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Our members

SWA has 15 members including:

  • an independent Chair
  • nine members representing the Commonwealth and each state and territory
  • two members representing the interests of workers
  • two members representing the interests of employers
  • the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia.

Members are nominated by their respective Minister or organisation and appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Employment for a three-year period. Safe Work Australia Members must meet at least three times each financial year and fulfil their functions as set out in the Safe Work Australia Act 2008.

Diane Smith-Gander AO—Chair

Diane Smith-Gander

Diane Smith-Gander AO is non-executive director of AGL Energy, Wesfarmers Limited, a board member of Keystart Loans, CEDA, member of the NRFA Partnership Council, the Chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, and the immediate past President of Chief Executive Women.

Diane has also held a range of non-executive roles including Chairman of Broadspectrum, Deputy Chairperson of NBNCo, non-executive director of the CBH Group, commissioner of Tourism WA and board member of the Committee for Perth.

Her last executive role was Group Executive at Westpac, where she was a member of the leadership team after spending 10 years with the corporation. Before that she was a partner at McKinsey & Company in Washington and New Jersey; she became a senior advisor to McKinsey in Australia in 2016.

Diane has an MBA, an economics degree, and an Honorary Doctorate of Economics from the University of Western Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute Company Directors and Governance Institute of Australia and an adjunct professor of corporate governance at UWA where she serves on the advisory board of the Business School.

Carmel Donnelly—New South Wales

Carmel Donnelly

Carmel Donnelly is the Chief Executive of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).  SIRA regulates and stewards the NSW workers compensation system, motor accidents insurance scheme and other statutory insurance in NSW.

Carmel’s  previous roles include Acting Deputy Commissioner at the NSW Public Service Commission, leading regulation of workers compensation and the home building compensation as an Executive Director in SIRA, General Manager, Strategy and Performance for the Safety, Return to Work and Support agencies in NSW, General Manager and Deputy General Manager at the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, and Director, Strategy and Planning with Fire and Rescue NSW. She has also been a Review Director in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and an Associate Director in NSW Health.

Carmel holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Psychology).  She is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

Clare Amies—Victoria

Clare Amies

Clare was appointed Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria in June 2015. Before that she was the Chief Executive Officer of Western Region Health Centre and held several executive director roles at WorkSafe, which included the Insurance Business Unit and Health and Disability Strategy Group.

Clare has held senior management positions for the past 15 years in social welfare, health policy, return to work, operational management, strategy and planning.

Appointment to be finalised —Queensland



Martyn Campbell—South Australia

Martyn Campbell

Martyn Campbell is the Executive Director of SafeWork SA. He has 30 years’ experience working in compliance, investigation and risk management at executive and senior executive level in the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Papua New Guinea and Brunei. Recently, Martyn worked in the private sector providing safety compliance services to a wide range of industries, including many in the resources sector across Asia Pacific.

Martyn is a Fellow and a Certified Professional Manager of the Australian Institute of Management, a Certified Compliance Professional of the Australasian Compliance Institute and Chartered OHS Professional with the Safety Institute of Australia.

Martyn has an Honours Degree in Law from the University of Newcastle, in the United Kingdom, a Masters in Law from Adelaide University, a Masters in Occupational Health and Safety from Adelaide University. He is currently completing a Doctorate in Business Administration.


Darren Kavanagh—Western Australia

Darren is the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner. Darren has more than 20 years’ experience in occupational safety and health across diverse high risk industries. Prior to this position, Darren worked with the Federal Department of Defence - Estate and Infrastructure Group. Over his 10 years at Defence, Darren’s roles included Risk and Compliance Manager for South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia and Work Health and Safety Manager.

In 2004, Darren served as a member of the Worksafe Commission for a period of four years and he also served on the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund (BCITF) Board during this time.

Michael Young—ACT

Michael Young

Michael Young is the Executive Group Manager of the ACT Government Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations office, where he is responsible for the Territory’s industrial relations, workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory frameworks.

Michael Young is a personal injury management professional with over 15 years’ experience in senior workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory roles. Michael plays an important role in delivering effective return to work and injury management services for the ACT Government. 

Mark Cocker—Tasmania

Mark Cocker

Mark Cocker is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe Tasmania. He has held senior management positions for the past 15 years in operational management, strategy, planning and regulatory roles. Mark joined WorkSafe Tasmania in 2015 as the Director of Industry Safety.

Prior to joining WorkSafe, Mark headed up the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading and prior to this the Monetary Penalties and Enforcement Service, both within the Department of Justice. Mark is Tasmania’s Asbestos Compensation Commissioner, and Tasmania’s Regulator of WHS.

Stephen Gelding—Northern Territory

Stephen Gelding

Stephen is the Executive Director of NT WorkSafe and the Northern Territory Work Health Authority. He has over 35 years’ experience as a clinician and senior manager within the health and community services sector of the Northern Territory public service.

Stephen is also the Northern Territory Electricity Safety Regulator and the Chief Inspector under the Radioactive Ores and Concentrates (Packaging and Transport) Act.

He is a member of the Work Health and Safety Advisory  Council, the Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council, and is the Chair of the Scheme Monitoring Committee established under the Return to Work Act.

Adrian Breen—Commonwealth

Adrien Breen

Adrian is Branch Manager of the Work Health and Safety Policy Branch in the Department of Jobs and Small Business. In this role Adrian is responsible for policy development and advice on work health and safety and asbestos matters in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

Adrian has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania, and a Masters in Industrial Relations from Charles Sturt University. He is admitted as a legal practitioner in the ACT, and has expertise in workplace relations law including work health and safety, and workers’ compensation matters.

Andrew Dettmer—Australian Council of Trade Unions

Andrew Dettmer

Andrew Dettmer is National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, and before this was State Secretary of the Queensland/Northern Territory Branch from 2003–12. He has been an official of the union—at both national and state levels—since 1988.

Andrew has held a number of board positions, including QMI Solutions, the Queensland Training and Employment Recognition Council, and Construction Skills Queensland. He was also Chair of Manufacturing Skills Queensland, and an ACTU nominee to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

Andrew is a board member of the Australia Institute and of Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad—the ACTU’s overseas aid arm.


Sophie Ismail—Australian Council of Trade Unions

Sophie Ismail is a Legal and Industrial Officer for the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). Sophie has experience in a range of roles providing legal and policy advice and representation to unions, workers and governments on employment, governance, discrimination and workplace health and safety matters.

Sophie has a Bachelor of Arts/Law from the University of Queensland and is completing a Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law from the University of Melbourne. Prior to working at the ACTU, her roles included Principal Lawyer at the Victorian Department of Education, a Senior Associate at Holding Redlich Lawyers and Senior Legal Officer at the Attorney-General’s Department.

James Pearson—Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

James Pearson

James Pearson leads Australia's largest and most representative business network and has held senior roles in Federal and State Governments. He has also led corporate affairs for large public companies and supported his partner in their small family business.

As a diplomat and trade negotiator, James has represented Australia in Africa, the Pacific and China.

James has a MBA from Victoria’s Deakin University, a Science Honors Degree from the University of Western Australia and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Tracey Browne—Australian Industry Group

Tracey Browne is Manager, National Safety and Workers’ Compensation Policy and Membership Services for the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). Tracey commenced her tenure as a Member in 2018 but has represented Ai Group on all of the Agency’s Strategic Issues Groups since their inception. 

Before joining Ai Group Tracey held senior positions within the manufacturing sector in Human Resources, WHS and Workers’ Compensation. Tracey holds a Bachelor of Business (Personnel Management), Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management, and a Master of Applied Science in OHS.

In her role with Ai Group Tracey provides advice and training to employers in WHS and Workers’ Compensation, across all Australian jurisdictions, and brings her broad range of practical knowledge to her representation role at a national and jurisdictional level.

Michelle Baxter—Chief Executive Officer, Safe Work Australia

Michelle Baxter

Michelle was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia on 1 November 2015 for a five-year term. She had held the role for the previous two years.

Michelle brings more than 20 years of public sector experience to her positions as a Member of SWA and its subsidiary committees, as a Commissioner of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and the Commonwealth member on the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council.

She has worked in many senior roles across the Australian Public Service 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, COAG Taskforce with DEEWR.

Michelle has degrees in arts and law and is admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in the ACT.

Our agency

SWA is an Australian government statutory body established in 2008 to develop national policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation.

We are jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement.

We are an inclusive, tripartite body—we work in partnership with governments, employers and employees—to drive national policy development on WHS and workers’ compensation matters. We work to:

  • coordinate and develop national policy and strategies
  • assist with the implementation of model WHS legislation and reform the legislative framework
  • carry out and publish research
  • collect, analyse and report data.

As a national policy body, we do not regulate WHS laws. The Commonwealth, states and territories retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing WHS laws in their jurisdictions.

Organisational chart

  • Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter

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Last modified on Friday 16 August 2019 [1586|92128]