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Department of Health secretary Martin Bowles resigns

Department of Health secretary Martin Bowles has handed in his resignation, effective from the end of next week.

Mark Cormack, a deputy secretary responsible for strategic policy and innovation who followed Bowles across to Health from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, will be acting secretary while the government selects a successor.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Bowles had given notice in a brief statement this afternoon:

“In a public service career of almost four decades, Mr Bowles has built a well deserved reputation as a highly respected leader and driver of innovation.

“Mr Bowles joined the Australian Public Service in 2006 as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defence after a lengthy career in the Queensland and NSW public services.

“He transferred to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in 2010 and was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2012, after delivering highly successful energy efficiency policies and remediating the Home Insulation Program.

“He was appointed Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2012, where he oversaw the early stages of the significant transformation of the Department into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

“Since coming to the role of Secretary of the Department of Health in 2014, Mr Bowles has played an integral role in changes across the sector including the significant recent reforms to government funding for public hospitals in Australia, which will lead to greater efficiency, safety and quality in our hospital system.

“I thank Mr Bowles for his professionalism, dedication and significant contribution to the public service and wish him all the very best for the future.”

Bowles will leave the Australian Public Service a week earlier than the secretary of the Department of Environment and Water Resources, Gordon de Brouwer, whose resignation was announced in July and takes effect on Friday, September 8.

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Health Minister Greg Hunt added his thanks to the PMs with a personal touch: “Since I came into the Health Portfolio earlier this year, I have deeply valued Martin’s advice and guidance.”

“In particular, I would like to thank Martin for his significant contribution to the agreement with Medicines Australia which was a fundamental part of both the Health sector compacts and the Budget. This is a significant reform which ensures that Australians have access to the world’s best medicines with a sustainable Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“Martin has also undertaken significant organisational change within the Department of Health, investing in the capability of staff to better service government projects for the benefit of the Australian community.”

“Once again I thank Martin for his distinguished career of public service, and I wish him all the very best for his future endeavours.”

Author Bio

Stephen Easton

Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.