QLD Boost: Department Strengthens Forest Connection

DAF Queensland announces five new directors with responsibilities connected to forests

Mon 05 Jun 23


In a reshuffle of management roles in Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, five positions will significantly align with forestry.

With a PhD in Psychology from Murdoch University, Dr Chris Sarra has been appointed Director-General of Agriculture and Fisheries, which, unnamed, embraces forestry.

Dr Sarra is a Gurang Gurang/Taribelang man from Bundaberg in Queensland’s Wide Bay-Burnett region.

According to the department, Dr Sarra “has a strong and positive sense of culture and identity to lead the department’s continued commitment to working within diverse environments and industries across both land and sea.”

He brings wide experience working in complex, economic, scientific, and social contexts. His experience as Director-General of the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, from 2018–2023 “demonstrated incredible things can be achieved through partnerships and in the spirit of helping each other succeed.”

Driven by a dream for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families, and communities to thrive, Dr Sarra became Director-General the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

The youngest of 10 children, he became the first Aboriginal principal of Cherbourg State School in southeast Queensland in 1998.

Dr Sarra joined the University of Canberra as a Professor of Education in 2016, where he taught and researched in areas including school leadership, Indigenous education, and educational equity in East Asia and Australia.

In 2017, Dr. Sarra received the Anthony Mundine Award for Courage at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.

Dr Sarra was previously Director-General of the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Footage courtesy of @TMRQld
Other Appointments

Dr Rachel Chay becomes Deputy Director-General and Chief Biosecurity Officer

Before this, she was chief operating officer for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and has worked in animal health, regulatory, and government leadership roles for 25 years.

She has an undergraduate qualification in veterinary science along with Master’s degrees in Human Resources and Organisational Development and Public Administration.

Bernadette Ditchfield was appointed Deputy Director-General, Agriculture responsible for developing policies, research and initiatives that lift the productivity of Queensland’s food and fibre businesses.

Bernadette has an extensive background in policy development and service delivery, coupled with a strong industry development focus.

Ms Ditchfield will also lead the department’s FutureDAF initiative, which works with all departmental staff to drive innovation and a culture of continuous improvement.

Graeme Bolton, Deputy Director-General, Fisheries, and Forestry, spent the first part of his career in the private sector as a director in a planning and surveying consultancy.

Joining the public service in 2004, he was instrumental in leading and delivering major reforms to Queensland’s planning legislation and processes.

Mr Bolton spent five years in the Middle East, responsible for delivering Qatar’s national growth and development strategy, strategic planning for the new metropolitan rail network and precinct, and legacy planning for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Dr Ian Mackie takes on the role of Deputy Director-General, Thriving Regional Communities, where he will have a strong enterprise approach to stimulating jobs and other employment opportunities in regional and remote communities.

Dr Mackie was most recently the Deputy Director-General for Culture and Economic Participation with the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

He helped improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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