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Greg Wilson, Gill Callister and Richard Bolt resign as MOG rumours fly

Gill Callister, Greg Wilson and Richard Bolt, the heads of Victoria’s education, justice and economic development super departments, have announced their resignations ahead of post-election machinery of government changes.

Wilson and Callister said they were taking up new roles, while Bolt is said to have resigned for family reasons.

Callister (pictured above) announced she would be stepping down in an email to colleagues on Wednesday.

“A new term of government provides the opportunity for refresh and in this context, I will be leaving the role of secretary of the Department of Education and Training to take up a new position,” said Callister.

“It has been a great honour to lead this department through once in a lifetime reforms. I am extremely proud of the tangible improvements to the lives of Victorians that we have delivered over the past four years.”



Callister will instead take up the role of associate dean at ANZSOG responsible for integrity and ethics, service delivery design and place management, in Australia and the ASEAN region. She is also leaving her job as president of IPAA Victoria.

Jenny Atta, deputy secretary infrastructure finance and services group, will be acting secretary “for the time being”, the email said.

Greg Wilson wrote to staff this week to confirm that he’ll be stepping down after nearly 10 years as a secretary in the Victorian government, the last 5 and a half as secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation. Wilson also headed the former Department of Sustainability and Environment for nearly four years.

He’ll soon be heading to the Department of Premier and Cabinet to take up another role.

Greg Wilson supporting ’16 days of Activism’ on the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Wilson thanks the people of the Justice portfolio for their dedication and support during his tenure, and called out their achievements including:

  • Numerous initiatives in partnership with the Aboriginal community under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement Phase 3 and the recent signing of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement Phase 4;
  • The progress we’ve made in implementing the recommendations of both the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse, including the recently established redress scheme;
  • Significant reforms to the criminal justice system including changes to parole, bail, sentencing, post sentence supervision of serious sex offenders and violent offenders, community correctional services and the expungement of historical convictions for homosexual activity;
  • Managed significant growth in the corrections system with the recruitment of additional CCS and prison staff, expansion of new offices and investment in additional prison beds, including Ravenhall Prison;
  • The successful transition and integration of Youth Justice into the Department;
  • Implementation of numerous Community Safety Statement and Crime Prevention initiatives;
  • The establishment of a number of new entities, including Court Services Victoria, Emergency Management Victoria, the Inspector General Emergency Management, the Crime Statistics Authority, the Post Sentence Authority, Fines Victoria and Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Victoria;
  • Review of the Human Rights Charter and Access to Justice;
  • Numerous reforms in Consumer Affairs, Liquor, Gaming and Racing; and
  • Continued community services and operations, including Victims Support, Births, Deaths and Marriages, Working with Children Checks and dispute settlement services.

Richard Bolt, head of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, announced his resignation in an email on Tuesday after the premier announced four new faces in cabinet.

Richard Bolt

“As you know, the premier has announced his new ministers, which will be followed by announcements of portfolio allocations and consequential machinery of government changes.

“I decided many months ago that I would not seek a further contract as secretary. To enable a leadership refresh at the outset of the new term, I will go on leave from Thursday and finish formally at the end of the year.

“It has been a privilege to work for 12 years leading three departments under five premiers. I am particularly grateful to premier Bracks for my 2006 start as secretary for primary industries, premier Baillieu for my opportunity to lead education, and Premier Andrews for tasking me with the most challenging and rewarding four years of my career as head of DEDJTR,” he wrote.

“The time is right for me to move to the next stage of my working life, in which I hope to make a substantial but different contribution to our state and country.”

Bolt revealed he had “family reasons” for moving on, including the loss of three close family members in the last two years.

MOG speculation

There are whispers around the Victorian Public Service about machinery of government changes following the re-election of the Labor party to government in an unexpectedly strong result on Saturday, and plenty of rumours about who’s moving where.

Many expect the gigantic Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to be split up, with transport and economic development going their separate ways.

The government would not yet be drawn on what any MOG changes might look like, however. It is expected the full cabinet and portfolio rearrangements will be announced in the next couple of days.

The four new ministers will be Adem Somyurek, Jaclyn Symes, Gabrielle Williams and Melissa Horne — though it is not yet clear what positions they will hold.

The Andrews government has already announced the cabinet will be 50% women, and that three ministers will not be returning: Natalie Hutchins, minister for women, local government, Indigenous affairs and industrial relations; Phillip Dalidakis, minister for innovation; and John Eren, minister for tourism, major events, sport and veterans.

Callister names greatest reforms

The outgoing DET secretary said she was “particularly proud” of the department’s work to:

  • Implement our regional model — Learning Places, Regional Performance Framework and regional performance reviews
  • Develop a principal health and wellbeing strategy
  • Deliver a capital funding program resulting in state of the art school and early childhood facilities
  • Implement school readiness funding for kindergartens – an Australian first initiative to reduce disadvantage in the early years
  • Develop the Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan in partnership with Aboriginal communities
  • Support vulnerable young people through the navigator and lookout programs
  • Strengthen Victoria’s training and TAFE system
  • Establish ten rech schools
  • Deliver Victoria’s best ever NAPLAN results through a re-energised literacy and numeracy strategy.

The past four years “have also been a period of unprecedented integrity reform — ensuring that the department met the highest standards of accountability and governance”.

The department has endured high profile integrity scandals, which have played out in the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and media. Callister has been a visible leader of reforms to prevent similar problems in future.

“We have come a very long way in providing value and confidence in our education system, and are modelling a values-driven organisational culture.

“The reforms are now showing real signs of success and have gained their own momentum. The department is a trusted and connected organisation that upholds the highest ethical standards.

“I am very proud to work with great staff including the tens of thousands of exceptional principals, teachers, corporate staff, maternal child health nurses and people in the TAFE and training sector.

“There is no greater honour than to serve those who deliver our education system.

“Throughout my career, I have been passionate about supporting evidence-based policies, client-centric services, and delivering tangible outcomes for Victorians.

“I plan to continue my commitment to public policy by taking up the position of Associate Dean, ANZSOG responsible for integrity and ethics, service delivery design and place management, in Australia and the ASEAN region.

“It is a privilege to shape the lives of young Victorians. I know that you will continue to do this with pride and commitment.

“I am particularly delighted that the Victorian government has committed to the introduction of three-year-old kindergarten, which is a landmark reform for Victoria.

“Jenny Atta, Deputy Secretary Infrastructure Finance and Services Group will be acting secretary for the time being.

“I remain passionate about public service and education and will continue to contribute in these areas. Thank you for your support and ongoing work.”

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne.