Treasury dep sec switches to Social Services after long holiday and allegations

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday January 22, 2020

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Treasury deputy secretary Matt Flavel has quietly moved to the Department of Social Services.

Flavel went on leave in October after an alleged incident with staff at the Treasury Ball. Instead of returning to his role in Treasury’s corporate services and business strategy division, this week he started as group manager for market capability in the disability and carers stream at DSS.

DSS staff reportedly received the news on Friday.

Matt Flavel

While Flavel was on leave, Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy sent out a staff email stating an internal investigation into “a number of allegations regarding the conduct of a Treasury employee” was taking place. He did not mention what the allegations were.

He said the department was following “robust processes and procedures, including independent reviews”, and assured staff his “number one priority” was their wellbeing.

“I want all employees to feel comfortable to raise difficult matters at any time, without fear of any adverse action. I want every Treasury employee to feel safe in the knowledge that these matters will be dealt with sensitively and respectfully,” he wrote.

An updated organisational chart for Treasury was circulated around an October 23 Senate estimates hearing, at the request of Labor senator Jenny McAllister. The chart listed Damien White as acting in Flavel’s position. When questioned by McAllister, White said he had filled the job that week for at least a month, “according to the secretary”.

Treasury has told The Mandarin White is still acting in the role.

Flavel worked in the Treasury for more than 16 years. He was appointed deputy secretary in 2017. Prior to that, he was head of the Budget Policy Division for two years, and head of the International Policy and Engagement Division for two years.

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