PM Transcripts - Prime Ministers of Australia

Secretary Appointments

Prime Minister - Howard, John

Media Release - 26 April 2007

Consequent on the resignation of Ms Joanna Hewitt as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Conall O'Connell as Secretary of that Department for a term of three years commencing on 7 May 2007.

Dr O'Connell has been a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Environment and Water Resources since 2003 where his responsibilities have included overseeing policies and programs related to natural resource management, biodiversity, conservation and the marine environment. He has also worked at the senior executive level in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has a PhD from the Queen's University in Belfast.

I wish to pay tribute to Ms Hewitt as she departs for Washington to join her husband who commenced a posting there at the beginning of the year. Ms Hewitt has provided strong leadership and valuable policy advice since becoming Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2004. She had previously held senior positions in the then Department of Primary Industries and Energy and in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She represented Australia as Ambassador to APEC and later as Ambassador in Brussels. I wish her well for the future.

From 7 May there will be two other changes in Secretary appointments. Ms Helen Williams will become Secretary of the Department of Human Services and Ms Patricia Scott will become Secretary of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. They have performed well in their respective departments and will, I am confident, continue to do so in their new roles. Their appointments will each be for three years.