Part 2: Agency Overview

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Role and functions

ARPANSA is the Australian Government's primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. ARPANSA regulates Commonwealth entities using radiation with the objective of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effect of radiation. ARPANSA also undertakes research, provides services, and promotes national uniformity and the implementation of international best practice across all jurisdictions.

The CEO of ARPANSA is responsible for applying and implementing the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998.

Our mission

Through our work, the Australian Government aims to: protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

Funding Basis
ARPANSA is funded through appropriations received directly as part of the Federal Budget.

ARPANSA's own sourced income derives from:

  • the sale of scientific services such as the Personal Radiation Monitoring Service
  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization contracts to build, operate and maintain monitoring stations, and
  • licence application fees and annual charges associated with ARPANSA's regulatory activities.

Our vision

Radiation safety11 is appropriately considered in societal decision-making

  • That decision making rests on sound science, with radiation safety given appropriate weight, guiding the use of precaution as necessary.

Radiation safety is addressed uniformly and effectively across Australia

  • That radiation safety is consistently applied, across jurisdictions and across activities, in a manner that is commensurate with the risk.

Radiation safety in Australia is current international best practice

  • That ARPANSA takes a lead role in the enhancement of the international radiation safety and security frameworks and promotes and implements best practice nationally, in the region and internationally.

Top of PageWhat we do

Our activities can be categorised into six strategic themes where ARPANSA works with the government and community:

Expertise Build and maintain expertise in measurement of radiation, assessment of health and environmental impacts, assessment of risks and response to radiation emergencies.
Advice Provide advice on issues related to exposures and effects of radiation, and radiation protection and nuclear safety.
Regulation Use our licensing powers and work with Commonwealth entities to promote the safety of the radiation facilities and sources operated by them, using a risk-informed regulatory approach.
Best Practice Lead the development of codes, guides and advice to support radiation protection and nuclear safety throughout Australia.

Play a prominent role in relevant international organisations, promoting and developing the global radiation protection and nuclear safety framework.
Services Offer high quality services for the purpose of protection against the harmful effects of radiation.
Research Undertake research and development in radiation protection and nuclear safety.

Build strategic partnerships with relevant academic and research organisations, nationally and internationally.


Our regulatory approach

In support of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, we use strategies that encourage licence holders to engage in our regulatory approach:

  • We focus the primary responsibility for safety with the person or organisation responsible for facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks.
  • We promote effective communication with licensees and other stakeholders, and take our decisions in a transparent, robust, unbiased and consistent fashion.
  • We work with licensees and other stakeholders for collaborative fostering of good safety and security cultures.
  • We use a risk-informed approach to licensing, inspections and compliance monitoring.
  • We take appropriate action against those who do not comply with their obligations.

Top of PageLocation and organisational structure

ARPANSA is composed of three Branches, two enabling and support Offices, and a General Counsel, across three locations: Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Figure 2: ARPANSA senior management structure 2013‑14


ARPANSA Senior Management Structure

Senior executive


Carl-Magnus Larsson
Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson,

Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson commenced as Chief Executive Officer of ARPANSA in March 2010 with a background in chemistry and biology and a PhD in Botany from Stockholm University, Sweden. Prior to his appointment to ARPANSA, Carl-Magnus worked at the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (from 2008 the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority after a merger with the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate) focusing on environmental aspects of nuclear power. He subsequently became Branch Head and Deputy Director-General with responsibilities for, among other things, radiation protection, waste management, radioactive materials and emergency preparedness and response. Carl-Magnus coordinated the multinational European Commission-supported research projects FASSET and ERICA (both on environmental assessment and protection) between 2000 and 2007. Carl-Magnus is a member of the Main Commission of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and is the current Chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). He is a member of the IAEA Commission on Safety Standards.


Peter Johnston
Professor Peter Johnston,
Deputy CEO and Chief Medical Radiation Scientist, Medical Radiation Services12

Peter Johnston is ARPANSA's Chief Medical Scientist and was appointed as Head of the Medical Radiation Services Branch upon its creation in May 2011. Prior to that Peter was Branch Head of ARPANSA's Environmental and Radiation Health Branch since 2009. Peter worked at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) for 20 years commencing as a Lecturer, progressing to become Professor of Applied Nuclear Physics in 2001 and Head of Physics in 2003; he remains an Adjunct Professor at RMIT. During this period, Peter had several ministerial and government appointments and was a member of the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review in 2006. Peter first joined the Australian Radiation Laboratory at Yallambie (now ARPANSA) in 1979 and worked in Radioactivity Standards, Environmental Radioactivity and Health Physics for ten years. Peter has extensive experience in providing advice on environmental radiation matters including the contamination and rehabilitation of Maralinga, radiation protection issues in uranium mining as well as in the medical use of radiation.

Medical Radiation Services Branch is responsible for radiation protection in medicine and its mandate is based on the idea that all procedures involving radiation exposure of patients must be justified so that the procedure is appropriate in relation to alternatives and is likely to be beneficial to the patient. Medical Radiation must also be optimised to ensure that the procedure is implemented with minimal dose (diagnostic imaging) or harm (therapy) to the patient while maintaining efficacy.

The work of this branch focuses upon the outcomes of: correct dose delivery to patients in radiotherapy procedures; delivery of clinically adequate images affecting patient management using minimal doses; effective communication and interaction between ARPANSA, state and territory agencies, the medical profession and other professional bodies, patients and carers.

Stephen Solomon

Dr Stephen Solomon
Chief Radiation Health Scientist, Radiation Health Services

Stephen Solomon is acting Chief Radiation Health Scientist and has been head of Radiation Health Services Branch since its creation in May 2011. Prior to his current appointment, Stephen was Manager Health Physics Section, Environmental and Radiation Health Branch, ARPANSA. Stephen has a PhD in Nuclear Physics and has over 35 years' experience in health physics and radiation protection.

He leads and coordinates ARPANSA activities as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Radiation Protection and as a member of WHO Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network. Stephen was the Leader of Expert Group C (Assessment of doses and risk to humans and biota) and a member of the Coordination Expert Group for the UNSCEAR Assessment of Levels and Effects of Radiation Exposure due to the Nuclear Accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

The work of this Radiation Health Services Branch is focused on delivering ARPANSA radiation protection outcomes, including maintaining systems for the measurement of radioactivity in people and the environment, supporting the development frameworks for radiation protection, supporting Australian radiation emergency preparedness and response to nuclear radiological emergencies, monitoring and providing advice on population exposures to non-ionising radiation, advising on radiation protection for occupational health and safety exposure from man-made and naturally occurring ionising radiation; and the provision of a Personal Radiation Monitoring Service for exposures of workers across a variety of occupations.


Martin Dwyer
Mr Martin Dwyer
Chief Inspector, Regulatory Services13

Martin Dwyer is ARPANSA's Chief Inspector and was appointed as Head of Regulatory Services Branch in August 2011. Prior to his appointment, Martin was an engineer with a career in the teaching hospital system which culminated in his role as Director of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics at Canberra Hospital. Martin has extensive experience with Australian Standards and currently chairs the Accreditation Board for Standards Development Organisations and was previously a member of Standards Australia's Council. He has also held significant roles in professional organisations, including as chair of the College of Biomedical Engineers and as Director, Engineering Practice with Engineers Australia.

The Regulatory Services Branch is responsible for Commonwealth regulatory activities including licensing, compliance, inspection and enforcement. The branch is responsible for assessment of incidents and accidents, as well as normal licence holder operations, from technical, managerial, human and organisational perspectives, and an incident register is maintained to support such analyses.

Regulatory Services is ARPANSA's principal driver for establishing a uniform regulatory framework across all jurisdictions, through the Radiation Health Committee. It also supports the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council and the Nuclear Safety Committee. Security and Community Safety also fall within the responsibility of the branch. In this area, as in other areas of responsibility, the branch collaborates with other branches and offices as appropriate.


George Savvides
Mr George Savvides
Chief Administrator
Corporate Office

George Savvides is ARPANSA's Chief Administrator and Head of the Corporate Office since its creation in May 2011. Prior to his current appointment, George had many years' experience in senior finance roles in both the private and not-for-profit sectors, including Oakton Limited, Melbourne Football Club, Melbourne Health, Powercor Telecommunications and Ansett Australia. George is a Certified Practicing Accountant with an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

ARPANSA's Corporate Office is responsible for providing support to ARPANSA's key activities by creating the most effective environment enabling and encouraging excellence in research, policy, advice, regulation and the utilisation of knowledge.

Corporate Office includes four sections: Finance; Information Management; People and Culture and Administration Services. The Chief Administrator is also responsible for the Senior Corporate Adviser and Property Manager roles. The Finance team manages the Agency's financial transactions to ensure compliance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. Information Management delivers ARPANSA's computer network, telecommunications, database/system development, records management, library services. People and Culture administer ARPANSA's recruitment, pay and conditions for staff, including workplace policies and our enterprise agreement. It also develops training programs, workforce planning and advice regarding people management practices.

Brenna Lindsay

Ms Brenna Lindsay
Chief of Staff
Office of the CEO

Brenna Lindsay is ARPANSA's Chief of Staff and Head of the Office of the CEO. She joined the Agency in February 2012 as the Director, Parliamentary and Government Relations, and commenced in her current role in September 2012.

Brenna came to ARPANSA having served in a number of senior roles in the Australian Government primarily in government relations, governance, and communications.

With over ten years in the Australian Public Service, Brenna has held key roles in the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Federal Police, ACT Policing, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, covering a variety of coordination and advice functions including international policy, capacity building, ministerial services, strategic planning, media and marketing management, and government relations.

As Chief of Staff she has primary responsibility for Agency reputational management and leads ARPANSA's parliamentary and government relations, international relations, communications and media, governance and innovation functions.

Brenna holds a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism and Cultural Studies) from Griffith University.

Martin Reynolds

Mr Martin Reynolds
General Counsel

Martin Reynolds is ARPANSA's General Counsel and Head of the Legal Office since August 2011. Prior to his current appointment, Martin was Corporate Governance Officer at ARPANSA since 2008. Martin has had many years' experience in both legal and senior management roles in government statutory authorities. Martin was trained as a lawyer at Monash University and also holds a Bachelor of Business (Management) from the same university.

General Counsel provides high quality legal services that cut across all aspects of the Agency's operations and to assist the CEO achieve his statutory mandate. General Counsel also assists the Agency to meet its obligations under applicable statutory frameworks such as the Government's financial management frameworks including advice on Internal Audit, Work Health and Safety, Certificate of Compliance Process, and Quality Management.

Top of PageOutcome and program structure

As a portfolio Agency of the Department of Health, the following section describes our outcomes and programs framework, as set out in the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements. Figure 3 shows our outcomes, program to achieve that outcome, and the components of that program.

The Report on performance section of this report outlines our program and details the performance of ARPANSA in achieving its outcome.

Figure 3: ARPANSA outcomes and programs framework 2013–14 (Click for larger view)


ARPANSA outcomes and programs framework 2013–14

Our people

As at 30 June 2014, ARPANSA employed a total of 132 staff across three locations: Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Figure 4: Organisational chart (




ARPANSA Organisation Chart

Top of PageAbout Us

  • Australian Government
  • Commonwealth licence holders
  • members of the public
Workforce Data
  • 132 employees at 30 June 2014
  • 59% of employees are male
  • 41% of employees are female
  • 93.2% of employees are ongoing
  • 6.8% of employees are non-ongoing
  • 12.9% of employees work part-time
  • 19.0% employees with over 20 years’ service
Staff Location
  • 25 employees, Sydney NSW
  • 4 employees, Canberra, ACT
  • 103 employees, Melbourne Vic
Scientific Knowledge
  • 42 Journals articles and conference papers published
  • 7 Technical reports published
  • 2 Updated codes and standards
Responding to Ministerials and Public Inquiries
  • 5 Ministerial correspondence
  • 3 Briefing notes
  • 36 Ministerial submissions
  • 22 Question time briefs
  • 1 100 Telephone calls
  • 1 500 Public inquiries
  • 4 000 000 Swing Tags

Our History at a Glance




Our history

11. 'Radiation safety', as used in this context, captures all activities within ARPANSA's mandate.

12. Professor Peter Johnston acted in the role of Regulatory Services – Chief Inspector through to the end of the financial year. Dr Ivan Williams acted in this role through to the end of the financial year. Ivan Williams has 14 years' experience as a professional medical physicist, initially at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the largest radiation oncology centre in Australia. Interspersed with his early clinical work he obtained a MSc (Research) in Physics from the University of Melbourne by designing, building and testing a parallel-plate ionisation chamber. Between 2004 and 2008 Dr Williams was attracted back into full-time research. Supervised by Prof. Rob Lewis at Monash University he completed his PhD on 'Optimisation of Phase Contrast Imaging in Mammography'. Dr Williams then left Australia for Ireland to take up a Principal Physicist position at St Luke's Hospital, Dublin. Dr Williams left Ireland in 2010 as Acting Head of the Department of Physics at St Luke's Hospital to be the inaugural Director of the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service, ACDS.

13. Mr Martin Dwyer ceased with ARPANSA on 6 June 2014. Professor Peter Johnston acted in this role through to the end of the financial year.

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