PM Transcripts - Prime Ministers of Australia

Appointments of Secretaries

Prime Minister - Howard, John

media_Release - 22 October 2004

I am announcing some significant changes in the leadership of the Australian Public Service. A number of distinguished senior public servants are retiring or moving on to new positions; three Secretaries are to be moved between portfolios and four new appointments are to be made.

Dr Neil Johnston retired as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs from 30 September 2004. He made an outstanding contribution to public administration and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his dedication, commitment and professionalism. I wish him well for the future.

Mr Ken Matthews, Secretary of the Department of Transport and Regional Services, has indicated to me his strong interest in devoting his considerable experience and expertise to the pursuit of water reform. I am proposing to appoint Mr Matthews to be the first CEO and Executive Director of the National Water Commission, to be established in my portfolio. From next week he will take responsibility for establishing the Commission and working with the States and Territories to progress the National Water Initiative.

The contract of Mr Andrew Podger, the Public Service Commissioner, expires next January. I am pleased, given his previous role as Secretary of the Department of Health, that he has agreed to head a Task Force in my Department to examine how to improve the delivery of health services. To that end, Mr Podger intends to resign as Public Service Commissioner on 5 November 2004 once he has completed the 2003 04 State of the Service Report.

There are a number of rotations. Mr Mike Taylor is to move from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Mr Mark Sullivan is to move from the Department of Family and Community Services to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, to be replaced by Dr Jeff Harmer from the Department of Education, Science and Training.

There are four new appointments. All are women. All have had extensive leadership experience in a number of agencies.

Ms Joanna Hewitt, presently a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will become Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. After holding a number of senior positions in the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and heading the Agriculture Directorate at the OECD Secretariat, she has most recently oversighted the Doha Round agricultural negotiations.

Ms Lisa Paul, presently a Deputy Secretary in DEST, is to be appointed as the Department's Secretary. She has more than 20 years public sector experience, including as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Family and Community Services and Deputy Managing Director of the Health Insurance Commission.

Ms Patricia Scott, who is presently a Deputy Secretary in my department and was previously a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, will head the new Department of Human Services.

Ms Lynelle Briggs will be appointed as Public Service Commissioner. Presently Deputy Secretary in the Department of Transport and Regional Services, her long career has included senior positions in the Departments of Social Security, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and Health and Aged Care, as well as a two year stint in the New Zealand Treasury.

All other Secretaries remain in their present positions. The terms of Ms Helen Williams (Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts), Mr Rob Cornall (Attorney-General's Department) and Ms Jane Halton (Department of Health and Ageing), which were to expire early next year, have been extended.

The changes create a strong leadership team. I believe that the Secretaries will work together in a spirit of collegiality to ensure that the APS takes a whole-of-government approach to the development and delivery of public policy.



22 October 2004



DEPARTMENTAL SECRETARIES

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Ms J M Hewitt Attorney-General's Department Mr R J A Cornall Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Ms H R Williams AO Department of Defence Mr R Smith AO PSM Department of Education, Science and Training Ms L M Paul Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Dr P J Boxall Department of the Environment and Heritage Mr D W Borthwick PSM Department of Family and Community Services Dr J A Harmer Department of Finance and Administration Dr I J Watt Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dr A T Calvert AC Department of Health and Ageing Ms S J Halton PSM Department of Human Services Ms P M Scott Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Mr W J Farmer Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources Mr M I Paterson Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Dr P R Shergold AM Department of Transport and Regional Services Mr M J Taylor Department of the Treasury Dr K R Henry Department of Veterans' Affairs Mr M A Sullivan Public Service Commissioner Ms L J Briggs