Audit and Risk Committee

​The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) was established in August 2003 to assist the Secretary of the Department in fulfilling their oversight and governance responsibilities and obligations under the Financial Management Act 1994 (‘the Act’).

The Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance under the Financial Management Act 1994 (section 3.2) requires 'each public sector agency to appoint an audit committee to oversee and advise the public sector agency on matters of accountability and internal control affecting the operations of the agency'.

Unlike other executive committees, ARC is responsible directly to the Secretary, to oversee and provide advice on governance, risk management, audit and control assurance activities.

The Committee is supported by the Integrity and Assurance Division.

The current ARC includes four independent members and two internal members (departmental executives). In addition to committee members, the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Audit Executive attend all committee meetings.

For further information, see:

Audit and Risk Committee members

​​The Committee comprises four independent members and two internal members.

Independent Members

Fiona Bennett – Chair

Appointed 2 December 2013
Current term concludes: 31 December 2019

Fiona Bennett is a director of a number of entities including Beach Energy Limited, Hills Limited and Select Harvests Limited. She is also Chairperson of the Victorian Legal Services Board.

She is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in commercial and financial management, governance, risk management and auditing. She has held senior executive positions at BHP Billiton Ltd and Coles Group Ltd, and has been Chief Financial Officer of several organisations in the health sector.

Fiona is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders.

Education:
BA (Hons) Geography, University College London
Chartered Accountant (CA) - Institute of Chartered
Accountants in England and Wales,
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia

Stuart Alford

Appointed: 9 July 2015
Current term concludes: 30 July 2018

Stuart Alford previously had 40 years in professional practice with Ernst & Young, including 27 as a partner. He is a non-executive director with extensive experience in governance, risk management and auditing.

Stuart serves on the boards of Eastern Health, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, AMES Australia (Adult Multicultural Education Services) and Kilvington Grammar School. He also has audit, risk and finance committee roles with a number of organisations, including the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, the Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board, and the Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. Stuart is also the independent chair of the National Audit Review Panel for Pitcher Partners.

Stuart is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant in Australia and an Associate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education:
Bachelor of Economics (Hons)
Monash University
FCA, MAICD

Kerrie Parker

Appointed: 1 December 2015
Current term concludes: 31 December 2018

Kerrie Parker has held CEO, CFO and executive leadership roles in fast moving consumer goods, agriculture, manufacturing, financial services and state government. With more than thirty years’ experience, Kerrie has lead through growth, turnaround and crisis situations. Kerrie has strong financial and operational experience in driving improvements by process optimisation, business improvements and structural change.

She has been involved in several successful business transformations and experience has been gained in ASX publically listed, multinational and private equity companies, state government bodies and the higher education sector.

Kerrie also spent time within the Victorian Government, managing large scale change projects during a time of transformation and reform, focused on adding value through strong and proper financial management practices, and innovative business solutions.

She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Deakin University and is also an independent company director.

Kerrie is a Fellow of Certified Practicing Accountants, Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education:
Bachelor of Business (Accounting) Monash University
Graduate Certificate of Information Technology, Swinburne University

Helen Thornton

Appointed: 1 March 2017
Current term concludes: 28 February 2020

Helen Thornton is an experienced non-executive director and is currently on the boards of Treasury Corporation Victoria, Zoos Victoria, Yarra Valley Water and Legal Practitioners Liability Committee.

Helen is also an independent member of the Audit and Risk Committees for the departments of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Health and Human Services.

She is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in finance, risk management, governance and both internal and external auditing. Helen was the Vice President Risk Management at BlueScope Steel Ltd and has held senior positions at BHP Billiton Ltd, KPMG and Deloitte.

Helen is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education:
Bachelor of Economics (Monash)
Chartered Accountant (CA) – Institute of Chartered Accountants (Australia)
Graduate - Australian Institute of Company Directors

Internal Members

Kate Rattigan

Appointed: 8 December 2015
Current term concludes: 31 December 2018

Deputy Secretary, People and Executive Services Group

The People and Executive Services Group focuses on people services, communications, legal and ministerial support, probity, audit and risk. The Group provides direct services to the Department’s central office, regional offices and government schools.

The Group consists of five Divisions:

  • Legal Division
  • Human Resources Division
  • Governance and Executive Services Division
  • Communications Division
  • Integrity and Assurance Division

Kate is currently the Chairperson of the Department's Procurement and Probity Committee; OHS Consultative Committee; the Student Support Service Officer OHS Committee and is a member of Department's Integrity Committee and Workforce Development and Culture Committee.

In Kate's previous role as Executive Director of the Legal Division, she provided strategic oversight of the Department's legal matters. This included the provision of advice to Ministers, the Secretary, executives, managers, regional directors, school principals and school councils on all aspects of legislation, regulations and other statutory instruments, as well as advising on employment law and workplace relations matters, administrative law, commercial law and education law matters. The position also managed complex litigation and co-ordinated the Department's response to various State and Commonwealth Royal Commissions and Coronial and Commission for Children and Young People inquiries.

Education:
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Arts – University of Melbourne (1996)
Masters in Employment and Labour Relations Law – University of Melbourne (2012)

Lee Watts

Appointed: 1 March 2017
Current term concludes: 28 February 2020

Lee Watts was appointed to the position of Assistant Deputy Secretary, Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform in April 2016. In this role Lee has responsibility for the design and implementation of a more managed, stable and competitive training system.

This focus follows two major reviews into VET in 2015, the VET Funding Review and the Review of Quality Assurance in Victoria’s VET System.

Lee has extensive experience in the skills and higher education portfolios including VET contract and program management, information system design, and provider quality.

Prior to joining the Department, Lee worked as a senior consultant for a US consulting firm. She has previously held senior teaching and research positions at a number of Australian universities with a focus on workplace relations, alternative dispute resolution and change management.

Education:
Lee holds a Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and is the author of a number of books.