27 September 2023

PM&C’s Parkinson to move on

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The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), Martin Parkinson (pictured) is to step down next month.

Dr Parkinson has decided to leave the position at the end of August, ahead of his term expiring in 2021.

A former Secretary of Treasury, Dr Parkinson took over the PM&C role under former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in 2016 and in an interview this week said he had already planned to retire when his term ended but wanted to give Prime Minister, Scott Morrison the chance to work with a new Department head for the next three years.

“I came to the view it was better all round that he had someone who could go the full term with him,” Dr Parkinson said.

Dr Parkinson said he left the Australian Public Service (APS) facing reform, including technological changes and an end to the idea that people worked in silos.

“What I want is a Public Service that is knowledge-based, curious, looking all the time for how existing policies are working, at what future policies should be, engaged in collaborating with people inside the Public Service as well as outside,” he said.

“My concern is that a lot of Public Servants think disruption is something that happens to other people.”

He said the Australian public had become used to Amazon-levels of digital service delivery, and the APS was lagging behind — “a long way behind”.

Prime Minister Morrison thanked Dr Parkinson not only for his service to the Department, “but for his work over a much longer period”.

Dr Parkinson is to be replaced at PM&C by the Secretary of Treasury, Philip Gaetjens who in turn will be replaced by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Steven Kennedy.

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