Women lead appointments to Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council

Release Date: 
14 December 2016
Media release

Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, today announced the appointment of a new Chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council as well as the appointment of seven new members and the reappointment of two current members to the council.

The appointments will provide a broad diversity of skills and experience and more than double the number of women members within the council.

Ms Diane Smith-Gander has been appointed as the new chair of the council.

Ms Smith-Gander is Chair of Safe Work Australia and has held many senior executive roles, including as Group Executive with Westpac Banking Corporation and Partner of McKinsey & Company. She is currently a non‑executive director of AGL Energy and Wesfarmers Limited, Australia’s largest private sector employer.

Minister Cash said she was delighted to announce Ms Smith-Gander as chair of the council.

“She has extensive corporate governance and financial management expertise and is eminently qualified and capable of providing the strong leadership required to oversee the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on Asbestos Management and Awareness,” Minister Cash said.

Ms Michelle Baxter has been appointed as the member representing the Commonwealth. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia.

“With their dual roles on the council and Safe Work Australia, Ms Gander-Smith and Ms Baxter will enhance coordination of the work of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and Safe Work Australia to improve awareness and management of asbestos in workplaces,” Minister Cash said.

Mr James Dodds (WA), Mr Andrew Kefford (ACT), Ms Julie Nielsen (Queensland) and Ms Marnie Williams (Victoria) have been appointed as members representing the interests of state, territory and local governments.

Ms Tracey Browne and Mr Michael Borowick have been reappointed to the council as members representing the interests of employers and employees respectively.

Ms Carolyn Davis and Ms Nancy Milne OAM have also been appointed to the council. Ms Milne received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the legal sector and to the community. She made a significant contribution to obtaining compensation for James Hardie asbestos victims.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to increasing the representation of women on Australian Government boards, and these appointments reflect that commitment,” Minister Cash said.

“The new council members will guide the important work of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, with a particular focus on coordinating the implementation of the National Strategic Plan.”

“The appointments I announce today are based on merit, and I congratulate all 10 members of the council on their appointment.”

These appointments to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council are for a term of three years.

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council is established under the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Act 2013. The council’s functions include monitoring the implementation of the National Strategic Plan and guiding the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency on the performance of its functions.

For more information about the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, visit their website.