Centrelink’s Wadeson signals retirement


One of the most senior and respected chief information officers in Australia, Federal Department of Human Services deputy secretary of IT infrastructure John Wadeson, has reportedly indicated he plans to retire shortly.

Wadeson is best known in his long-term role as chief information officer of one of the Federal Government’s largest agencies — Centrelink — which he had held since 2006 after an already lengthy career in the Federal public service.

However, over the past several years he has led the IT function of the merged super-department formed from the integration of Centrelink with Medicare Australia, the Child Support Agency and other agencies, following the Labor Federal Government’s decision embark on a significant Service Delivery Reform program in December 2009.

According to a report in the Financial Review this morning, Wadeson signalled his intention to resign at a conference in Sydney this week. Centrelink has not immediately responded to a request for comment on the issue.

Wadeson will leave a strong team behind him. An extensive senior management team sits under public servant, with a series of executives such as ICT strategy and corporate services chief Yusuf Mansuri, ICT infrastructure services chied Tuan Dao and ICT integration and consolidation chief Patrick Hadley all reporting to Wadeson as first assistant secretaries, according to DHS’ organisational chart published last year.

In addition, all three first assistant secretaries also have extensive teams reporting to them, with DHS in total boasting several thousand direct technology staff, and relationships with a number of large vendors for hardware, software and services support.

The news will Department of Defence chief information officer Greg Farr as the most visible senior technology bureaucrat in Canberra. Farr and Wadeson have for the past few years shared the limelight as technology thought leaders in the Canberran public service, overseeing giant budgets, mammoth projects and thousands of staff each.

It also leaves Wadeson’s position overseeing what some have described as the largest technology integration project in the Federal Government vacant. DHS’ departmental integration project involves the integration of a wide range of technology systems throughout the merged departments — ranging from underlying infrastructure like PCs and network assets, to higher level collaboration platforms, for example.

Image credit: Centrelink


  1. How do you know that he leaves a strong team behind him? The article says you just took their names off an organisational chart! They could be useless!

    • I guess what I’m trying to say, Jon (although it could have been said better), is that Wadeson had a comprehensive IT organisational structure underneath him, built up over the years, and with a number of staff who are loyal to him and who have been there for some time.

  2. Ever since they merged the CES and DSS it’s been up shit creek. Adding Medicare services to a centrelink office ? um, okay, great idea… If you ignore the fact the Gov. is still trying to fix the problems created by merging the CES and DSS. I don’t expect a counter-intuitive system to be improved by merging the coalface services of another system.

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