Who we are

The Commission’s Organisational Structure

The Essential Services Commission comprises one commissioner appointed as the Chairperson and such number of full-time and part-time additional commissioners as the Minister considers necessary to enable the Commission to perform its functions.

The current Chairperson is Dr Ron Ben-David, who took up the position in early 2009. The Commission is supported by about 70 staff, led by a Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Hamill, and an executive team comprising six directors who oversee each of the key areas of the Commission’s regulatory and corporate work.

The Commission’s regulatory and analytical staff is qualified in economics, accounting, engineering and other analytical disciplines. In addition to its staff, the Commission is also supported on an as-needs basis by specialist contractors and consultants experienced in providing analysis and advice on technical and economic regulatory matters.

Dr Ron Ben-David – Chairperson

Dr Ron Ben-David joined the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance in 1998. This was followed by a number of years in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, where he became a Deputy Secretary in 2004. In 2007, he established Victoria’s Office of Climate Change and then headed the Secretariat for the Garnaut Climate Change Review. He has served as Chairperson of the Essential Services Commission of Victoria since late 2008. Dr Ben-David has written and presented on a wide range of issues including: governance and regulation in the water industry, retail energy markets, climate change, sustainability, federalism, local government, taxi reform and economic philosophy.    He holds a B. Science (Optom), B. Comm (Hons) and Ph.D (Economics). In 2005, Dr Ben-David became a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (Vic). He is a member of numerous advisory councils.

Richard Clarke – Commissioner

Richard Clarke was appointed part-time Commissioner in March 2014.  He has had lengthy experience working as an economist in the public and private sectors.  After graduating with a Master of Economics from Monash University, he worked for the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University, Shell Australia (including five and a half years as chief economist), 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 and currently holds a risk and compliance role at law firm Hall & Wilcox.   She has acted as solicitor-assisting 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 – CEO

Dr Hamill was appointed CEO in February 2016. He has a strong public sector background, primarily gained from roles in strategic micro economic analysis, budget management, organisational performance and policy development. Most recently, he was the General Manager Regulation of the Commerce Commission of New Zealand (CCNZ) and held the position of Manager of Input Methodologies for the previous two years. Prior to the CCNZ John held several roles at at the Ministry of Justice. He has a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington.



Essential Services Commission