Immigration appoints comms branch head, dep sec to review detention

The freshly restructured Immigration department has made two new senior appointments: a communications boss starting next week, and a deputy secretary charged with a “fundamental review” of detention operations brought on board in May.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has appointed a new senior executive to run its communications branch in Mark Jeffries, who has been acting in an SES Band 1 role at the Department of Defence heading up the ministerial and corporate support branch.

The Mandarin can confirm Jeffries starts in the new position — which is a promotion as he will now be a permanent assistant secretary, or branch head — on Monday.

As would any communications executive, Jeffries will have his work cut out for him in the media space, owing to the intense scrutiny attracted by ongoing public controversy over conditions in detention centres, and the increasing focus on border protection in immigration policy under both Labor and Coalition governments over recent decades.

DIBP has also just emerged from the integration process that saw it absorb the former Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and transform it into the Australian Border Force to act as DIBP’s operational arm, and is constantly the subject of negative publicity, which its secretary Michael Pezzullo has attributed mainly to political opponents of the government policy he is bound to administer.

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