• Former Vice Admiral Ray Griggs will take up top role in Indigenous affairs department (AAP)Source: AAP
The former Vice Chief of the Defence Force will come out of retirement to lead the federal Department of Indigneous Affairs.
28 Sep 2018 - 12:40 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2018 - 12:40 PM

Recently retired Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Ray Griggs, has been appointed as Associate Secretary at the Department of Indigenous Affairs. 

Mr Griggs, formerly the second most powerful person in the military, will commence in the position on October 2. 

A spokesperson from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said Mr Griggs's appointment "will bring significant experience delivering complex programs" to large and geographically-dispersed teams.  

"He also has a track record of improving the participation and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women in the Australian Defence Force." 

The department says it has undertaken concurrent processes "to strengthen the pipeline of Indigenous leaders" internally.

For the first time, the department ran an Indigenous 'affirmative measures' round to secure more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into senior roles. Seven Indigenous men and women have been appointed in senior executive roles following this round. 

Last year, Professor Ian Anderson AO joined the department as Deputy Secretary, making him the most senior Aboriginal public servant. 

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The department says "15 per cent of officers across the Department identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

"Some 25 per cent of officers in the Department’s Indigenous Affairs Group, one quarter of the workforce, identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander."

Mr Griggs's appointment follows years of high staff turnover within management ranks and reported dysfunction within the newly-amalgamated department. 

It was in 2014, when former prime minister Tony Abbott made sweeping changes to Indigenous affairs; bringing the department under his own and collapsing more than 150 Indigenous programs into five funding streams. 

It saw 27 programs from eight separate entities fall solely under the responsibility of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The result was more than $500 million cut from Indigenous spending over five years, which saw severe criticism from Indigenous groups and communities alike. 

Earlier this year, there was controversy surrounding whether Mr Griggs's marital affair breached department policy. 

He was cleared of any wrongdoing after starting a relationship with a lower-ranked navy commander, as revealed during a senate estimates hearing in March. 

Mr Griggs will replace Andrew Tongue who has been Associate Secretary since 2015 and will seemingly report to the prime minister, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and now special envoy of Indigenous Affairs Tony Abbott. 

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