Member Profile

Dr Ian Watt AOHonorary Fellow

Dr Watt was appointed as Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 5 September 2011. Previously, he was Secretary of the Department of Defence (2009 to 2011), the longest serving Secretary of the Department of Finance and Deregulation (2002-9) and Secretary of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (2001-2). Prior to that, he was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Executive Coordinator of the Economic, Industry and Resources Policy Group. In June 2008, Dr Watt was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.


Ian was awarded the Institute Public Service Excellence Awards in 2014 for outstanding public sector leadership. The Public Sector Awards are presented to public servants at different levels of governance who have made an outstanding contribution to their field. Award recipients also receive an Adjunct Professorship or Honorary Fellowship, and Ian was awarded an Adjunct Professorship with IGPA.

“In a truly remarkable career, Dr Ian Watt, AO has led four Departments of State over a period of close to 14 years, culminating as the Head of the Service at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for the past 3 years. His leadership over this time has been marked by impeccable judgement in the interests of our country, quietly achieved in the best traditions of the public service. It is evident that when a particular area of government has been in need of restorative, inspired rebuilding, the Government of the day has turned to Ian to do the job, whether it was reshaping the financial management and budgeting of the Commonwealth through the Department of Finance, building a more resilient Defence department better able to respond to changing strategic requirements or returning order to the management of government administration itself at the centre of government. An absolute commitment to integrity and diligence in serving the Government, matched with discretion and an unassuming style throughout his period of of leadership, Ian’s achievements and approach to public administration are a hallmark for others to aspire, and are rightly celebrated through this Excellence award. We are delighted to honour the career of such an outstanding public servant.”

Professorial Fellow Bill Burmester (Member, IGPA Awards Panel)

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