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The Executive Leadership team

Photo of Michelle Baxter

Michelle Baxter, Chief Executive Officer

Michelle was appointed CEO of Safe Work Australia on 1 November 2015 for a 5-year term. She had held the role for the previous 2 years.

Michelle brings more than 20 years of public sector experience to her positions as a Member of Safe Work Australia and its subsidiary committees; as a Commissioner of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission; and as a member of the National Dust Disease Taskforce.

She has worked in many senior roles across the APS including as Group Manager in the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR); Group Manager responsible for agency change with the Fair Work Ombudsman; and Group Manager, Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Taskforce with DEEWR. Michelle has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. She is admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory.

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Amanda Johnston

Amanda is Safe Work Australia’s Acting Deputy CEO and General Counsel. She oversees the agency’s COVID-19 response and is responsible for the in-house legal function. She also has responsibility for the agency’s human resources function and policy matters relating to the model WHS framework. Since joining the agency in 2016, Amanda has played a crucial role in all of the agency’s major projects, including the national explosives reform project, the workplace exposure standards review and the review of the model WHS laws.

Amanda has over 16 years’ experience in the public sector and is an employment and industrial law specialist, having led the Employment Law practice in the Office of General Counsel in the Australian Government Solicitor. Amanda also held a range of positions in the former Commonwealth Department of Employment, working on key legislative reform projects including the WorkChoices and Fair Work reforms. Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts (Industrial Relations) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Wollongong and is admitted as a legal practitioner in the Australian Capital Territory. She is also a Deputy Commissioner of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

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Sarah Costelloe

Sarah is the Branch Manager for Enabling Services. In that position she is responsible for leading the delivery of enabling services for the agency, including human resources, corporate and member services, communications and finance and procurement. Sarah is the SES sponsor for the agency’s Workplace Inclusion Network, and aided the network in winning the Australian Public Service Commission’s network award at the 2018 Diversity and Gender Equality awards. Sarah joined Safe Work Australia in July 2017 as the Branch Manager of the Hazards Branch, where she provided technical policy advice on the model WHS laws related to asbestos, construction and occupational hygiene policy.

Sarah has over 16 years’ public sector experience. She is a policy and legal specialist in workplace relations, having held a range of positions in the former Commonwealth Department of Employment and its predecessors, and has ministerial office experience. Sarah has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University and is admitted as a legal practitioner in the Australian Capital Territory.

Photo of Anthea Raven

Anthea Raven

Anthea was the acting Branch Manager of the Evidence and Compensation Branch. In that position she oversaw national data and research to inform WHS and workers’ compensation policies and strategies and led the agency’s workers’ compensation policy effort, with a focus on recovery and return to work.

Anthea joined Safe Work Australia in June 2017. She has more than 14 years’ experience in key health and social policy areas of the APS including population health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, aged care reform and family support. Anthea has tertiary qualifications in business and health sciences from James Cook University.

Photo of Bianca Wellington

Bianca Wellington

Bianca oversaw the Workers’ Compensation and WHS Policy Branch from January 2020 to June 2020. Bianca has been with Safe Work Australia for over 4 years, primarily as the agency’s Principal Government Lawyer and Director of Legal and Procurement. Prior to joining Safe Work Australia, Bianca was a lawyer at the Australian Government Solicitor. She has over 15 years’ experience in providing strategic legal advice to government. Bianca has a Master of Laws and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from the Queensland University of Technology. Bianca is also admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Photo of Kris Garred

Kris Garred

Kris oversaw the Evidence and Finance Branch from May 2020 to June 2020. Kris has been with Safe Work Australia for 4 years, including in roles managing the agency’s data and research functions and our COVID-19 response. He has over 18 years’ experience across a range of public policy areas including labour market and workplace relations, national security and emergency management, and work health and safety. Kris has a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland.

Photo of Meredith Bryant

Meredith Bryant

Meredith joined Safe Work Australia in July 2018 and was the acting Branch Manager of the Hazards branch. Meredith was responsible for providing policy advice on the model WHS laws in relation to construction, plant and licensing, national workplace chemicals policy, asbestos and occupational hygiene policy. Meredith represented Safe Work Australia on the Asbestos Interdepartmental Committee and the Federal Safety Commissioner’s Australian Government Agency Reference Group.

Meredith has over 19 years’ public sector experience. She has worked extensively in workplace relations, having held a range of positions in the former Commonwealth Department of Employment and its predecessors. Much of her work in recent years has focused on migrant workers. Meredith has a Bachelor of Science and Masters in Population Studies from the Australian National University.