Movers & Shakers, Government | May – June, 2021

Derek Winter, newly appointed CISO of the University of NSW
Derek Winter, the University of NSW's newly appointed appointed CISO

NSW’s Department of Education brings in expertise from the banking sector to drive its transformation agenda, while the state’s Department of Customer Service (DCS) has announced it is on the hunt for a new Chief Information Officer.

The NSW Department of Education has enlisted Sen Thevarajah to lead its transformation agenda.

Poached from the banking sector, Thevarajah most recently served as AMP’s Head of Service Strategy and Design, with a previous stint as Strategy & Transformation Consultant for the bank between 2016 and 2018.

Announcing his move on LinkedIn last month, Thevarajah’s new role as DoE’s Director of Transformation will see him join the Department’s support services function, which oversees a wide range of facilities, including online resources for teachers.

At AMP, he was charged with building and operationalising the bank’s “strategy and design capability, supporting the delivery of large-scale transformation across the enterprise services portfolio”.

Thevarajah said he is excited to take on the new role “at a time where there’s a real focus on developing the education system for our children and creating an environment where we can grow the next generation of game changers.”


Australian public broadcaster SBS has appointed Darren Farnham to lead its technology function.

Farnham most recently served as the SBS’s Head of Technology Operations and Services, a role he assumed in 2019.

He stepped in as acting Chief Technology Officer last August following the departure of Noel Leslie, who held the role for seven and a half years.

The broadcaster commenced its search for a permanent CTO in March this year, according to iTNews, calling it a “rare opportunity” during a “time of change and transformation”.

SBS’s Technology Division is responsible for assisting with the production, distribution and transmission of SBS content, as well as delivering effective technology solutions for staff across the organisation.


– The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) has appointed Michelle Dowdell as First Assistant Secretary of the Digital Technologies Taskforce.

Dowdell previously served as Assistant Secretary at Treasury, with a career at the Department spanning more than two decades.


The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has made two key appointments to its staff, with Paul Creech taking on the role of General Manager, Digital Programs and Engagement, and Lisa Rauter to serve as Chief Operating Officer, Digital Health.


 The University of New South Wales has appointed Derek Winter as Chief Information Security Officer and Director of Cyber Security, ending a nearly two-year search by the uni.

Winter jumped ship from the University of Sydney, where he also served as CISO – a role he had held for more than five years.

He replaces former CISO Peter Cooper, who departed UNSW in September 2020.


The Office of Local Government (OLG), a peak body representing NSW councils, has appointed Kiersten Fishburn as Chief Executive.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott praised Fishburn’s “extensive experience” in senior leadership positions, having previously served as an executive with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and before this as Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Council.


Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet has commenced the search for its first Chief Executive for Digital Victoria.

Digital Victoria, the Government’s new whole-of-government digital arm, has been charged with leading the state’s digital and IT strategy and planning, as well as the delivery of “priority” initiatives and programs.

Set to launch in July this year, the digital agency has till now been headed by acting Chief Executive Vivien Allimonos.

“The CEO [of] Digital Victoria will provide executive leadership, management and strategic direction, and drive delivery of digital reform across the Victorian government,” the job ad states


– NSW’s Department of Customer Service (DCS) is on the hunt for a Chief Information Officer to oversee its IT and technology operations – a new, all-encompassing role for the DCS.

The Department advertised the position on LinkedIn last Friday, with prospective candidates given just a week to send in their applications.

As noted in the job post, the new role will allow for “a new direction to oversee… information and technology functions across” the DCS.

The call follows a planned restructure of the Department’s CIO and Chief Technology Officer functions.

iTnews reported that the DCS is planning to merge its two IT teams – the CIO and chief technology officer groups – by August to form a single IT entity.


The Federal Government is set to appoint a standalone Freedom of Information Commissioner to work alongside the Privacy Commissioner, as part of its legislative requirements to separate the positions.

Angelene Falk currently serves as both Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner.

The Government has allocated $1 million per year for the new role, with the FOI Commissioner to sit within the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).


The NSW Government will establish a new ministerial advisory council to inform digital identity policy.

The Government has called on digital identity thought leaders, both in an individual and industry capacity, to join the council, with membership to be reviewed and rotated annually.

The 10-member advisory council will provide advice on “strategic and tactical approaches” to digital identity.


The Federal Government is set to slash the number of business innovation and global talent visas on offer from next year as part of a significant rejig of Australia’s skilled migration program.

InnovationAus reports that while the overall number of skilled visas issued by the Federal Government in 2021-22 will remain the same, there will be more employer-sponsored visas issued, with an accompanying sharp decrease in the business innovation and global talent streams.

The number of business innovation visas under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) doubled from 6,862 in 2019-20 to 13,500 in the current financial year. The Government will slash this to 11,000 in 2021-22, to coincide with a change in eligibility for the scheme.


The CSIRO will dismantle one of its chief research groups, ‘trustworthy systems’, best known for developing the secure embedded L4 (seL4) microkernel.

As part of a restructure of its Data61 business unit, the CSIRO’s trustworthy systems team will be reallocated to other AI projects within the research agency or let go altogether.