Jim Betts and Natalie James appointed as departmental secretary

23 June 2022 Consultancy.com.au 2 min. read
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EY Port Jackson Partners and Deloitte are each set to lose one of their partners, with Jim Betts and Natalie James appointed as departmental secretaries by the newly-elected Australian government.

After pledging to slash the nation’s annual consulting bill by $3 billion in the lead-up to the federal election, the new Labor government has brought in a fresh pair of consultants, yet this time on a permanent basis.

Melbourne-based Deloitte partner Natalie James and Jim Betts have both been appointed as departmental secretaries, the latter having only recently been recruited by strategy consultancy EY Port Jackson Partners.

Jim Betts and Natalie James appointed as departmental secretary

After spending the past four years as a partner in Deloitte’s Workplace Integrity Practice, James will now take on the role of Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Prior to joining Deloitte, James served for five years as the Fair Work Ombudsman, before which she spent over a decade in other leadership roles within the public service, including as the government’s Chief Counsel for Workplace Relations.

“It is a great privilege to be asked to serve the Australian Government and, through it, the Australian community. I’m honoured to support the Government shape its approach to the labour market at this critical juncture,” James stated on LinkedIn. “I thank my brilliant colleagues at Deloitte. It’s been an honour to work with you to build a truly unique, data led Workplace Integrity Practice of which I am incredibly proud.”

The announcement swiftly drew more than 200 comments of congratulations and support from colleagues and others within the business and public sector communities, with an overwhelmingly positive response to the appointment. James was variously described as the ‘real deal’, a wonderful leader and superstar, and authentically humble. Among those to offer congratulations was federal cabinet minister Tony Burke.

Meanwhile, current EY Port Jackson Partners partner Jim Betts has been appointed Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. Betts has been with Ernst & Young’s strategy consulting entity since May following a lengthy stint in various public sector roles in NSW and Victoria, including most recently as secretary of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Betts and James were two of four departmental secretary appointments announced by the prime minister, with deputy treasury secretary Jenny Wilkinson and Jan Adams, Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, also put forward for five-year terms, Respectively as Secretary of the Department of Finance and as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources is yet to be announced.