

Mr Lockhart replaces the long-serving former chair, Professor Robert Weatherby. 

The Buttery Board has also appointed Byron Bay based lawyer and yoga teacher, Kara Goodsell to the position of company secretary. 

The Buttery conducts residential and community-based programs in northern NSW for teenagers and adults who may be affected by substance misuse, gambling addictions or mental health issues.

Mr Lockhart has been associated with The Buttery for many years and said he looked forward to continuing that engagement for the foreseeable future.


SANDRA PARKER has been appointed as the Fair Work Ombudsman for a five-year term, starting July 15.

For the past eight years Ms Parker has served as a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Jobs and Small Business and its predecessors. Prior to this she was the head of the Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council and held senior executive roles in the vocational education and training field at federal and state government levels. 

“I congratulate Ms Parker on her appointment. Her distinguished public service career, and extensive experience in complex environments including policy, regulation and service delivery roles, make her an exceptional candidate for the position,” Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy said.

“Highly regarded in her field, Ms Parker was awarded a Public Service Medal for her outstanding contribution to workplace relations policy and program delivery on Australia Day 2018.”

“Ms Parker’s outstanding qualities, management skills and wide-ranging experience in stakeholder engagement are well-suited to the Office’s important role of promoting harmonious, productive and co-operative Australian workplaces,” Mr Laundy said. The Minister also acknowledged the significant service of outgoing Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James.

“I would like to thank Ms James for her exceptional work during her five year term,” Mr Laundy said. “Ms James has taken a very proactive approach to ensuring workers are protected and get what they are owed.

“She has made a significant contribution to the workplace relations landscape in Australia through educating employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities. She has been very effective in the role and I again thank her for her dedication.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is an independent statutory office holder. The key functions of the office are to provide information and advice, investigating workplace complaints and enforcing Commonwealth workplace laws.


BERNIE DEAN is stepping up from his role as chief operations officer to become chief executive of Industry Super Australia (ISA), starting September 1.

Mr Dean joined ISA  in early 2013 as the director of marketing, assuming responsibility for the successful collective marketing campaign to promote the benefits of being a member of an Industry SuperFund. 

“Bernie’s commitment to improving the quality of retirement of all Australian workers is paramount,” ISA chair, Peter Collins said. “During his time at ISA, Bernie has led a series of ground-breaking campaigns, including Compare the Pair, In good hands and Banks aren’t super.

“Member recognition of, and trust in industry super funds has grown significantly under his stewardship of the campaign. More broadly, Bernie has experience working with governments, employers and trade unions and is well-known among industry super funds.

“We are delighted that he has accepted our offer to become chief executive of ISA.”

Prior to joining ISA, Mr Dean held senior positions in the Victorian public service. As the executive director of marketing and communications for many years, Mr Dean led WorkSafe Victoria’s award-winning marketing program to drive down the rate and cost of workplace injuries.

Helater became the general manager of OHS Strategy, leading collaboration between the regulator, employer and union bodies to develop policy and regulatory solutions to tough problems faced by workers such as asbestos removal, dangerous machines and manual handling.

Prior to his departmental roles, Mr Dean was a senior adviser to the former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks on issues including infrastructure and public transport.

Bernie Dean joined government after working as an organiser with the ACTU in the mid-1990s where he represented and campaigned alongside workers across the public, hospitality and finance sectors.


PRUE BONDFIELD, a highly regarded pastoralist and businesswoman, has been appointed to the Regional Investment Corporation board. 

Ms Bondfield is the general manager and director of Palgrove, a livestock business with properties in Queensland and New South Wales. Ms Bondfield also has a background in law and has demonstrated strong corporate governance skills, developed through professional training, her own business enterprise and various industry roles. 

She has held positions as the chair of the Beef Industry Sustainability Framework Steering Committee, a director of the State Management Council for the NSW Livestock Health and Pest Authorities, and has been a director of the Beef Improvement Association. 

The RIC will administer the Coalition Government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans program and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. 

The Federal Government has also appointed David Foster, Lucia Cade and Mark Lewis as members of the RIC board, with David Foster appointed as chair of the board.

Mr Foster has an extensive background in commercial finance having previously worked for both Westpac and Suncorp. Mr Foster is also a current director with Genworth Mortgage Insurance, G8 Education Limited and Local Government Enterprises of Queensland.

Ms Cade has a background in engineering and commercial leadership, with a focus on water infrastructure, utilities and professional services. Ms Cade has beencChair of South East Water, a Victorian government-owned water utility, since October 2015.

Mr Lewis is a former Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food and the former Member for Mining and Pastoral on the Western Australian Legislative Council from 2013 to 2017. His prior responsibilities included the Rural Business Development Corporation, which administers loans to primary industries, including concessional loans on behalf of the Commonwealth.

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