About the Department
The Department of Health and Ageing’s vision, as outlined in the 2006-09 Department of Health and Ageing Corporate Plan
, is of better health and active ageing for all Australians.
In 2005-06, the Department was responsible for achieving the Australian Government’s priorities (outcomes) for population health, medicines and medical services, aged care and population ageing, primary care, rural health, hearing services, Indigenous health, private health, health system capacity and quality, acute care, health and medical research, biosecurity and emergency response.
The Department worked to achieve the Australian Government’s priorities through its policy, program, research and regulations activities, and by leading and working with other government agencies, consumers and stakeholders. The Department operated under the Public Service Act 1999
and the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
. The Department also administered a large number of Acts which are listed in Appendix 4 - Freedom of Information.
A detailed discussion of the Department’s activities in 2005-06 can be found in Part Two - Outcome Performance Reports.
Back: Mary Murnane, Deputy Secretary; Jane Halton, Secretary.
Front: Professor John Horvath AO, Chief Medical Officer; Philip Davies, Deputy Secretary.
Jane Halton - Secretary
Ms Jane Halton was appointed as Secretary to the Department in January 2002. In 2005-06, Ms Halton had overall responsibility for the efficient administration of the Department and for the corporate and strategic directions of the Department and portfolio. She also provided the most senior policy counsel on major and sensitive policy issues to the ministerial team.
Following an increase in the Department’s work and responsibilities in 2005-06, including major Council of Australian Governments-driven reforms and the establishment of the new Office of Health Protection, Ms Halton reorganised the Executive team in early June, and promoted Mr David Kalisch and Mr David Learmonth to the position of Deputy Secretary.
Professor John Horvath AO - Chief Medical Officer
Professor John Horvath AO was appointed as Chief Medical Officer in September 2003. In 2005-06, Professor Horvath provided support to the Minister and the Department across the full range of professional health issues, including health and medical research, public health, medical workforce, quality of care, evidence-based medicine and an outcomes-focused health system. He also had responsibility for the continuous development of professional relationships between the Department and the medical profession, medical colleges and universities.
Mary Murnane - Deputy Secretary
Ms Mary Murnane became Deputy Secretary with the Department in May 1993. Ms Murnane’s responsibilities in 2005-06 encompassed ageing and aged care, population health, biosecurity and health protection, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, infrastructure and research.
Ms Murnane also oversaw the Department’s Ageing and Aged Care and Population Health Divisions, the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, the Department’s State and Territory Offices in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory, and portfolio interests in the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Philip Davies - Deputy Secretary
Mr Philip Davies joined the Department as Deputy Secretary in 2002. Mr Davies had specific responsibility in 2005-06 for issues relating to medical and pharmaceutical benefits, acute care, health financing, workforce, quality, e-health and private health insurance. He oversaw the Department’s Primary Care, Medical and Pharmaceutical Services, Health Services Improvement and Acute Care Divisions, together with the Department’s State and Territory Offices in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
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The Department’s Divisional Structure
The Department’s divisional structure in 2005-06 was based around the key sectors of Australia’s health and ageing system and a number of cross-portfolio functions.
|Health and Ageing Sector
|Acute Care Division
Ageing and Aged Care Division
Medical and Pharmaceutical Services Division
Population Health Division
Primary Care Division
|Health Services Improvement Division
Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Office of Health Protection
Portfolio Strategies Division
Business Group, the Audit and Fraud Control Branch, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Therapeutic Goods Administration group of regulators (comprising the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator and the Office of Chemical Safety) also formed part of the Department.
The Department’s State and Territory Offices
The role of the Department’s State and Territory Offices is very significant, as they represent the Department’s interests at state and territory level and ensure appropriate integration of services on the ground with State and Territory government agencies. The State and Territory Offices also work in cooperation with other Australian Government agencies. State and Territory Offices are well positioned to assist in identifying policy links as well as overlaps and gaps between programs.
In 2005-06, State and Territory Office staff continued to work in partnership with local stakeholders to ensure services provided through departmental programs were responsive to diverse local needs and conditions. Contact details for each office can be found at Appendix 11 - Department Contact Details.
Changes to the Department
In December 2005, the Minister for Health and Ageing announced a major package of health emergency preparedness measures, including the establishment of the Office of Health Protection as a division within the Department. The new division was formed around the former Biosecurity and Disease Control Branch from Population Health Division. The new Office allows the Department to substantially strengthen and extend the measures it already had put in place to ensure that there is a coordinated national health response to any disaster or emergency including pandemic influenza.
On 10 February 2005, the Council of Australian Governments decided to accelerate the electronic health records agenda. This became the impetus for the Department to realign its e-health activities. The Department disbanded the E-Health Policy Group and transferred its ongoing work to the E-Health Branch within the Health Services Improvement Division. The E-Health Branch has responsibility for all electronic health activities in which the Department is involved.
Towards the end of 2005-06, the Executive team began a review of the Department’s structure, given its increasing responsibilities. As at 30 June 2005, the new structure had not been finalised. Discussion of the new structure will be included in the Department’s 2006-07 annual report.
In 2005-06, the Department was responsible to the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Minister for Ageing and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.
As at 30 June 2006, the
Hon Tony Abbott MHR, as senior Minister and member of Cabinet, held overarching policy responsibility for all issues pertaining to health and ageing. He was appointed Minister for Health and Ageing on 7 October 2003.
Senator the Hon Santo Santoro, Minister for Ageing, had responsibility for all matters relating to ageing, as well as other areas including hearing services, human cloning and stem cell research. He was appointed Minister for Ageing on 27 January 2006.
The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, assisted Minister
Abbott by assuming responsibility for matters relating to the Therapeutic Goods Administration group of regulators and other population health, mental health, asthma, and blood and organ donation issues. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing on 26 October 2004.
A full description of ministerial responsibilities can be found at Appendix 7 - Ministerial Responsibilities.
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