The Essential Services Commission has three commissioners appointed by the Victorian Government with one also acting as chairperson.
The Commission is overseen by a chief executive, supported by an executive team with qualifications across economics, law, public administration and financial management, communication and organisational development as well as extensive public and private sector experience.
Our staff are a diverse and skilled group, boasting qualifications in economics, law, accounting, engineering and other analytical disciplines.
Dr Ron Ben-David – Commissioner and Chairperson
Dr Ron Ben-David joined the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance in 1998 before joining the Department of Premier and Cabinet as deputy secretary in 2004.
Establishing Victoria’s Office of Climate Change in 2007 before heading the secretariat for the Garnaut Climate Change Review, Ron was appointed chairperson of the Essential Services Commission of Victoria in late 2008.
Writing and presenting on a wide range of issues, Ron has a broad interest in all aspects of the Commission’s role in promoting the long-term interests of Victorian consumers. His articles on the water industry, retail energy markets, climate change, sustainability, and economic philosophy are well regarded in regulatory and economic circles.
He holds a Bachelor of Science (Optom), a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) and a PhD (Economics). In 2005, Ron became a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (Vic). He is a member of numerous advisory councils.
Richard Clarke – Commissioner
After working for many years as an economist in the public and private sectors, Richard Clarke was appointed a part-time commissioner for the Essential Services Commission in March 2014.
Richard graduated with a Master of Economics from Monash University before working at Monash University’s Centre of Policy Studies followed by more than five years as chief economist for Shell Australia. Richard’s resume also includes stints with the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, the Australian and New Zealand Productivity Commissions, the Better Regulation Executive (London), and the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission.
Kate Symons – Commissioner
Kate Symons was appointed part-time commissioner in October 2016. A lawyer with qualifications in public administration and corporate governance, Kate has experience across a number of sectors.
Kate has particular expertise in risk, compliance and governance issues. She acted as solicitor-assisting for the HIH Royal Commission, has held roles within the university sector and the Federal Court, and has worked in private practice both in Australia and overseas.
Dr John Hamill – Chief Executive Officer
John Hamill has a strong public sector background, gained primarily from roles in strategic micro-economic analysis, budget management, organisational performance and policy development. Most recently, he was the Manager of Input Methodologies, then General Manager, Regulation at the Commerce Commission of New Zealand.
John also held several roles at the New Zealand Ministry of Justice and has a PhD in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington.