Industry missing as Albanese shuffles department heads


James Riley
Editorial Director

The department secretary in charge of the robodebt welfare debacle at its height Kathryn Campbell has been demoted from the ranks of top mandarins as part of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s public service shake-up.

The Prime Minister has appointed four brand new secretaries in a sweeping new-look line-up of Mandarins but has yet to name a secretary to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Kathryn Campbell was shifted from her most recent role as secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where she had been appointed less than a year ago.

Ms Campbell was secretary to the Social Services department at height of the robotdebt debt recovery system that led to a class-action lawsuit that ultimately resulted in a $1.7 billion settlement being awarded against the government.

Mr Albanese said Ms Campbell would now be taking up a senior appointment in the Defence portfolio in an AUKUS-related role.

Coat of Arms
Changes at the top. Credit: Sunflowerey Shutterstock.com

The well-regarded David Fredericks will be leaving his role as secretary to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and will instead lead the newly created Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

The move leaves freshly-minted Industry minister Ed Husic without a department head – currently listed as ‘TBC’ – although an appointment is expected soon.

Mr Albanese appointed Deloitte Australia partner Natalie James as secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Ms James has an extensive career in public service and employment and workplace relations and from 2005 until 2010 was the department’s chief counsel.

Jan Adams has been appointed as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ms Adams is currently Australia’s Ambassador to Japan and has previously served as Ambassador to China, as a senior trade negotiator and as Ambassador for Climate Change.

Jenny Wilkinson has been appointed as secretary of the Department of Finance. Ms Wilkinson, currently deputy secretary at Treasury.

Dr Gordon de Brouwer returns to the Australian Public Service as secretary for Public Sector Reform, working to the Minister for the Public Service Katy Gallagher and in close partnership with Peter Woolcott, the Australian Public Service Commissioner.

The full list of departmental secretaries:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Prof Glyn Davis
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – Andrew Metcalfe
  • Attorney-General’s Department – Katherine Jones
  • Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water – David Fredericks
  • Department of Defence – Greg Moriarty
  • Department of Education – Dr Michele Bruniges
  • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations – Natalie James
  • Department of Finance – Jenny Wilkinson
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Jan Adams
  • Department of Health and Aged Care – Prof Brendan Murphy
  • Department of Home Affairs – Michael Pezzullo
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts – Jim Betts
  • Department of Industry, Science and Resources – TBC
  • Department of Social Services – Ray Griggs
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Elizabeth Cosson
  • Department of the Treasury – Dr Steven Kennedy

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