By Rosslyn Beeby
A new national role combining wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental advocacy is shaping as the next high-profile career move for outgoing federal Treasury Secretary Ken Henry.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed the 53-year-old’s surprising decision to step down yesterday, describing Dr Henry as ”one of the greatest of all Treasury secretaries”.
He will be replaced by Climate Change Department Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson.
Ms Gillard said Dr Henry made a ”major contribution to the wellbeing of Australians” in his decade at the helm of Treasury.
”He has been instrumental to the development of taxation policy over a long period of time, not least with his work on the review of Australia’s Future Tax System and to the public service in general.”
Dr Henry, whose Treasury career spans more than 25 years, has been the federal bureaucracy’s most public leader in recent years.
He led the Rudd government’s tax review, which reported to then prime minister a year ago, was a member of the advisory board overseeing APS reform, and often spoke publicly on economic and other policy areas.
Dr Henry declined interviews yesterday, but sources suggested a role in conservation was on his radar. He has repeatedly spoken out against kangaroo culling, describing it as symptomatic of Australia’s poor record of conservation management.
Recently, Dr Henry has met key environmental figures, including members of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.
For more on this story, including The Canberra Times’s editorial on the news, see today’s print edition.