Australia’s finance department secretary Jane Halton resigns

By on 16/09/2016
Jane Halton is Secretary of the Department of Finance, Australia

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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See also:

Jane Halton, Secretary, Department of Finance, Australia: Exclusive interview

Civil servants in Australia ‘make stuff up’ creating bureaucracy that isn’t real’, says top official

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government: Exclusive Interview

Head of Northern Ireland civil service to stand down

Bank of England deputy governor quits for LSE role

About Ben Willis

Ben Willis is a journalist and editor with a varied background reporting on topics including public policy, the environment, renewable energy and international development. His work has appeared in a variety of national newspapers including the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Times, as well as numerous specialist business, policy and consumer publications.

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