Honorary Appointments

Serena Wilson PSMAdjunct Professor

Serena Wilson has been a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Social Services and prior to that in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) since March 2009

Serena heads the Department’s Social Security Stream, overseeing policy and management of social security payments to individuals as well as welfare reform across the whole social security system. The Stream is also responsible for the Australian Priority Investment Approach and the Try, Test and Learn Fund, which aim to identify those at risk of long-term social security receipt and policy interventions that could assist them to become independent.

Serena is responsible for establishing the DSS policy framework and strategy, creating a long term planning and performance culture, and promoting strong evidence based systems. She is also chair of the Policy and Regulatory Reform Committee.

In recent years, Serena has worked on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, disability and carer programs and policy, pension reform, age pension and international agreements, research and evaluation, strategic policy and the
Tax-Transfer Taskforce.

Serena joined the APS as an Administrative Trainee in 1986 and has more than 30 years’ experience working in a number of departments including Health, Social Security, Family and Community Services, Employment and Prime Minister and Cabinet. She received a Public Service Medal in 2014 for services to public administration in social policy, including her work to establish the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Serena has a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) degree with honours from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Administrative Studies from the Chisholm Institute of Technology (Monash University).


Serena was awarded the Institute's Public Service Excellence Awards in 2017 for outstanding contribution to the Australian Public Service. 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 Serena was awarded an Adjunct Professorship with IGPA.

“Serena has been awarded this excellence award for her outstanding contribution to social policy development and in particular the work that she has done in encouraging new ways of doing social policy in Australia. For example, the “Australian Priority Investment Approach” and the “Try, Test and Learn Fund” are at the very leading edge of policy innovation for combating social exclusion world-wide. We are delighted to honour the career of such an outstanding pioneering public servant.”

Awards Committee Citation

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