Release type: Media Release


Appointment of new Chair of Safe Work Australia


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Western Australia

Minister for Employment Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash today announced the appointment of Ms Diane Smith-Gander as the new Chair of Safe Work Australia for a three-year term, commencing on 9 February 2016.

“I welcome the appointment of Ms Smith-Gander to this role, as someone eminently qualified and capable of providing the strong leadership required to drive national efforts to prevent workplace death, injury and disease,” Minister Cash said.

Ms Smith-Gander has held many high-level executive roles, including as Group Executive with Westpac Banking Corporation and Partner of McKinsey & Company. She is currently the Chairman of Broadspectrum Limited and a non-executive director of Wesfarmers Limited, Australia’s largest private sector employer.

Minister Cash also acknowledged the service of outgoing Chair, Ms Ann Sherry AO, and thanked her for her contribution to Safe Work Australia over the past three years.

“During her tenure, Ms Sherry led the reduction of regulatory burden to assist Australian businesses in complying with work health and safety standards and oversaw the inaugural National Return to Work Survey, helping us understand the factors associated with positive return to work.”

“Throughout her work with stakeholders Ms Sherry demonstrated the benefits of a collaborative approach in our efforts to continue to reduce the incidence of work related death, injury and disease,” Minister Cash said.

Safe Work Australia was established by the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 with primary responsibility to lead the development of policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.

The position of the Chair of Safe Work Australia is an independent role.