Prime Minister confirms new Health Secretary appointment

Matt Woodley

14/06/2023 3:15:54 PM

An experienced public servant has been tapped to fill the role being vacated by Professor Brendan Murphy.

Blair Comley
New Department of Health and Aged Care Secretary Blair Comley has experience leading other government departments at both a Commonwealth and state level. (Image: AAP)

Blair Comley, an economist with experience in both the Commonwealth and state public sectors, has been selected by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to lead the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) for at least the next five years.
Mr Comley, who will officially start on 17 July, previously served as Secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, as well as the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, and he led the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet between 2014 and 2017.
He also has private sector experience, having most recently worked as a partner and director at EY Port Jackson Partners.
Prime Minister Albanese said the incoming DoH Secretary has had a ‘distinguished career’ in the public sector and possesses strong economic qualifications.
‘With his … proven leadership navigating complex issues, Mr Comley will bring innovation and policy rigour to addressing the challenges and opportunities within our health system,’ he said. 
‘On behalf of my government, I thank Professor Brendan Murphy for his service to Australia’s health sector, as Chief Medical Officer since 2016 and as Secretary of the Department of Health since 2020.
‘Professor Murphy’s service during the COVID-19 global pandemic kept Australians safe. I wish him well as he embarks on his well-deserved retirement.’
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins also welcomed Mr Comley’s appointment and said she is looking forward to working with him to build a health system that keeps Australians healthy at all stages of their lives, ‘regardless of their postcode or income’.
‘The nation needs serious health reform to rebuild our primary health system and deliver consistent high-quality healthcare for all Australians,’ Dr Higgins said.
‘Navigating our health system is too complex for patients, GPs and aspiring GPs, and specialisation in general practice has been disincentivised by years of low investment in the most efficient part of our health system, general practice.
‘The recent Federal Budget has paved the way for change, but it is clear we need major reform to fix our health system.
‘With an outstanding record in public service, policy development and design, and leading government organisations through change, Blair Comley is well-qualified to drive this kind of reform.’
Professor Murphy will finish as DoH Secretary on 6 July.
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Blair Comley Brendan Murphy Department of Health and Aged Care

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Dr Angela Maree Roche   16/06/2023 12:31:19 AM

Oh no . The last thing we need is an economist . We know where their focus is and it is not on medicine , health , doctors or the welfare of patients. And it sounds like this person has no experience working in health previously, otherwise it would have been mentioned? Very strange choice