NSW digital government executive Pia Andrews resigns, cites punishing commute

By Stephen Easton

September 19, 2019

New South Wales digital government expert Pia Andrews has stepped down from her role as an executive director in the Department of Customer Service after a year spent commuting to work in Sydney from her Canberra home.

“I wanted to publicly thank everyone I worked with, particularly my amazing teams who have put their heart, soul and minds to the task of making exceptional public services in an exceptional public sector,” she writes in a blog post. “I am really proud of the two Branches I had the privilege and delight to lead, and I know whatever comes next, that those 160 or so individuals will continue to do great things wherever they go.”

Andrews proudly catalogues a long list of what those teams have achieved over the past year. For nine months she was executive director of the department’s digital government policy and innovation branch, then worked through a new data, insights and transformation branch. 

The post also details the challenges of leaving a young family behind for several days at a time to work for the state government in Sydney. Thursday was her last day at the department, and she does not have a job lined up: “… I’m going to have a holiday first to rest, and probably spend October simply writing down all my big ideas and doing some work on rules as code before I look for the next adventure,” Andrews writes.

She thanks a list of department heads, the public service commissioner and other senior executives, crediting their “commitment and leadership” in her area of expertise with creatingthe best conditions anywhere in Australia (and likely the world!) to make great and positive change in the public service”.

I remain delighted and amazed at the unique opportunity in NSW Government to lead the way for truly innovative, holistic and user centred approaches to government,” says the highly respected public servant, whose expertise in computing combined with a penchant for boundary-pushing and big ideas has seen her turn bureaucratic heads as she has moved through a series of government jobs in Canberra, New Zealand and Sydney over recent years.

Her former boss, William Murphy, says Andrews has led teams that have “without a doubt set up the NSW digital and customer transformation agenda for success”.

“As a passionate advocate for digital and transformative approaches to deliver great public services, Pia has also been working steadily to deliver on whole-of-government approaches such as Government as a Platform, service analytics and our newly formed Transformation agenda to reimagine government,” says Murphy.

“Her unique and effective blend of systems thinking, technical creativity and vision will ensure the next stage in her career will be just as rewarding as her time with Customer Service has been.”

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