Scott Morrison has announced a major overhaul of Australia’s public service that will see four departments eliminated and five secretaries lose their jobs.
Three of the five secretaries, some of Australia’s top bureaucrats, are women.
Kerri Hartland, secretary of the Department of Employment and Skills, Renee Leon, secretary of the Department of Human Resources, and Heather Smith, secretary of the Department of Industry will be out of their jobs from February 2020.
Daryl Quinlivan, from Agriculture and Water Resources and Mike Mrdak, from Communications will also lose their jobs.
It has been reported that senior officials were largely unaware of the overhaul plans and that secretaries didn’t get the chance to provide advice or feedback on the proposal.
Meanwhile, Morrison has appointed Andrew Metcalfe as the new head of the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. He was previously sacked by the Coalition government from his position as the head of the Department of Agriculture in 2013.
The overhaul will see the existing departments shrink from 18 to 14 from February 2020.
Under the changes, the Department of Communications and the Arts will be merged into a new entity named the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. There will no longer be a federal department with a major focus on arts.
The new Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will consolidate the current Industry department with the energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy. This new department will be responsible for emissions reduction.
Environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy will now be moved to a new Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
David Fredericks, currently the head of the Department of the Environment and Energy will become the secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
Morrison said the overhaul was not a cost saving measure.
“This has not been done as a saving measure, this has been done as a structural issue to better align and bring together the functions of the public service,” he said.
“Having fewer departments will allows us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people.”