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New Veterans SA director appointed

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A former federal veterans’ affairs bureaucrat and intelligence officer has been appointed the new director of Veterans SA after her predecessor was effectively sacked when he was told to re-apply for his own job.

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InDaily reported in November that Veterans SA director Rob Manton had been told he no longer had a role in the agency, after previously being asked to re-apply for his own position at its helm.

Manton, who served as Veterans SA boss since 2014, was short-listed along with another candidate, but neither was deemed suitable for the role.

Manton’s contract expired during the application period, and was not renewed.

His removal prompted disquiet among senior members of the sector, with the Veterans Advisory Council understood to have written to Premier Steven Marshall – who has ministerial oversight over the defence portfolio – in support of Manton continuing in the role.

Marshall this morning announced Catherine Walsh – the former head of Human Resources in the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs – would replace acting Veterans SA director Chantelle Bohan, who has helmed the agency since October following Manton’s departure.

Walsh started her military career in Adelaide and previously working as an intelligence officer with the Royal Australian Air Force.

She will officially commence her role on April 20.

In a media release announcing the appointment, Marshall thanked Manton and Bohan for their service.

He said Walsh’s “passion to improve the lives of Australians every day makes her a brilliant fit for the role”.

Meanwhile, prominent surgeon and former army officer Colonel Susan Neuhaus has been appointed the new chair of the Veterans Advisory Council.

Neuhaus, whose military career included postings in Cambodia Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan, will replace brigadier Laurie Lewis, who served as chair since 2009.

“The VAC performs a very important function providing a voice for veterans, their families and carers in South Australia,” Marshall said.

“I look forward to the opportunity to engage with Colonel Neuhaus and the VAC on a range of issues important to the veteran community.”

Veterans SA has faced a state of flux after being shifted from the Premier’s department to come under the auspices of Defence SA, into whose Pirie Street digs it was also relocated.

Marshall told parliament at the time the move would allow Veterans SA to “share some of the overheads that are associated between those two agencies”.

Additional reporting by Tom Richardson

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