AUSTRALIA’S new Agriculture, Water and Environment Department will be led by Andrew Metcalfe AO – the man who oversaw last year’s Ernst Young review into Australian Wool Innovation’s performance and governance.
Mr Metcalfe’s appointment to replace outgoing agriculture department secretary Daryl Quinlivan in a reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday has been welcomed by wool bodies.
No ministerial changes are expected with the changes, which will reduce the number of federal department from 18 to 14, including consolidating the environment functions of the current Department of the Environment and Energy with agriculture in the new Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
The current Minister for Water Resources is David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture is Bridget McKenzie and Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, will continue as the Minister for Environment. As McKenzie’s predecessor, Mr Littleproud in February last year announced that Mr Metcalfe, EY’s Federal Government lead partner, would lead the AWI performance and governance review.
The review made 82 recommendations to improve AWI’s governance and performance, many with 2018 implementation deadlines that were not met. However, despite Mr Littleproud demanding full implementation of the 82 recommendations by AWI, the process has been plagued by delays and interpretations of the review’s intent, industry negotiations, and complaints from wool bodies about the role of the department.
After recent 2019 AWI annual general meeting, AWI claimed that shareholder endorsement of constitutional changes recommended by the review took the overall implementation rate to 96 percent, with 73 out of 82 recommendations (89 per cent) now implemented in full. AWI expects to implement the remaining recommendations in 2020. The review’s 10-year director tenure recommendation is the subject of ongoing consultation with the wool industry and is expected to be put to shareholders at AWI’s 2020 AGM.
In a release today, Mr Morrison said Mr Metcalfe was secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship from 2005 to 2012 and secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2013. Since then he has been a partner at EY.
“He will bring considerable public policy leadership experience to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and to the Secretaries Board,” the Prime Minister said.
Wool bodies welcome Metcalfe appointment
WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall welcomed Mr Metcalfe’s appointment and thanked Mr Quinlivan for his service.
“The department has a number of things, including the modernising RDCs review and the WoolPoll review that we look forward to being handled efficiently and effectively.”
The department is currently working on the terms of reference of the WoolPoll review.
Australian Wool Growers Association director Rob Ingram said given Mr Metcalfe’s performance in leading the AWI review, AWGA regarded his appointment as “extremely positive.”
“We think that it has reform in mind.”
New structure to drive collaboration – Morrison
Mr Morrison said that the Governor-General this morning approved his recommendation to reduce the number of Government departments from 18 to 14, to ensure the services that Australians rely on are delivered more efficiently and effectively.
“Australians should be able to access simple and reliable services, designed around their needs. Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people.
“The new structure will drive greater collaboration on important policy challenges,” Mr Morrison said.
“For example, better integrating the government’s education and skills agenda and ensuring Australians living in regional areas can access the infrastructure and services they need.”
The following changes will take effect on 1 February 2020:
The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, which will consolidate: the current Department of Education; and the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
The creation of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which will consolidate: the current Department of Agriculture; and environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy.
The creation of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which will consolidate: the current Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy; and small business functions from the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
The creation of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which will consolidate: the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and the current Department of Communications and the Arts.
The department known as Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) will be established as a new Executive Agency, within the Social Services Department.
Ten departments remain unchanged
Mr Morrison said he was also announcing that the remit of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency will be expanded to include drought.
“The Hon Shane Stone AC QC will lead the new National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, providing national leadership and a whole-of-government response to support our farmers and regional communities as they respond to, and recover from, the drought and the north Queensland flood from earlier this year.”
The agency will sit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and report to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, Mr Littleproud.
As a consequence of these machinery changes, there will be movement and change amongst the secretaries of departments, Mr Morrison said. The following secretaries will not continue to hold office in the new structure when it takes effect on 1 February 2020:
Ms Kerri Hartland;
Ms Renée Leon PSM;
Mr Mike Mrdak AO;
Mr Daryl Quinlivan; and
Dr Heather Smith PSM.
“Each of these senior officials has served their country with dedication, commitment and a deep sense of public service over many years, and their advice, achievements and leadership have been valued by governments past and present,” Mr Morrison said.
“On behalf of the Government and all Australians, I thank Ms Hartland, Ms Leon, Mr Mrdak, Mr Quinlivan and Dr Smith for everything they have done to advance Australia’s interests, and for their service, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”
Mr David Fredericks, currently the secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, will move to be secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Mr Morrison said the new structure will be implemented before parliament returns next year.
The new structure of departments and secretaries, on 1 February 2020, will be:
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Andrew Metcalfe AO
Attorney-General’s Department Chris Moraitis PSM
Department of Defence Mr Greg Moriarty
Department of Education, Skills and Employment Dr Michelle Bruniges AM
Department of Finance Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson
Department of Health Glenys Beauchamp PSM
Department of Home Affairs Michael Pezzullo
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources David Fredericks
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications Simon Atkinson
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Philip Gaetjens
Department of Social Services Kathryn Campbell AO CSC
Department of the Treasury Dr Steven Kennedy PSM
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Liz Cosson AM CSC