New Services Australia chief announced

Senior government executive David Hazlehurst has been appointed to lead Services Australia through the next phase of its post-Robodebt reconstruction.

Mr Hazlehurst replaces Rebecca Skinner as CEO of the embattled welfare agency after she announced her resignation in September, having started the ball rolling on the government’s reform program.

Mr Hazlehurst has held senior roles in the public service for the last 30 years including six months as interim CEO of the DTA, where he led the initial development and implementation of the government’s digital transformation agenda.

Most recently he oversaw the team supporting the NDIS Review panel as Head of Secretariat for the review with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and prior to that he worked with David Thodey on the myGov User audit.

Mr Hazlehurst also played a central role in the government’s response to the Robodebt Royal Commission, the Covid-19 Pandemic and recent natural disasters, Social Services Minister Bill Shorten said.

“Services Australia has responded to significant challenges and undergone a raft of changes since Labor came to government, including the conclusion of the Robodebt era of administration,” Mr Shorten said in a statement announcing the appointment on Tuesday.

“Mr Hazlehurst will be a steady hand to lead the agency through the next phase and I have full trust in his professionalism and ability to put our must vulnerable Australians first.”

Mr Hazlehurst has also held senior positions within the Department of  Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Austrade and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

He was selected by a panel that included CEO of Economic Justice Australia Leanne Ho, marking the first time a welfare advocate has been included on a panel in the Social Services Portfolio.

Mr Hazlehurst takes up the job in early January.

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