Federal Attorney General’s Department head to leave

Roger Wilkins

Another of Canberra’s top public service positions has been thrown open without a successor named, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed on Friday that Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Roger Wilkins AO, will depart at the end of August.

Mr Wilkins was an unexpected survivor following significant machinery of government changes in the wake of the so-called ‘night of the short knives’ that dispatched Andrew Metcalfe, Don Russell and Blair Comley respectively from Agriculture, Industry and Energy.

“Mr Wilkins has had a distinguished public service career, having led the Attorney-General’s Department since September 2008,” Mr Abbott said, adding that an announcement of a successor would come would be made “in the near future.”

Aside from his long stint as the head of AGD, Mr Wilkins has also been the Director-General of the Cabinet Office in New South Wales from 1992 to 2006 and the Director-General of the Ministry of Arts in New South Wales from 2001-2006.

Meanwhile, the public service is still waiting for an announcement of a replacement for Jane Halton at the Department of Health after she was appointed to the pivotal role of Secretary of the Department of Finance.

Health Minister Peter Dutton’s still headless department has for the past week been attempting reassure worried stakeholders over the proposed outsourcing of Medicare and PBS payments that the government wants “commercial” providers to undertake.

Australia Post has reportedly expressed strong interest in the work.

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