ADHA appoints former Services Australia interim head as its new CEO

The new appointment will start at the end of the month.

Following a 9-month search, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has appointed Amanda Cattermole as its new CEO. 

She will take over from Bettina McMahon, who stepped in as interim CEO at the start of February, following the resignation of Tim Kelsey

Kelsey worked in the CEO role for three years before leaving the post. 

Cattermole was most recently the COO of Services Australia. She was also previously the interim CEO of Services Australia and held deputy secretary roles at the agency when it was called the Department of Human Services. 

"Amanda Cattermole is held in the highest regard across the public service and health sector and will bring a depth of knowledge and capability to the role of CEO at a time when digital health has never been more important," ADHA board chair Dr Elizabeth Deveny said.

During her time at Services Australia, the department kicked off a data-matching program of work that saw the automatic issuing of debt notices to those in receipt of welfare payments through the Centrelink scheme. 

The program, colloquially known as robo-debt, automatically compared the income declared to the Australian Taxation Office against income declared to Centrelink, which resulted in debt notices and a 10% recovery fee being issued whenever a disparity in government data was detected.

One large error in the system, however, was that it incorrectly calculated a recipient's income, basing fortnightly pay on their annual salary rather than taking a cumulative 26-week snapshot of what an individual was paid.

Since admitting to getting around 470,000 debts wrong, Services Australia estimated that it needed to refund around AU$721 million back to Australians.

Cattermole will commence her new role on September 29.

More ADHA Coverage