DEDJTR to split as new secretaries named in post-election shakeup

By David Donaldson

November 29, 2018

Melbourne, Australia – March 1, 2017: View of skyscrapers and new apartment construction in Melbourne CBD

Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources will split into two new departments, the state government announced on Thursday as its full cabinet lineup was released.

DEDJTR will become the Department of Transport (DOT) and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

Simon Phemister, formerly deputy secretary, economic policy and state productivity at DPC, will take over as secretary of the new Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions when the changes occur on 1 January, 2019. He will act in that position until that time.

Corey Hannett, formerly coordinator general, major transport infrastructure program, will act as the head of Transport for Victoria until the new Department of Transport launches. He will then assume the role of acting secretary while a recruitment process takes place. Gillian Miles will move into the role of chief, integration and transition, “ensuring a strong connection is maintained between the transport and economic development portfolios.”

This represents another overhaul for the constantly changing transport portfolio, which has seen a proliferation of separate agencies to handle major infrastructure projects in recent years, duplicating roles and sapping influence from transport bureaucrats in the main department.

Rebecca Falkingham, formerly deputy secretary, social policy at DPC, will become secretary of the renamed Department of Justice and Regulation from today.

DJR will be renamed the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) in “a renewed focus on improving community safety and crime prevention in Victoria”. Crime was the major issue pushed by the opposition Coalition in the state election.

Outgoing DJR secretary Greg Wilson, who spent five and a half years at justice, will move across to DPC to lead the establishment of the Mental Health Royal Commission.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety will lead policy for the new Workplace Safety portfolio.

Justin Hanney, lead deputy secretary at DEDJTR, has been appointed CEO at the City of Melbourne.

An Economic Development Agency will be created under the umbrella of the Department of Treasury and Finance to “focus on investment attraction and commercial negotiations across government.”

The machinery of government changes take the number of Victorian department from seven to eight.

“The changes provide the Victorian Public Service with a structure that reflects the priorities of the government and will best deliver outcomes for the Victorian community, which we serve,” said DPC Secretary Chris Eccles, who is continuing in his role, in an email to public servants.

“Additional information about the specific changes impacting your department will be communicated by your secretary in the coming days.”

Eccles’ email also confirms the remaining secretaries will stay in place — Kym Peake at DHHS, John Bradley at DELWP and David Martine at Finance. Jenny Atta is acting as secretary at Education, effective today, with the departure of Gill Callister.

First word from new bosses

The new departmental heads have already begun the process of moving to new arrangements and introducing themselves.

Phemister told staff they would be supported during this period of transition:

“I’d like to acknowledge that with change can come uncertainty that can be worrying and distracting,” he said.

“Our top priority will be to ensure that you are well supported and that the impacts of transition are minimised so that we can all continue the very important work of adding vibrancy to our state’s economy and creating opportunities for all.”

Hannett, who will soon be overseeing the biggest transport building program in Australia, said his priority would be to meet with as many staff as possible in the next few weeks to understand the work already underway.

“As we plan for the changes ahead, a key part of our success will be our ability to work together, both across the transport family and with our colleagues in other departments and central agencies,” Hannett said.

“An important part of my role will be to ensure this happens, however it needs to be a core focus for all of us going forward.”

Portfolio moves

A new division, Fairer Victoria, will be established within DPC bringing together the Office of Women and Youth Affairs from the Department of Health and Human Services with DPC’s Veterans, Multicultural Affairs and Equality portfolios. Fairer Victoria “will also elevate consideration of these key groups to the centre of government”.

DPC will continue to support the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.

Industrial relations will move to DPC.

The Office of Suburban Development will move to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. The Office for Racing will move to DJPR from DJR. Sport and Recreation Victoria will move to DJPR from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Maternal Child Health and Early Parenting will move into into the health portfolio at DHHS from the Department of Education and Training.

The work on leading the competitive, commercial process to transfer Government delivered NDIS disability services to the non-government sector will return to DHHS from DPC.

The Latrobe Valley Authority and the precincts function of DPC will move to the new Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

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