The former top economist at Treasury, Dr David Gruen, started work at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Monday as deputy secretary, economic.
First assistant secretary David Hazlehurst was acting in the role before Gruen’s appointment, which the department confirmed last night. DPC says he is responsible for:
“leading and coordinating domestic policy advice, focussing in particular on economic and fiscal matters [and] leading policy coordination in relation to industry, infrastructure, agricultural and environmental matters.”
Earlier this year it was reported Gruen would lead the Australian Bureau of Statistics after the retirement of Australian statistician Brian Pink in January. A spokesperson from the ABS said today they didn’t know who the next chief statistician would be, describing those news reports, some of which were rather unequivocal, as “speculation”.
The current acting Australian statistician is ABS chief operating officer Johnathan Palmer, the deputy in charge of strategy, services and technology.
At Treasury, Gruen was executive director, domestic, in the macroeconomic group. He was appointed to the very senior role in 2008, five years after he started working at the department.
He worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia for 13 years, leading the research department from 1998 to 2002, and during the 1990s was a researcher at the Australian National University’s Research School of Physical Sciences.
Gruen was awarded a Fullbright Postdoctoral Fellowship and was a visiting lecturer in the economics department and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University from 1991 to 1993. He has two doctorates — in physiology from Cambridge and economics from the Australian National University — as well as an honours degree in theoretical physics.
The new PM&C economic boss comes from a family of highly respected economists. His brother is Lateral Economics CEO Dr Nicholas Gruen and their father Fred Gruen was an agricultural economics professor at Monash University.