Movers & Shakers, Government | March – April, 2021

Newly appointed CISO at Services Australia, Maria Milosavljevic

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces major cabinet reshuffle, with new Government Services and Home Affairs chiefs appointed; Services Australia appoints new CISO from within.

Following intense scrutiny surrounding Attorney-General Christian Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, PM Scott Morrison has announced a major reshuffle to his ministry.

Reynolds has been moved from Defence to replace Stuart Robert as Minister for Government Services, which oversees the government’s central service delivery agency, Services Australia, as well as its disability insurance scheme, the NDIS. Robert, who had led the government services portfolio since the launch of Services Australia in mid-2019, will now lead the Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business ministry.

Christian Porter will also remain in cabinet, moved from chief lawmaker to lead the Industry, Science and Technology portfolio.

Karen Andrews, previously industry minister, has been appointed to lead Home Affairs, replacing Peter Dutton who is stepping up to the coveted Defence portfolio. As Home Affairs Minister, Andrews will take charge of Australia’s cybersecurity policy and coordination.


Premier Mark McGowan has appointed WA cabinet newcomer Don Punch to lead the state’s technology ministry, following the incumbent Labor Government’s landslide election victory last month.

Punch will serve across an expansive portfolio including Disability Services, Fisheries, Innovation and ICT, Seniors and Ageing.

He assumes the tech portfolio from Dave Kelly, who was appointed the state’s first Innovation and ICT minister back in March 2017. Kelly will maintain his portfolios of water, forestry and youth, while Deputy Premier Roger Cook will assume his science responsibilities.


– Maria Milosavljevic is set to take on the role of Chief Information Security Officer at Services Australia after serving two years as the agency’s inaugural Chief Data Officer.

Milosavljevic replaces incumbent cybersecurity general manager Tim Spackman, who will reportedly shift into a new emerging projects role within the agency.


– Bettina McMahon has been appointed Chief Executive of Healthdirect Australia. McMahon formerly served as interim Chief Executive of Australian Digital Health Agency, as well as previously serving as the agency’s COO and EGM for Industry and Government. She commences her new role 15 March.

Praising McMahon’s appointment, Jane Muirsmith, Chair of the Board of Healthdirect Australia said: “With her exceptional credentials as a senior leader, we look forward to working with her as we enter our next phase in the delivery of virtual health services for the governments of Australia, empowering Australians to manage their health and access the care and support they need.”


– Dr Ian Overton has been appointed Chief Executive of Green Industries SA. Overton replaces Vaughan Levitzke, who is retiring after nearly 20 years in the role.


NSW Government Chief Data Scientist, Dr Ian Oppermann, has been appointed chair of the state’s recently launched Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee.

The panel will provide ongoing strategic advice on the use of AI in decision-making and improving service delivery across government. Among the inaugural appointees to the Committee include:

Maria Milosavljevic, newly appointed CISO at Services Australia.
Lee Hickin, national technology officer at Microsoft Australia.
Peter Leonard, principal at Data Synergies.
William Simpson Young, co-founder and chief executive of Gradient Institute.
Neil Soderlund, chief executive of Quantium Health & Government.
Edward Santow, human rights commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Martin Stewart-Weeks, principal, Public Purpose Pty Ltd.
Theresa Anderson, data & AI ethicist.
Fang Chen, executive director data science/distinguished professor at UTS.
Aurelie Jacquet, chief legal and data ethics officer at Innovations Accelerated.


– The WA Government has announced members of an Advisory Council for its Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, providing advice to the state Health Minister and the Department of Health.

The Council will be chaired by John Van Der Wielen, Chief Executive and Managing Director at HBF Health, alongsideside members Glenn Begley, Kane Blackman, Sandra Eades, Dale Fisher, Christina Mitchell, and Vicki O’Donnell.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has announced it will lead the recruitment of nearly 180 data graduates for placements across the Australian Public Service (APS) as part of the Australian Government Graduate Program Data Stream.

The ABS notes that a single application to the Program would open the door to 24 Federal Government Agencies, including the ABS Australian Taxation Office, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Health.


The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has released its 2020 APS Employee Census, reportedly showing staff had increased their positive perceptions of communication, senior leadership, change management, and employee engagement within the public service.

The APS Wellbeing Index increased from 67 per cent in 2019 to 70 per cent in 2020 while the Employee Engagement Index saw a slight bump from 72 per cent to 73 per cent – all in the midst of last year’s Covid crisis. The full report can be accessed via the APSC website.