26 July 2023

Treasurer announces new chair of Productivity Commission

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Chris Barrett

Chris Barrett previously served as Deputy Secretary of the Economic Division in the Victorian State Department of Treasury and Finance. Photo: Homes Victoria.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced that Chris Barrett is the government’s recommended appointee as Chair of the Productivity Commission.

The recommendation will be forwarded to Governor-General David Hurley for his endorsement of Mr Barrett for the term of five years, which will commence in September if approved.

In a 24 July statement, Mr Chalmers said Mr Barrett brings to the table the right skills and attributes to take the Productivity Commission into the future.

“Mr Barrett has almost three decades of experience in public policy, the majority as a senior public servant and in leading international organisations, including as Australia’s Ambassador to the OECD, Executive Director of the European Climate Foundation, and as chief of staff to former Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan,” he said.

Mr Barrett has served as Deputy Secretary of the Economic Division in the Victorian State Department of Treasury and Finance since January 2021. He has previously served as Australian Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and as Executive Director of Finance and Economics with the European Climate Foundation in Berlin.

He has a Master of Public Policy from Princeton University where he graduated first in his class, a Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

READ ALSO Shake-up at Productivity Commission

As a government agency located within the Treasury Department, the Productivity Commission is an advisory body and does not administer government programs nor exercise any power. It provides independent advice mainly focus

sed on the economy, and social and environmental issues.

But its core function is to conduct public inquiries at the request of the government on key policy or regulatory issues that influence Australia’s economic performance and community wellbeing.

Mr Chalmers said the Government is looking for ways to broaden and deepen the Productivity Commission’s work, by exploring new ways to raise Australia’s productivity performance in a rapidly evolving global economy.

“The Productivity Commission plays a key role in identifying the policy reforms that can drive economic growth, so a strong, effective and well‑led PC will be vital to Australia’s progress into the future,” Mr Chalmers said. “We see the Productivity Commission as one of Australia’s core economic institutions and we want to find ways to strengthen it further.

Mr Barrett succeeds outgoing Chair Mr Michael Brennan in the role. Mr Chalmers said the Commission had featured prominently in the national conversation about Australia’s productivity during his tenure.

“Mr Barrett’s experience – from key senior roles in important international institutions to practical experience delivering reforms in both state and federal governments – will further cement the Commission’s role as a world-class economic institution,” he added.

“I would like to thank outgoing Chair Michael Brennan for the significant contribution he has made to the Commission’s work and to the national economic debate over the past five years, and in his senior public service and ministerial advisory roles before that.”

Original Article published by Andrew McLaughlin on Riotact.

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