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APPENDIX 1 Commission and executive

AFMA Commissioners are appointed for their level of expertise in one or more of the fields of fisheries management, fishing industry operations, science, natural resource management, economics, business or financial management, law, public sector administration or governance. The new legislative amendments added expertise on matters relating to recreational or Indigenous fishing. Future appointments to the Commission will take the new requirements into consideration.

 Mr Ian Cartwright, Mr Andrew Pearson (Executive Secretary), Mr Richard Stevens OAM, Prof Keith Sainsbury, Ms Renata Brooks, (front row) Dr James Findlay (CEO), Ms Helen Kroger (Chairman), Ms Catherine Cooper (Deputy Chair)AFMA Commissioners from left to right: Mr Ian Cartwright, Mr Andrew Pearson (Executive Secretary), Mr Richard Stevens OAM, Prof Keith Sainsbury, Ms Renata Brooks, (front row) Dr James Findlay (CEO), Ms Helen Kroger (Chairman), Ms Catherine Cooper (Deputy Chair)

The following Commissioners held appointments during the reporting period 2018-19:

Ms Helen Kroger – Chairman

Helen has held leadership positions in the private, public and not for profit sectors for the last 20 years. She is a former Liberal Senator for Victoria, Government Whip and active former member of numerous key Senate and Joint Committees. She has extensive board experience and advises corporations on regulatory and compliance, governance, communications and stakeholder management issues.

Dr James Findlay – Chief Executive Officer

(1 July 2018 to 23 November 2019)

James is an AFMA Commissioner and AFMA's Chief Executive Officer. He has a PhD in fisheries biology and has held senior government roles across fisheries science, policy and management. He has also held senior government roles in other natural resource management areas including climate adaptation and sustainable water use. He was a research consultant in aquatic animal health for the aquaculture industry and was a senior lecturer in genetics at the University of Tasmania.

Mr Wez Norris – Chief Executive Officer (appointed March 2019)

Wez is an AFMA Commissioner and the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Natural Systems and Wildlife Management from the University of Queensland. He has worked for Queensland Fisheries, previously at AFMA, as the Manager of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, and then spent 10 years as the Deputy Director-General at the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, in the Solomon Islands. He has worked on a number of significant fisheries reform projects, including prawn trawl, hand-line and hand-collectable fisheries, and also held positions in the Torres Strait and in a Ministerial Office.

Mr Richard Stevens OAM

Richard has been involved in the Australian seafood industry since 1977, holding senior executive positions at both the State and Commonwealth level. Since 2001, he has undertaken numerous reviews of fisheries management arrangements, including in South Australia New South Wales and the Torres Strait. He currently chairs a number of fishery related committees, including the New South Wales Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council and the Northern Territory Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee. Richard's expertise covers natural resource management, policy and planning, and economics.

Mr Ian Cartwright

Ian has a Master of Science in Economics, is Chair of the Tasmanian Fisheries Research Advisory Board and Chair of various fisheries committees. His expertise covers commercial fishing, fisheries science, natural resource management, economics and business management.

Professor Keith Sainsbury

Keith is Director of SainSolutions, Professor of Marine Systems Science (University of Tasmania) and Vice-Chair of the Board of the Marine Stewardship Council. His internationally recognised expertise covers fisheries science, natural resource management and marine ecology.

Ms Catherine Cooper

Catherine currently chairs the South Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee and Aquaculture Advisory Council. Catherine is an industry leader and she was a finalist in both the 1997 and 1998 Telstra Business Women's Awards. She has extensive committee and board experience including as former Chair of the Fisheries Council of South Australia.

Ms Renata Brooks

Renata is an independent director and consultant. Previously she was Deputy Director General, Land and Natural Resources in the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, with responsibility for the NSW crown land estate, natural resource policy and programs, and coordination of primary industry policy. She has held senior executive positions within the NSW Department of Primary Industries in the areas of science and research, agriculture, fisheries, biosecurity, compliance and mine safety.

AFMA Commissioners – attendance at commission meetings

Five Commission meetings were held in 2018-19. The table below shows the number of meetings Commissioners attended.


Meetings attended

Ms Helen Kroger


Dr James Findlay


Mr Richard Stevens OAM


Mr Ian Cartwright


Prof Keith Sainsbury


Ms Catherine Cooper


Ms Renata Brooks


Ms Anna Willock

1 (March 2019)

Mr Wez Norris

1 (May 2019)


Role and function

The Executive is AFMA's senior management team responsible to the Chief Executive Officer for the effective operation and performance of the agency.


  • Chief Executive Officer – Dr James Findlay (1 July to 23 November 2018)
  • Acting Chief Executive Officer – Ms Anna Willock (December 2018 to April 2019)
  • Chief Executive Officer – Mr Wez Norris (appointed April 2019)
  • Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch – Dr Nick Rayns (1 July to 30 November 2018)
  • Acting Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch – Ms Anna Willock (April to 30 June 2019)
  • General Manager, Operations Branch – Mr Peter Venslovas
  • General Manager, (Chief Operations Officer), Corporate Services Branch – Mr John Andersen
  • Executive Secretary – Mr Andrew Pearson
  • Chief Finance Officer – Mr Robert Gehrig


Role and function

The Audit and Risk Committee operates in line with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and provides independent advice and assurance to the Chief Executive Officer of the appropriateness of AFMA's:

  • financial reporting including the annual audited financial statements
  • performance reporting including the framework for developing, measuring and reporting
  • systems of risk oversight and management including AFMA's risk management and fraud control framework
  • systems of internal controls associated with – governance, risk management, compliance and business continuity management arrangements.

The Committee held four meetings during the reporting period.


The current Committee comprises one AFMA Commissioner and three independent members. These members are:

  • Ms Catherine Cooper – Chair (Commissioner)
  • Ms Mary Harwood
  • Mr Geoff Knuckey
  • Ms Kate Freebody

Permanent Advisers

The Committee has regular observers attending including:

  • Mr John Andersen (General Manager Corporate Services Branch)
  • Mr Robert Gehrig (Chief Finance Officer)
  • Mr Michael Roses (Chief Information Officer)
  • Mr Cameron Pietsch (AFMA Risk Manager)
  • Audit representatives from Bellchambers Barrett (AFMA's internal audit providers), Nexia (contracted external auditors) and the Australian National Audit Office.

AFMA's Executive Secretariat provides administrative support to the Audit and Risk Committee.


Role and function

The role of AFMA's Research Committee is to advise the AFMA Commission on the strategic directions, priorities and funding for monitoring and research relevant to meeting AFMA's information needs and objectives. In doing so the primary functions of the Committee are to:

  • review and advise on research, monitoring and assessment priorities for Commonwealth fisheries
  • review AFMA's five year research plans for Commonwealth fisheries
  • provide advice to the AFMA Commission on allocation of AFMA research funds
  • assess research, monitoring and assessment investments for the Commonwealth fisheries for consistency with management needs.

The Committee held two face-to-face meetings in 2018-19.


  • Mr Ian Cartwright (Chair and Commissioner)
  • Prof Keith Sainsbury (Commissioner)
  • Ms Renata Brooks (Commissioner)
  • Dr James Findlay (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Dr Nick Rayns (Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch)
  • Mr James van Meurs (Committee Secretary)

Permanent Advisors

  • Ms Beth Gibson (Senior Manager, Policy, Environment, Economics and Research)
  • Ms Yvonne Zunic (Manager, Research)

Regular Observers

The Committee also invites regular observers from the following agencies and departments to attend and provide expert advice:

  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere
  • Commonwealth Fisheries Association
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences
  • Persons associated with Indigenous fisheries
  • Persons associated with Recreational fisheries


The Strategic Delivery Committee met throughout 2018-19 to provide Executive oversight of all AFMA significant projects. The Strategic Delivery Committee uses a risk-based tiered approach to prioritise projects undertaken by the agency to ensure appropriate governance and monitoring arrangements are in place. Each project is assessed based on risk factors that weigh the alignment and impact of the project on our corporate objectives. The Strategic Delivery Committee monitors resources assigned and budget impacts, to ensure that milestones/targets are met to achieve project success.

Major projects reviewed by the Strategic Delivery Committee in 2018-19 included development and implementation of the AFMA ICT Strategic Plan, establishment of the Lakes Entrance office in Victoria and the relocation of AFMA's headquarters in Canberra to Majura Park, Canberra Airport.

The AFMA Risk Manager provides co-ordination and administrative support to the Strategic Delivery Committee.


  • Mr John Andersen (Chair and General Manager Corporate Services Branch)
  • Ms Anna Willock (Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch)
  • Mr Peter Venslovas (General Manager, Fisheries Operations Branch)
  • Mr Robert Gehrig (Chief Finance Officer)
  • Mr Michael Roses (Chief Information Officer)
  • Mr Tod Spencer (Senior Manager, National Compliance Strategy)
  • Mr Cameron Pietsch (Risk Manager)


AFMA extended the duties of its previous Information and Governance Committee to include the responsibilities of managing the agency's data management holistically within the agency. The newly formed Data and Information Management Committee (the Committee) is responsible for ensuring that data and information is treated as an asset and supports organisational outcomes. It ensures that risk and compliance issues are identified and addressed for as long as the data and information is required.

The Committee provides a strategic oversight to managing data, information and records to reduce business risk, increase accountability, and improve operational efficiencies. The Committee provides oversight to ensure data and information integrity and reliability, are searchable, accessible and that appropriate access controls are employed.

The Committee provides governance and oversight on a range of initiatives to improve our data and information governance processes which are linked to the AFMA ICT Strategic Plan. The Committee also considers the impacts the Government's Digital Transformation Agenda has on the agency and ensures that Whole of Government initiatives are taken into account when designing and implementing systems that involve public and stakeholders.

Existing AFMA information governance documents are being reviewed and a consultant has been engaged to develop an overarching Information Management Strategy which will provide a pathway for meeting the requirements of the Australian Government's Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.


  • Mr John Andersen (Chair and General Manager Corporate Services Branch)
  • Mr Michael Roses (Chief Information Officer)
  • Mr Ryan Murphy (Senior Manager, Fisheries Services)
  • Mr Tod Spencer (Senior Manager, National Compliance Strategy)
  • Mr Thomas Kaufhold (Senior Records Management Officer and Secretariat)
  • Ms Kerry Smith (Senior Manager, Foreign Compliance)
  • Mr Cameron Pietsch (Risk Manager)


The AFMA Security Governance Committee met quarterly during 2018-19 to consider the current security governance arrangements and the security threats and vulnerabilities to AFMA. The Committee reviews our personnel, physical and information security arrangements and ensures compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework. In 2018-19 the Committee reviewed AFMA's Security Governance hierarchy, responded to the “Essential 8” information security mitigation measures recommended by the Australian Signals Directorate, drafted a Data Breach Response Plan and updated personnel security vetting procedures.


  • Mr John Anderson (Chair and General Manager Corporate Services Branch)
  • Mr Michael Roses (Chief Information Officer)
  • Mr Scott Connors (Senior Manager, Security and Property)
  • Mr Dave Newton (Senior Network Engineer)
  • Mr Cameron Pietsch (Risk Manager)