PM Transcripts - Prime Ministers of Australia

Appointment of Departmental Secretaries

Prime Minister - Howard, John

Media Release - 30 January 2004

I am pleased to announce the appointment of a new Secretary and the re-appointment of an existing Secretary to head Commonwealth Departments.

It was with regret that I learnt of Mr Roger Beale';s decision not to seek re-appointment as Secretary when his term of appointment as Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage ends in March. It was a decision reached as the late effects of polio increasingly made it difficult for him to continue in the full-time and demanding role of Secretary. Mr Beale has worked in the Australian Public Service for over 37 years and has made an outstanding contribution to policy development, particularly in the area of the environment, and to the good practice of public administration. In his role as a Commissioner of the Public Service Board in the mid 1980s, he contributed greatly to the shaping of the modern public service.

I wish him and his wife, Venetia, all the best for the future. I have no doubt that he will remain involved in many areas of public life and that his characteristic enthusiasm will continue to be enjoyed in the Canberra community.

Following Mr Beale';s decision, it became necessary to appoint a new Secretary to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. I have today appointed Mr David Borthwick to that position to take effect on 11 March 2004 for a period of three years.

Since July 2001 Mr Borthwick has been a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for policy advice on a broad range of matters, including economic, industry and environmental issues. He came to the department from a Deputy Secretary position in the then Department of Health and Family Services and served also at the Deputy Secretary level in the Department of the Treasury from 1993 to 1998. In 1991 Mr Borthwick was appointed to serve as Australia';s Ambassador to the OECD in Paris. In 1972 he graduated with First Class Honours in Economics from Monash University in Melbourne.

I have also today appointed Dr Neil Johnston for a further term of one year from 11 March 2004 as Secretary of the Department of Veterans'; Affairs. Dr Johnston has already served two terms (eight years) in that office and I am grateful that he has agreed to remain for a further year. In the coming year, the Veterans'; Affairs portfolio will be overseeing the implementation of a new system of military compensation and of recommendations of the Clarke Review of Veterans'; Entitlements. Dr Johnston';s depth of knowledge and experience will play a vital part in that work.