Melissa Harris becomes ANZLIC’s first female Chair

By on 2 August, 2021

Melissa Harris, pictured in 2019 with the then ANZLIC Chair, Bruce Thompson (left) and the then outgoing ANZLIC Chair, Steve Jacoby. Image courtesy Locate.

Land Use Victoria’s Chief Executive, Melissa Harris, has become the first female to be appointed Chair of ANZLIC, the peak government body in Australia and New Zealand responsible for spatial information.

This is also the first time in ANZLIC’s 35-year history that two females hold its highest offices, with Sandy Carruthers also becoming ANZLIC’s Deputy Chair. She follows Harris’s 2019 appointment to the Deputy Chair role, the first female to hold an executive position on the ANZLIC committee.

Harris is a town planner who has worked in state and local government for more than 30 years, currently as Victorian Registrar of Titles and Land Use Victoria Chief Executive, within the Local Infrastructure group of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Harris leads a team of more than 500 land, property, surveying and geospatial professionals including Valuer-General Victoria, Surveyor-General Victoria, spatial services, government land advice and Victoria’s $45 million Digital Cadastre Modernisation and the $37.4 million Digital Twin Victoria programs.

Carruthers is the Executive Director, Strategy, Science and Corporate Services at the South Australian Department for Environment and Water. She has 10 years executive experience working in South Australian Government, with the lead for science, information and technology, and with a focus on the application of science to policy, and information to support decision making.

Outgoing ANZLIC Chair, Bruce Thompson, had led the organisation for the past four years, two years as Chair and the previous two as Deputy Chair.

In a statement, ANZLIC said that it “would like to thank Bruce for his exceptional leadership, skill and vision for geospatial in Australia and commitment to diversity and inclusion”.

“Under Bruce’s leadership ANZLIC has progressed spatial data work across the jurisdictions in key areas including, the shift to 3D and 4D foundation spatial data, digital cadastre modernisation and the creation of spatially enabled digital twins, and a whole of government approach for address validation at the first point of data collection.

“During this time, ANZLIC jurisdictions have also collaborated to provide spatial data support for responding to natural disasters and the COVID-19 global health pandemic.”

“It is a huge honour to become Chair of ANZLIC and also a privilege to have served as Deputy Chair with the incomparable leader that is Bruce Thompson,” said Harris.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be working in spatial and surveying — location-based intelligence, digital innovation and rich spatial data is critical to powering Australia’s future and enabling us to complete globally.

“I’m excited to be taking the helm of ANZLIC to collaborate and partner with our fabulous stakeholders across the sector and beyond, to put Australia and New Zealand on the map and solve some of our nations’ most pressing challenges,” Harris added.

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