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CQUni graduate awarded AO for distinguished service to public administration

Published:12 June 2019

CQUniversity alumnus Martin Bowles PSM has earned an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) in the Queen's Birthday Awards, for distinguished service to public administration at the senior level, and to policy development and program implementation.

CQUniversity alumnus Martin Bowles PSM has earned an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) in the Queen's Birthday Awards, for distinguished service to public administration at the senior level, and to policy development and program implementation.

Mr Bowles has risen through the ranks of public service over four decades, with a career spanning a diverse portfolio of industry sectors at federal and state levels.

Currently the National CEO of Calvary Health Care, a not-for-profit Catholic organisation with 15 hospitals, 17 retirement communities and a national network of community care centres.

Mr Bowles recently told the Canberra Times that he likes to think he provided 'frank and fearless advice' throughout his career.

"[Policy advice] should keep the community absolutely in focus - that's always a challenge and is getting more and more difficult with policy ideas," Mr Bowles said.

"Sometimes they are difficult to explain and sometimes they are difficult to deal with.

"You've got to have the Australian community at the centre of your attention."

Mr Bowles told the Times that said his time in the Immigration portfolio was one of the most polarising areas he had worked in.

"That work in Immigration was always very difficult - it can be a very polarising but you have to do things that make a difference," he said.

In 2014, Mr Bowles was appointed as Secretary of the Commonwealth Government Department of Health, where he managed a budget of $90 billion and introduced reforms in primary health care, mental health service arrangements and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Previously, Mr Bowles was the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, overseeing the management of migration, humanitarian, citizenship and visa policy and programs, managing the lawful entry, stay and departure of people crossing the Australian border, and managing the Immigration Detention network and regional processing centres.

Prior to this role, Mr Bowles held the positions of Deputy Secretary in the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Department of Defence respectively.

In 2012, Mr Bowles was awarded a Public Service Medal for delivering highly successful energy efficiency policies and remediation programs for the Home Insulation and Green Loans programs.

Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Mr Bowles held senior executive positions in the Queensland and New South Wales public sector.

After working at Queensland Railways, Mr Bowles served in the Central Regional Health Authority and then held various senior executive positions with the Richmond, Northern Rivers and Mid-Western health services in New South Wales.

Mr Bowles was the Executive Director of the Prince Henry and Prince of Wales hospitals from 2001-02 prior to taking up the role of the Chief Executive Officer of the Wentworth Area Health Service in June 2002.

In 2003, Mr Bowles was promoted to the role of Deputy Director General of Corporate Services at the Department of Education and Training in New South Wales, prior to joining the Commonwealth Public Sector in 2006, when he was appointed as Deputy Secretary of Defence Support in the Department of Defence.

Mr Bowles graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Business degree from the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education (now CQUniversity).

“I never thought I would end up doing what I do now when I started my study with CQU all those years ago. It gave me such a good grounding on which to build my career,” he said.

“Over the first few years, I was grateful for the flexibility my degree offered, allowing me to combine study with a full-time role.  I think definitely anyone that perseveres as I did, it is well worth it, particularly in respect to building research skills and critical thinking.”

Mr Bowles also has a Graduate Certificate of Public Sector Management from Griffith University and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

Mr Bowles is married to Deidre and has two children, Andrew and Morgan and now a one-year-old Grand-daughter, Brooklyn.