Mr Tony Cook PSM has been appointed as Secretary of the Australian Department of Education, commencing in April 2023.
Cook is currently Deputy Secretary, Higher Education, Research and International at the Department of Education. He has held a range of senior public servant positions at the Commonwealth and State levels, including as Director‑General of the Queensland Department of Education and Deputy Secretary at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
“Mr Cook is well-known and highly regarded in the non-government schools sector, from his previous work in the federal Department and from his former roles as Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Education and Deputy Secretary at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development,” said Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia CEO Dr Chris Duncan.
Cook has had a long and distinguished career in the sector. In October 2013, Cook was made Honorary Fellow of the Australian Council for Education Leaders. He was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in driving school policy and funding reform in Australia in January 2014.
Cook is a registered primary school teacher with a major in early childhood education. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the Queensland University of Technology.
“As the Government seeks to implement the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan and negotiate a new National School Reform Agreement, we welcome the knowledge that such an experienced administrator with deep knowledge of the sector will be leading the Department,” said Dr Duncan.
“AHISA also acknowledges the outstanding contribution of Dr Michele Bruniges AM as Department Secretary, especially her leadership of the Department’s support for schools during the Covid-19 response and, most recently, the smooth transition of Education to a stand-alone Department,” said Dr Duncan. “We wish Dr Bruniges well in her next ventures.”
HISA is a professional association of 460 Heads of independent schools. Its members lead schools that collectively account for more than 11 per cent of total Australian school enrolments, 70 per cent of independent sector enrolments and 20 per cent of total Australian Year 12 enrolments.