New Acting Chief Executive Officer commences 24 July 2023

The Board of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is delighted to welcome the new Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Melissa McEwen, who commences in her role today, 24 July 2023.

Dr Steve Jeffries AM and Dr Melissa McEwen

Dr Melissa McEwen is an experienced regulator and senior executive who has held a range of roles across government. Her experience includes regulatory reform and operations across the areas of live animal exports, First Nations heritage protection, environment protection, VET Student Loans and skills recognition leading Trades Recognition Australia. She also has extensive international experience, including leading the Australian delegation at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna CoP19 and multiple international engagements in vocational education and skills, including APEC and the East Asian Summit.

Melissa is committed to improving regulatory outcomes and building capability. She has a PhD in cultural history from the Australian National University. Melissa has a strong interest in the agriculture sector and is looking forward to leading the APVMA.

Through her extensive regulatory and senior executive experience in the Australian Public Service, the Board has every confidence in Dr McEwen’s capacity to lead the APVMA. The Board places particular importance on her capacity to provide leadership to APVMA staff and reinforce an organisational culture that exemplifies the Values and Code of Conduct of the Australian Public Service.

Dr McEwen shares our vision for the APVMA to be a global leader in agricultural and veterinary chemicals regulation for the benefit of Australia. Her appointment provides an opportunity to take the APVMA into the next phase of its reform journey to ensure we remain effective at regulating agricultural and veterinary chemicals to manage the risks of pests and diseases for the Australian community and to protect Australia’s trade and the health and safety of people, animals, and the environment.

She is charged with leading the implementation of the new APVMA Strategy 2030 and an associated implementation plan. The Strategy will be published following final consultations with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Dr McEwen has been appointed to serve a 12-month period as Acting Chief Executive Officer. The decision to make an acting appointment was taken by the Board in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is intended to provide leadership stability for the agency while allowing the review of the role of the APVMA to be conducted by Mr Ken Matthews AO and resulting policy deliberations of the Australian Government to occur.

The Board looks forward to working closely with Dr McEwen and the Executive Leadership team as we continue to make the reforms needed to sustain the APVMA’s long-held reputation as a world-class regulator.

The Board also wishes to farewell and thank Ms Nicola Hinder PSM, who is returning to her substantive role in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Ms Hinder joined the APVMA at an extraordinarily challenging time in its history and has done a remarkable job leading the agency through this time. Her support and wise counsel have been of immeasurable assistance to the Board and staff, and her contribution to the culture, regulatory posture, engagement and outlook of the APVMA has been invaluable. Through her exceptional management of complex regulatory, operational and personnel issues, Ms Hinder has exemplified outstanding public service leadership consistent with the integrity and values of the Australian Public Service. While her presence at the APVMA will be very much missed, we look forward to continuing our association with her through her role in the Department.

Dr Steve Jefferies AM
Acting Chair

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