Following their appointment by the Minister for Employment in July 2017, three Deputy Commissioners have now commenced their roles at the ABCC. Anthony Southall QC, Cathy Cato and Cliff Pettit each have extensive knowledge of the industry, the agency and possess senior executive management and leadership experience.

Anthony (Tony) Southall QC, Deputy Commissioner Legal

Tony has been appointed Deputy Commissioner Legal, where he will lead the agency’s legal work and take on the role of in-house Senior Counsel.

Tony has had a 40 year career as a barrister, with the last 17 years as Senior Counsel (appointed QC in 1997). He has appeared in all jurisdictions, forums, and at all levels – including the High Court.

Tony has an extensive background as an advocate in the conduct and practice of administrative, commercial and regulatory litigation in superior Courts and Tribunals at both Commonwealth and State level. Tony also has experience in the preparation, investigation, collation and gathering of evidence for purposes of regulatory compliance and enforcement.

Tony holds a Bachelor and Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne, where he was also a tutor in law on evidence and civil procedure at Newman College.

Cathy Cato, Deputy Commissioner Operations and Code

Cathy has been appointed Deputy Commissioner Operations and Code, where she will be responsible for oversight of whole-of-agency operational matters, as well as Building Code activities.

Cathy has extensive management and operational experience in legal, investigative and regulatory environments and in-depth knowledge of workplace relations law. A lawyer for over 20 years, Cathy has spent the last two years as the National Manager Building Code at the ABCC and its predecessor agency Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC).

Prior to commencing as National Manager Building Code at FWBC, Cathy held a number of senior roles within the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, including a key role in establishing the Victorian Construction Code Compliance Unit, where she later served as Director, and as Director of Infrastructure Delivery and Commercial Contracts. Cathy also worked as a government lawyer for eight years at the Australian Government Solicitor, specialising in litigation across many jurisdictions prior to becoming a senior lawyer and State Director Legal at the former ABCC between 2007 and 2012.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University.

Cliff Pettit, Deputy Commissioner WA, SA and NT

Cliff has been appointed Deputy Commissioner WA, SA and NT where he will have oversight for the inspectorate, stakeholder management, advice and education to industry, and making recommendations for court action in those jurisdictions. Nationally, Cliff will assist the Commissioner with national policy matters, manage the wages and entitlements function (both under the Code and more broadly) and co-ordinate the handling of assessments of essential services exemption applications under section 6A of the Building Code.

Prior to his appointment as a Deputy Commissioner, Cliff was the ABCC’s Regional Manager Western. He previously held the role of the ABCC and FWBC’s General Manager Legal – Central/West.  Cliff has also held senior legal management roles across a range of other Commonwealth workplace relations agencies, including the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Workplace Authority, and the Office of the Employment Advocate.

Cliff has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia, as well as a Master of Laws from the Australian National University.