New State Ombudsman named

The state government has revealed who will replace outgoing Ombudsman Wayne Lines as the state’s watchdog.

Dec 01, 2023, updated Jan 30, 2024
Incoming Ombudsman Emily Strickland. Photo: Provided.

Incoming Ombudsman Emily Strickland. Photo: Provided.

Former Deputy Ombudsman Emily Strickland will commence in the role of Ombudsman from 1 January next year following an “extensive recruitment process”.

She will replace current Ombudsman Wayne Lines, due to leave the spot vacant imminently.

Lines announced his planned resignation in July, saying he planned to spend time caring for his ill wife.

Strickland was previously the Deputy Ombudsman and is currently Registrar of the Screening Unit in the Department of Human Services where she oversees working with children and disability employment checks.

The incoming Ombudsman was recommended by state Parliament’s Statutory Officers Committee and was endorsed by both houses of Parliament.

Strickland will hold the position for seven years, with new legislation guiding terms for the role. Previously, South Australia had a strict age limit of 65 years for those in both the Ombudsman role and the Auditor-General position.

Her appointment follows last week’s news that top Department of Treasury and Finance executive Andrew Blaskett was named the state’s new Auditor-General on a seven-year term.

Blaskett – the current executive director of projects at the Department of Treasury and Finance – will replace Andrew Richardson as Auditor-General from 8 January.

Attorney-General Kyam Maher said Strickland had an extensive legal background which would “serve her well as she undertakes her duties as our state’s Ombudsman”.

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“Emily Strickland’s extensive background includes ten years at the Ombudsman’s office – including more than six as Deputy Ombudsman,” Maher said.

“She also practised as a lawyer in the UK, NSW and SA, including as a Senior Solicitor within the Crown Solicitor’s Office Native Title Section, and served for a period as Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity.”

Maher also thanked Lines, “who over the past nine years, has held Governments to account with independence and rigour”.

“I wish he and his wife all the best for the challenging time ahead for them both, and thank him for his willingness to stay on until the end of the year, despite these tragic personal circumstances,” Maher said.

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