07.09.2017

Reshuffle of the century shakes up the APS: new heads for 9 departments


Public servants in nine federal departments will soon work for a different secretary than they do today, following a cascade of changes at the highest level of the Australian Public Service announced this afternoon.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also confirmed that Michael Pezzullo, secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, is in line to lead the new Department of Home Affairs as widely speculated.

Two deputy secretaries have been promoted to the top level to fill the gaps left by former Health boss Martin Bowles, who made a sudden departure recently, and Department of the Environment and Energy chief Gordon de Brouwer, whose last day is tomorrow. But they won’t be directly replacing them, due to a major shake-up the likes of which has not been seen in the Australian Public Service for very long time, if ever.

Kerri Hartland (pictured above), who leads business-enabling services at the Department of Finance, will become the secretary of the Department of Employment.

Steven Kennedy

Steven Kennedy from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be the new secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Both take up their roles on September 18.

Turnbull’s statement also confirms Verona Burgess was right on the money when she reported Glenys Beauchamp was expected to move from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to lead Health.

Finn Pratt is set to move from the Department of Social Services and take over Environment and Energy from de Brouwer. “These appointments lead to other movements,” Turnbull said this afternoon:

Who is going where?


“Dr Heather Smith PSM will move from the Department of Communications and the Arts to be the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

“Ms Kathryn Campbell CSC will move from the Secretary of the Department of Human Services to the Secretary of the Department of Social Services.

“Mr Mike Mrdak AO will move from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to become the Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts.

“Ms Renée Leon PSM, will also move from the Department of Employment to become the Secretary of the Department of Human Services.

“These Secretaries have extensive careers in the Australian Public Service at senior levels, with responsibility for a number of significant government reforms and programs. I thank these Secretaries for their continued leadership in the APS.

“The movements mean there are two vacancies. I am pleased to announce two promotions to Secretary positions. Ms Kerri Hartland will be the Secretary of the Department of Employment and Dr Steven Kennedy PSM will be the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

“Ms Hartland has extensive experience and expertise across the Commonwealth Government. She spent five years in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and has been a Deputy Secretary in two Departments (Human Services and Finance). Notably, Ms Hartland became the first woman to serve as Deputy Director-General of ASIO and is the only ASIO officer to be publicly declared other than the Director-General.

“Dr Kennedy is currently a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for Innovation and Transformation. He has led work on the cities agenda, regulatory reform, public data and digital innovation. Dr Kennedy was previously a Deputy Secretary in several Departments (Industry, Innovation and Science; Environment; Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; and Climate Change and Energy Efficiency).”

“These new Secretary appointments will be for five years, commencing on 18 September 2017.

“Finally, Mr Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, is the Secretary-designate for the Department of Home Affairs. This appointment will be finalised when the Department of Home Affairs is established. I will provide further details on this in due course.

“I thank the Secretaries for their public service and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”

Correction: We miscounted one of the departments. Nine departments, not 10 have been swept up in the reshuffle.

Images: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Twitter accounts.