Meet the man who will run the ACDC

7 minute read

He may not be the public face of the new CDC, but Jason Lange will be the one doing much of the heavy lifting.

Jason Lange, the current executive director of the Office of Impact Analysis with the DPM&C, has been appointed to help establish Australia’s new Centre for Disease Control.  

Mr Lange has been running the OIA’s economic division for the past five years and has experience at the OECD’s Regulatory Policy Committee, the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on Agile Governance, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the Commonwealth Treasury. 

“After five brilliant years heading up the Australian Government’s OIA, it’s time for a new challenge,” Mr Lange wrote on LinkedIn yesterday.  

“This has been a fantastic role working across all content imaginable to tackle the most significant policy issues facing the nation. 

“I’ll be moving on shortly to the Department of Health and Aged Care, to help establish Australia’s Centre for Disease Control. Very excited to be further improving how Australia responds to disease challenges into the future.  

“The creation of the CDC is a unique opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians and I’m keen to be part of it. 

“I’ll be looking for talented people, so if you want to join this major reform to Australia’s health system, reach out.” 

Mr Lange’s title at DoHAC will be assistant secretary, implementation — Australian Centre Disease Control establishment branch. 

The May federal Budget provided $90 million to establish an interim CDC from 1 January 2024, with responsibilities for ensuring ongoing pandemic preparedness and leading the national response to future health emergencies. 

New CEO for Catholic Health Australia 

Catholic Health Australia has appointed Jason Kara as its new CEO effective this week. 

Mr Kara has worked as director of aged care at CHA. 

“I am delighted to welcome Jason Kara as the new CEO of Catholic Health Australia,” said CHA board director John Watkins AM. 

“Jason has been an outstanding advocate for Catholic aged care and the most vulnerable in society. He will bring his experience and compassionate advocacy to the broader health, aged and community care sectors.” 

CHA is the largest non-government grouping of health, community, and aged care services in Australia accounting for approximately 10% of hospital-based healthcare, 25% of private hospital care, 5% of public hospital care, 12% of aged care facilities, and 20% of home care and support for the elderly. 

Mr Kara has worked as a senior executive in the public service focusing on housing and homelessness outcomes; has volunteered as an advisor building capacity in the disability sector in Vanuatu; and has served as a senior advisor in the Office of the NSW Premier.  

He has also served as a board director for the Community Restorative Centre, a not-for-profit organisation tackling recidivism. 

“Jason has fulfilled his current role with creativity and intelligence at a time of great change in the sector. He has built strong relationships across the CHA membership while advocating for a quality and sustainable aged care system,” said Mr Watkins. 

“The board is pleased to appoint Jason to the role of CEO at a critical time for the care sector in Australia. He will continue to support our members to make a real difference to the lives of all in the community, but especially the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised.” 

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Succession plans at Dementia Australia 

Professor Graeme Samuel AC will be ending his 10-year term as the chair of Dementia Australia at the organisation’s AGM on 23 November. 

Professor Samuel said he would remain involved with Dementia Australia and its associated entities, continuing as chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, the Australian Dementia Network and the National Comprehensive Dementia Centres.   

“I am immensely proud of everything we have created and achieved as Dementia Australia,” he said.   

“My inspiration to become involved was as a tribute to and in memory of my mother Shirley who had dementia. As a family we valued the support we received through the wonderful counselling and access to programs that made a difference to our lives.    

“I wanted to contribute to ensure all Australians knew this support was available and that they are not alone.  

“I encourage anyone with any questions or concerns to call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 to find out more about dementia and what we can do to improve the experience of dementia for all people impacted.”   

Merran Kelsall AO, who joined the Dementia Australia Board earlier this year, will take over on 23 November as the new chair of the board.    

Ms Kelsall is a professional company director with more than 25 years’ standing and has had a career focused on stakeholder and public interest outcomes.   

She has just completed her term as president and chair of CPA Australia and is a director on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, CareSuper, Medical Indemnity Protection Society (MIPS) and TarraWarra Museum of Art boards.    

In other big news for DA, CEO Maree McCabe AM will step down from her role on 1 July 2024, after 13 years of leadership. 

“Throughout I have also always been impressed by the genuine commitment by all the federal, state and territory ministers we have worked with who have used their influence to bring about once-in-a-generation changes to our system of dementia care,” said Ms McCabe.   

“This role has been an honour and a privilege and my thanks and appreciation to people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers and to the incredible team I have had the privilege to work with. A special thanks to those who have so generously shared their stories in support of raising awareness and impacting change. 

“To my colleagues across the sectors thank you for your support and for the extraordinary work you do that makes such a profound difference to our community.   

“I acknowledge Professor Samuel for his extraordinary leadership and guidance as chair of Dementia Australia. I welcome Ms Kelsall as we continue to fulfill on our vision of an inclusive future where all people impacted by dementia receive the care and support they choose.”   

Public service moves 

At Services Australia, six people were appointed to new roles: 

  • Jenna Barnes to national manager, health zone south; 
  • Rosanna Arena to national manager, Sydney metropolitan; 
  • Narelle Townsend to national manager, operational planning health, integrity and child support; 
  • Liam Barry to national manager, assessment services and smart centres coordination; 
  • Alice Chivell  to national manager, social work services; and 
  • Jacelle Howell to national manager, smart centres north.

Former Federal Court of Australia judge Dr Annabelle Bennett will lead an inquiry into Queensland’s forensic DNA testing. The inquiry will address issues raised publicly since the 2022 inquiry, including issues about automated DNA extraction methods. Dr Bennett is a former president of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and was commissioner for the bushfires royal commission. The inquiry’s final report and recommendations are due to the government by 17 November. 

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