Australian economist and financial bureaucrat Dr Caralee McLiesh will replace Gabriel Makhlouf as Treasury Secretary. Photo: Supplied.

The beleaguered Gabriel Makhlouf will be replaced as Treasury Secretary by an Australian economist and bureaucrat currently running New South Wales’ polytechnic system.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has announced the appointment of Dr Caralee McLiesh, who will replace Makhlouf as Treasury Secretary and Treasury chief executive with effect from September 16.

In May, Makhlouf announced his resignation to become the new governor of the Bank of Ireland, but his plans for a quiet retirement were blown out of the water when National Party staffers found elements of Budget 2019 using Treasury website searches days before the Budget was due.

He accused National of systematic hacking and his accusation was backed up by Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

However, just a day later, Makhlouf had to withdraw the allegation after police decided not to investigate. His actions and advice are now being investigated by the State Services Commission. 

McLiesh trained as an economist at Australian National University and the University of Melbourne, before working as a Boston Consulting Group consultant, then at the World Bank and the New South Wales Treasury. 

She is currently managing director at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) New South Wales, an organisation of about 17,000 people with a budget of A$1.8 billion.

McLiesh had been acting chief executive there since the unexpected resignation in October last year of a boss who had shaken the organisation, with McLiesh in post as the organisation’s losses blew out.

Struan Little, the Treasury’s deputy secretary for Budget and public services, will serve as acting head from June 27 – Makhlouf’s last day – until McLiesh takes up the role.

Leave a comment