Former Finance boss Jane Halton named COTA chair

Former Finance Department boss and ANZ board member Jane Halton has been named independent chair of the Council on the Ageing.

The senior's advocacy body announced the appointment on Friday, with Ms Halton set to start the three-year position next month.

A 33-year veteran of the federal public service, she retired from Finance in late 2016 after previously leading the Department of Health and Ageing, serving as a deputy secretary at Prime Minister and Cabinet and attracting controversy during federal Parliament's inquiry into the children overboard affair.

Ms Halton is a board member for ANZ, law firm Clayton Utz and the Australian Policy Institute, as well as being an adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and University of Sydney.

After senior roles with the World Health Organisation, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councils and Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Ms Halton said she was looking forward to joining COTA.

"My first job after graduating from university more than 30 years ago was working at Australian National University's ageing and family project and I have been closely tied to the sector ever since, including negotiating and running the Home and Community Care program and being divisional head of aged care, as well as having overall responsibility for aged care as secretary for 12 years," she said in a statement.


"As we live longer and healthier lives it is vital that we have planning and strategies in place that capitalise on this wealth of our population's experience, and at the same time ensure all Australians are treated with dignity and respect as we age.

"I look forward to supporting COTA's work in speaking forcefully for consumer interests, particularly in priority areas such as aged care, retirement incomes, health policy and housing over the next three years."

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said Ms Halton was well qualified for position.

"Jane is one of Australia's most respected and experienced public health administrators and public policy experts, with extensive experience across the health spectrum, aged care, public sector finance, and governance," he said.

A closely watched public service figure, Ms Halton revealed in June she had been wrong in believing there were no barriers for womens' advancement in Canberra.

"I used to believe that there wasn't a glass ceiling, and there is," she said in a podcast interview.

"I very clearly know the first moment my head hit it, absolutely very, very clearly."