Retirement of Dr Jeff Harmer AO
I congratulate Jeff Harmer AO on his outstanding service to the people of Australia and to successive governments over the past three decades.
During his distinguished career in the public service, including as the Secretary of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Dr Harmer has helped shape major social policy reforms which have contributed to improving the lives of millions of Australians.
Dr Harmer conducted the review of Australia’s pension system and retirement incomes which resulted in the most significant reforms to the pension since it was first introduced 100 years ago. He was also appointed as a member of the panel to review Australia’s Future Tax System.
Dr Harmer has been instrumental in providing advice to the Government on Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave Scheme – a historic reform that will give parents the financial security to spend more time at home in the early months of their baby’s life.
He has also helped oversee the Government’s efforts to bring lasting change to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. And he has continued to drive a national effort to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Dr Harmer is rightly renowned for an ability to combine results with a supportive work environment.
I thank Dr Harmer for his committed service and valuable advice during my time as Minister. It has been a pleasure to work with him on the Government’s ambitious social policy agenda.
Dr Harmer’s role will be filled by Mr Finn Pratt, who is currently the Secretary of the Department of Human Services and who was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Centrelink.
Mr Pratt has already established himself as a very effective leader in social policy, and is leading the work on improved service delivery reforms at the national level.
I congratulate Mr Pratt on his appointment and look forward to working with him.