Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New Principal Member appointed to Social Security Appeals Tribunal

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Victorian barrister, Jane Macdonnell, to the position of Principal Member of the Australian Government’s Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT).

Ms Macdonnell brings a wealth of experience to this position. She was admitted as a barrister in Queensland in 1987 and has practiced at the Victorian Bar since 2003.

As a barrister, Ms Macdonnell has appeared in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Magistrates Court, Federal Court and High Court for Commonwealth Government departments and agencies.

She has been a partner at Clayton Utz, Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Qld), General Manager of Victoria Legal Aid, and Executive Director of the Office of State Revenue (Qld), and has held senior management roles in Commonwealth social security, community services and health portfolios.

The combination of her extensive administrative law practice, executive experience and background in relevant Commonwealth portfolios, makes her an ideal appointee for this position.

She will replace Mr Les Blacklow, who will be remembered for his strong contribution in implementing a number of significant changes to the SSAT, including overseeing the introduction of Child Support Agency cases into the Tribunal in 2007 and establishing consistent national standards for Tribunal hearings.

The SSAT reviews decisions made by Centrelink and the Child Support Agency about social security, family assistance, education or training and child support payments.

I would like to congratulate Ms Macdonnell on her appointment and thank outgoing Principal Member Mr Blacklow for his significant contribution.

Ms Macdonnell will commence her position on the 2 August 2010. Her term will continue until the 30 June 2015.