Our Board of Management

The Board of Management is collectively responsible for the long-term performance, business success and timely delivery of government's key priorities for the department.

The Board's role is to provide leadership and decision-making that sets the strategic direction of the department to enable it to meet its goals and objectives, in particular:

  • Establish and communicate the department's policy direction and accompanying strategic priorities through the department's strategic plan. This includes ongoing review of performance against goals
  • Champion corporate governance and risk management, including strategic investment, structures, internal controls and culture, across the department
  • Provide strategic decision-making leadership that will further the department's purpose, its policies and strategic direction
  • Monitor the effective, efficient and ethical manner in which the department delivers its service standards
  • Provide a role model of the values and behaviours expected of all employees.

Profiles of the Board of Management

Dr Chris Sarra, Director-General

Dr Chris Sarra is a Gurang Gurang/Taribelang man from Bundaberg.

In May 2023, Dr Sarra became Director-General for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Dr Sarra’s strong and positive sense of culture and identity is leading DAF’s continued commitment to working within diverse environments and industries across both land and sea.

Dr Sarra brings a wealth of 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 be able to thrive, Dr Sarra, became Director-General, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Queensland Government. He worked to build a reframed relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and government.

The youngest of 10 children, he became the first Aboriginal principal of Cherbourg State School in southeast Queensland in 1998, where he significantly improved the educational and life outcomes of students. He did this through a ‘strong and smart’ philosophy, which encourages students to have a positive sense of cultural identity and embrace positive community leadership.

Dr Sarra carried this philosophy over to found the Stronger Smarter Institute in 2005, which works with schools and community leaders across Australia to deliver the stronger smarter approach to Indigenous students.

Dr Sarra holds a PhD in Psychology from Murdoch University with his thesis Strong and Smart - Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation: Education for First Peoples published by Routledge in 2012. He also has a Bachelor of Education, Master of Teaching and an Executive Masters in Public Administration. He was named Queenslander of the Year in 2004 and was Queensland’s Australian of the Year in 2010.

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. He was also named the NAIDOC Person of the Year in 2016, in recognition of his efforts to improve Aboriginal educational outcomes throughout Australia.

The following year, Dr Sarra received the Anthony Mundine Award for Courage at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards in 2017 and was also included in a new advisory group set up to help the federal government transform its relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

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

Dr Rachel Chay was appointed as the new Deputy Director-General & Chief Biosecurity Officer for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in early 2023.

Prior to this, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). She has worked in animal health, regulatory and government leadership roles for 25 years. She believes in lifelong learning and has an undergraduate qualification in Veterinary Science along with Master’s degrees in both Human Resources and Organisational Development and Public Administration.

Her focus is on effective public sector leadership, building organisational capability and strong, collaborative partnerships with stakeholders to ensure Biosecurity Queensland continues to protect Queensland’s ecosystems, industries and our way of life along with maintaining our reputation for product safety and integrity and ongoing market access for our commodities.

Bernadette Ditchfield, Deputy Director-General, Agriculture

Bernadette is responsible for leading the development of 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. Bernadette is also responsible for leading the department’s FutureDAF initiative, which works with all departmental staff to drive innovation and a culture of continuous improvement.

Bernadette has more than 20 years experience in the private and public sectors, and has held senior roles in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland Treasury and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Graeme Bolton, Deputy Director-General, Fisheries and Forestry

Born and raised in North Queensland, Graeme 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.

Graeme recently spent five years in the Middle East, where he was responsible for the delivery of 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.

Upon returning to Australia, Graeme took up a senior executive role with the Townsville City Council before re-joining the Queensland Government. Graeme has more than 20 years’ experience in leading multi-disciplinary organisations in the private sector, local and state governments, and internationally with the government of Qatar.

Dr Ian Mackie, Deputy Director-General, Rural Communities

Dr Mackie was appointed as the new Deputy Director-General for Rural Communities for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in May 2023.

He will drive a strong enterprise approach to stimulating jobs and other employment opportunities in regional and remote communities in Queensland. His remit extends beyond this department, strengthening relationships across local government and the Commonwealth and other agencies, as well as with community and industry stakeholders.

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 (DSDSATSIP). Other significant roles Dr Mackie held include Executive Director of Cape York Co-ordination (Premier and Cabinet) and Assistant Director-General, Indigenous Education and Training Futures (Education Queensland). He helped improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.