Movers & Shakers, Government | January – February, 2021

Dr Malcolm Thatcher CTO
The ADHA's new tech chief, Dr Malcolm Thatcher

The new year saw a flurry of senior tech appointments across Australia’s public sector, with noteworthy additions to the Digital Health Agency, WA Health and DFAT.

– The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has appointed Dr Malcolm Thatcher to the new role of Chief Technology Officer.

Dr Thatcher previously served as Chief Health Information Officer for Queensland Health and Chief Information Officer for Mater Healthcare Group in Brisbane, as well as interim CIO and Chief Executive of eHealth Queensland.

The newly minted CTO role effectively replaces the ADHA’s Chief Information Officer position held most recently by Ronan O’Connor, who resigned in October 2020.


WA Health has appointed Christian Rasmussen as its next Chief Information Officer.

He takes over from former CIO Holger Kaufmann, who resigned in June 2020 after two years in the role.

Rasmussen formerly served as Lotterywest CIO and, previously, CIO of Curtin University for five years.

The new WA Health tech chief will commence his role at the department’s shared services arm, Health Support Services (HSS).


– The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has appointed Mathew Smorhun as its next Chief Information Officer.

Smorhun replaces former CIO Tim Spackman, who left DFAT after six years last September to take on a new role as Services Australia’s Chief Information Security Officer.


– The QBCC, Queensland’s chief building and construction industry regulator, is on the hunt for a new Chief Information Officer, with the agency expected to shortlist candidates soon.

Ainslie White has stepped in as interim director of IT following the departure of CIO David Black last July.


Canberra Health Services (CHS) is seeking new candidates for a newly created Chief Information Officer role.

The position will oversee the CHS’s digital information systems operations, ICT projects, and non-clinical digital records, as well as managing the group’s digital and business intelligence unit.

The new CIO will report to the CHS’s Chief Financial Officer and the executive branch manager.


Sydney Water has appointed Dominic Hatfield as General Manager of Digital, guiding a broadscale, data-led transformation program. Hatfield recently served as CIO at News Corp.


Services Australia has appointed Russell Egan as Deputy Chief Executive Officer, with Vajira Samaranayake taking on the role of National Manager.


Austrade has appointed Rebecca Shrimpton as Head of Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space.


– The Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has appointed Andrew Hutchinson as General Manager.