PM recommends second senior female public servant in a row to lead Finance Department
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PM recommends second senior female public servant in a row to lead Finance Department

The Prime Minister has recommended a second senior female public servant to run the Finance Department, current deputy secretary Rosemary Huxtable.

A recipient of the Public Service Medal for her work on Medicare reforms, Ms Huxtable will take on the role she has been acting in since the departure of her predecessor Jane Halton earlier this year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recommended current Finance Department Deputy Secretary Rosemary Huxtable for the top job in the department.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recommended current Finance Department Deputy Secretary Rosemary Huxtable for the top job in the department.

Ms Halton had worked with Ms Huxtable in both health and finance departments over many years.

She said Ms Huxtable would do "an absolutely superb job" in the key senior APS position.

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Former Department of Finance secretary Jane Halton.

Former Department of Finance secretary Jane Halton.Credit:Jay Cronan

As deputy secretary, Ms Huxtable has played a central role in the development of successive federal government budgets, economic statements and the financial management of the public service, including providing strategic policy advice to the highest levels of government.

Ms Halton said she had first worked with Ms Huxtable in the home and community care program in the early 1990s, and after Ms Huxtable moved to Perth, ms Halton ultimately convinced her to return to Canberra and the Health Department.

"She rose through the ranks to the position of deputy secretary when I was secretary, and ultimately moved over to Finance," Ms Halton said.

"She did a huge number of important reforms in health, to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, she has a deep policy knowledge and great reform credentials.

"I followed her over to Finance where she really was the person in Finance responsible for the budget."

Ms Halton, an advocate of gender equality and merit-based public service appointments, said the recommendation of Ms Huxtable for the job demonstrated that "women have a role in the highest levels of government".

The appointment is yet to be formalised by the approval of Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.