Health dept head makes comeback from retirement

In other news

  • Leadership spill after sports grant scandal
  • Administrator appointed at Balranald Shire sacked
  • NSW digital head quits for Queensland

Glenys Beauchamp comes out of retirement

After announcing her retirement as Health Department Secretary last month, Glenys Beauchamp has offered to return while her successor responds to the coronavirus.

Glenys Beauchamp

Brendan Murphy was last month appointed to replace Ms Beauchamp, becoming the first medical doctor ever to serve as a health secretary. However, as Chief Medical Officer, he has recently become the face of the national response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Health minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that Ms Beauchamp offered to return to her post so the incoming secretary could continue to focus on the virus outbreak.

Mr Hunt told reporters that Ms Beauchamp had approached him about postponing her retirement saying “I think I should be back on deck” and he accepted the offer.

Dr Murphy did not say how long it would before he would be able to take up the top health role.

“We will assess the situation on a regular basis and I’ll consult with the Minister about what’s the appropriate time.”

Ms Beauchamp, who has been health department secretary since September 2017, announced last month she had commenced leave and said she would start her retirement on February 28.

Ms Beauchamp has worked in the Australian Public Service for over 21 years, including nine years at secretary level and 13 years with the ACT public service.

In 2010, she received the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in coordinating the government’s response to the 2009 Victorian bushfires.


Spills and thrills at federal parliament

Bridget McKenzie

Nationals leader Michael McCormack has narrowly survived a leadership challenge from Barnaby Joyce that came in the wake of the resignation of deputy Bridget McKenzie over a sports grants scandal.

Ms McKenzie had been under siege since an ANAO report found she had funneled money from a federal sports grant program that she oversaw into marginal seats. She announced her resignation on Sunday after an investigation of the scheme by DPMC secretary Philip Gaetjens.

The investigation found Ms McKenzie had failed to disclose her membership of a gun club which received almost $36,000 from the program.

Mr McCormack retained his position 11 votes to 10 with David Littleproud elected as his deputy.

Change is also afoot in the Greens with Richard Di Natale’s announcement he is stepping down to spend time with his family followed by the election of Adam Bandt as parliamentary leader.

Mr Bandt was elected uncontested.


Adminstrator appointed at Balranald Shire council

Mike Colreavy has been appointed as administrator for Balranald Council by NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock.

Ms Hancock sacked the entire council after an inquiry by Commissioner Roslyn McCulloch found it was “plagued by entrenched performance and behavioural issues”

“I have accepted the recommendation by Commissioner Roslyn McCulloch to dismiss the elected representatives and appoint an administrator to perform the role of the mayor and councillors until 2024,” she said.

“This course of action will provide the best possible way to strengthen the operation, performance and sustainability of the council and ensure it is serving the best interests of the local community.”

Mr Colreavy has almost 40 years experience in local government including as a general manager at various metropolitan, regional and rural councils.


Qld Premier questioned over New Chief of Staff

Questions have been raised about a $300,000 payout given to Queensland’s former under treasurer Jim Murphy, who has since been appointed as the new Chief of Staff for Queenlsand Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Treasurer Jackie Trad told parliament on Tuesday that the payout was in the terms of his contract.

Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Murphy has had a distinguished career, including working the PMO and Federal Treasury.

The Premier’s Acting Chief of Staff Mark Cridland has returned to his former role of Deputy Director-General in the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Premier’s former chief of staff David Bargaballo stood down in September and is currently being investigated by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission in relation to a grant allocation process.


Service NSW digital head quits to spearhead transformation in Queensland

Chris Fechner has commenced a new role as Chief Customer and Digital Officer with Queensland’s Department of Housing and Public works, leaving his post at Service NSW.

Mr Fechner began as Chief Digital and Product Officer with Service NSW in April and was previously CIO with the Department of Planning and Environment and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

During his time with Service NSW he oversaw the implementation of the digital drivers licence and the governments Cost of Living Reduction Program.

In Mr Fechner’s new role he will focus on driving customer and digital transformation across government, an HPW spokesman said.

He’ll play a leadership role in assuring customer-centric service delivery and investment in digital projects.



Former head of Digital Transformation Office diesPaul Shetler

The founding CEO of the agency established to transform the government’s digital services has died after suffering a heart attack.

Paul Shetler, 59, was appointed in 2015 by the then communications minister Malcolm Turnbull to take up the role of chief executive of the Digital Transformation Office, later to become the DTA.

Mr Shetler was widely regarded as an outspoken reformer and visionary, with Mr Turnbull descrbing him in a Twitter tribute as “innovative as he was iconoclastic”.

Mr Shetler worked at the UK’s Government Digital Service before relocating to Australia.



Francine Binns has been appointed CEO of the NSW branch of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

Francine Binns

She has held senior executive and board positions both locally and overseas, including Australian Institute of Company Directors and City Tattersalls Club.

Ms Binns said she was looking forward to working with members and the broader NSW community to drive initiatives that delivered excellence in public works and services.

“IPWEA NSW has a strong commitment to diversity, advocacy and engaging public works professionals to improve the quality of life of NSW Communities.  We only have to reflect on the recent tragic bush fires occurring across NSW to appreciate the important role public works professionals have in our community.  I am thrilled to be taking on this role” she said.

The organisation is currently expanding its traditional local government engineering focus to cover all levels of government.


New government service specialist at Norton Rose Fulbright

Lawyer Ren Niemann, formerly national head of government services and lead partner for the Queensland Government with McCullough Robertson, is joining global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

Mr Niemann advises government on construction, infrastructure and procurement projects across many sectors including defence, transport, health, education, waste, water, telecommunications and energy.

“There has been a groundswell of activity in recent years across defence, transport, health, education, renewables, waste and water, and social infrastructure, which is expected to continue,” he said.

“In that time I have been fortunate to support major clients across all of these industries and sectors, while working closely with state and local governments across Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory.

“I look forward to the additional support I can bring to these clients at Norton Rose Fulbright, with its strong and growing national government, projects and construction teams.”

The appointment boosts Norton Rose Fulbright’s expanding government capability.


Laing O’Rourke selected to clean-up NSW bushfires

Construction and engineering firm Laing O’Rourke Australia has been selected as the lead contractor to undertake the cleanup after the bushfires that devastated parts of NSW.

Managing director Cathal O’Rourke said teams would be sent to affected communities in coming weeks to liaise with property owners and being planning for the task ahead.

“We will work with local subcontractors and regional small businesses across NSW to ensure they are engaged in the delivery of the clean-up process – providing much needed stimulus to local economies,” he said.

The Commonwealth and the NSW government have announced they’ll share the cost of the residential and commercial clean-up, with the cost expected to run into the hundreds of millions.



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