Australia’s finance department secretary Jane Halton resigns
The secretary of Australia’s finance department, Jane Halton, the first woman to run an Australian federal-level central agency, has announced her resignation.
Halton was appointed to the position in 2014, after having served 12 years as secretary of the Department of Health. She will leave the post in mid October.
During her time at the finance department, Halton has been responsible for instituting a major government spending reduction programme, the ‘Smaller Government’ initiative, which has seen the number of state agencies and employees dramatically scaled back.
In an interview with Global Government Forum at the end of 2015, Halton put a positive slant on the reforms and their possible impact on morale in Australia’s civil service. “People are very taken with the opportunity to look at what a modern public sector would be like,” she said. “I think they are also realistic that public sector jobs wax and wane as circumstances dictate.”
She was also upbeat about the possible impact of losing so many government organisations on the delivery of services, arguing that many of the scrapped bodies offered “very boutique and specialised” services.
And commenting on her position as a top civil servant in a largely male-dominated profession, Halton said: “To say that I am relatively used to working in an environment where there aren’t a lot of other women around is a statement of the obvious.”
Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, commended Halton for her “enormous contribution in public life”, in particular as a leader for women in the public sector.
Finance minister Mathias Cormann added in a statement: “Having served an incredible 15 years out of 33 as a senior secretary, first in health and more recently in finance, Jane has made a major contribution to our country across a wide range of public policy and public administration areas.”
The finance department’s deputy secretary Rosemary Huxtable will act as secretary after Halton’s departure until a full-time appointment is made.
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