Monday, 19 June 2017

Announcement of new Parliamentary Budget Officer - 19 June 2017

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Speaker’s Statement to the House

Appointment of Parliamentary Budget Officer

Members will recall that, on 13 February 2017, the President of the Senate and I announced that Mr Phil Bowen, the inaugural Parliamentary Budget Officer, will be retiring from the position when his term ends on 22 July 2017.

After advising the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, we commenced the search for a new Parliamentary Budget Officer. We looked for a person with strong public policy experience and close familiarity with the Commonwealth’s budget framework and fiscal policy issues. We also felt it important that the successful candidate have the capacity to operate in an independent and non-partisan manner with a high level of confidentiality, integrity and accountability to the Australian Parliament.

On 29 May, we advised the Joint Committee for Public Accounts and Audit of the outcome of the competitive selection process and, in accordance with the requirements of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, sought the approval of the Committee for our proposed appointment. The Committee gave its approval on 15 June.

It is my pleasure now to inform the House that the next Parliamentary Budget Officer will be Jenny Wilkinson. Ms Wilkinson is currently the Division Head, Retirement Income Policy Division in the Department of the Treasury.

Ms Wilkinson’s term will begin on Monday 24 July 2017. The President and I look forward to working with Ms Wilkinson and I am sure all members will join me in wishing her every success in her new role.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Phil Bowen for his service as Parliamentary Budget Officer. Mr Bowen has had a long and distinguished public service career, including time spent working at the then Civil Aviation Authority and the Department of Finance. He was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal in 2006.

In establishing and leading the Parliamentary Budget Office for 5 years, Mr Bowen has done an outstanding job, undertaking his duties at all times with professionalism and impartiality. The PBO’s rigorous, independent modelling and analysis has been of great assistance to members of both Houses of the Parliament and has improved the Budget process. I gratefully acknowledge his having remained in the role for longer than he originally intended, continuing to provide a great service to members and senators with the costing of policy proposals in the lead-up to the last election.

We wish Phil and his family well for his retirement.

I thank the House.

As the Committee is required to report to the Parliament on any proposed appointment to the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer, I now call the Member for Bruce to make a statement.

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