Australian state education chief to lead federal department

By on 11/03/2016 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Dr Michele Bruniges will be the new secretary of the Department of Education and Training.

A senior public servant from an Australian state government has been appointed to lead a federal government department.

Dr Michele Bruniges, who currently leads the Department of Education of the New South Wales (NSW) government, will be the new secretary of the Department of Education and Training from 4 April.

In her current role, Bruniges, who has worked in the education sector for more than 25 years, is responsible for all NSW public schools, vocational education and training and early childhood education and care. She is also responsible for policy and services relating to Aboriginal affairs, volunteering, youth and community engagement.

Having started her career as primary school teacher in Sydney, Bruniges has previously held senior roles in the former Australian government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations as well as senior positions in both the Australian capital territory and NSW Departments of Education and Training.

Her qualifications include a PhD in educational measurement and a Master’s degree in education.

In January 2012, she became a Member of the Order of Australia and was appointed adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales.

In 2012, Bruniges was nationally recognised as a joint recipient of the inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards in the area of public policy and she was awarded a gold medal from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.

Last year she also received the 2015 Sir Harold Wyndham Medal Award for her contribution to the education of young people in NSW from the Australian College of Educators.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Bruniges “brings to the position a wealth of experience and expertise both as an administrator and a teacher.”

And minister for education and training Simon Birmingham said: “I look forward to working with Dr Bruniges as she brings her impressive range of experience and sterling track record as an educator and leader to her new role.”

Bruniges will replace Tony Cook who has been acting secretary at the department since February this year. Birmingham thanked Cook for his service and added that he has “provided outstanding support and leadership in the role since the retirement from the public service of [previous secretary] Lisa Paul AO.”

Turnbull also announced the reappointments of Kathryn Campbell as secretary of the Department of Human Services and Finn Pratt as secretary of the Department of Social Services, both for a period of five years.


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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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