NSW Treasury chief quits civil service | Flinders News

The NSW Treasury Secretary, who helped guide the state in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is leaving public service to return to the private sector.

The announcement that Michael Pratt would leave his post and return to the private sector came after he was accused last year of intimidation by a KPMG consultant who advised the NSW government over the controversial Transport Asset Holding Entity.

Brendan Lyon told a parliamentary inquiry into TAHE in December that he lost his job under pressure from Mr Pratt and Treasury bureaucrats engaging in “continuous very unprofessional attacks”.

Mr Pratt told the inquest that Mr Lyon’s team had been hired by the Department of Transport and had wandered into an area ‘where there was no capability’ for them to engage in the work they did and that “there was a whole series of faulty assumptions”.

He told the hearing that TAHE “was created to pursue the government’s policy of microeconomic reform in order to put in place the most optimal structure for the management of transport assets”, dismissing allegations of “accounting trickery” as “false stories”.

TAHE was one of many projects Mr Pratt has been instrumental in during his almost decade-long career in the NSW Civil Service, including the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said Mr Pratt had “helped revolutionize the way government interacts with the public and, through his incredible commitment, dedication and professionalism, has helped deliver better services and results to people across the state for years to come.”

The First Minister credited him with leading the development of the state’s first economic plan, productivity white paper and five-year intergenerational report, as well as amending the NSW budget to focus on results for taxpayers.

Treasurer Matt Kean called Mr Pratt an “outstanding public servant” and said his successor was “ideally placed to help guide the New South Wales economy through the next phase of the pandemic and prepare us for the future”.

Paul Grimes will take up his duties as Secretary of the Treasury on Saturday, having previously served as general coordinator for the state Department of Energy and Environment.

He was awarded a Civil Service Medal for his work developing the country’s response to the global financial crisis.

Dr Grimes has previously held senior positions in State and Territory Treasury Departments and served as Secretary to the Commonwealth Government for a number of departments including sustainability, environment and agriculture.

He was sacked by then-Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in March 2015 after clashing with his boss amid accusations that the Minister had made factual errors in responding to Parliament which were later corrected in Hansard.

Australian Associated Press

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