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Veteran takes reins at DVA

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New Secretary of DVA Liz Cosson with former Secretary Simon Lewis standing together inside the department’s Canberra offices.

Liz Cosson AM CSC and Simon Lewis PSM

The new Secretary of DVA is a veteran. She is also the great granddaughter, granddaughter, niece, daughter, sister and wife of a veteran.

Liz Cosson AM CSC took the helm as the first woman Secretary of DVA on 19 May 2018 following the retirement of Simon Lewis PSM, who had served as Secretary since 2013.

During a 31-year Army career, Ms Cosson became Australia’s first woman major-general in 2007.

She was also awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in 2001 for outstanding achievement as the Chief of Staff, Peace Monitoring Group, Bougainville, and in logistics planning and management of the Combat Force of Land Headquarters.

In 2011, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for exceptional service to the Australian Army and for delivering organisational reform.

Ms Cosson had been Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer at DVA since 2016, having previously held senior appointments in the departments of Health and Immigration & Citizenship.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said he was looking forward to working with the new Secretary.

‘Ms Cosson has impressed me with her professionalism, dedication and determination to care for our veterans and their families,’ he said.

‘As Chief Operating Officer she has been instrumental in the reform process currently underway.’

He paid tribute to the work Simon Lewis had done in transforming DVA.

‘Mr Lewis has made an outstanding contribution to reforming the department and placing the needs of veterans at the forefront of everything we do,’ Mr Chester said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed Mr Chester’s sentiments, thanking Mr Lewis for his dedication over 42 years in the Australian Public Service.

‘Mr Lewis has performed with distinction as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs and can be proud of his many achievements,’ Mr Turnbull said.

‘Thanks to his stewardship, services to veterans and their families are being significantly modernised and improved, and the transformation program he initiated is driving real change to culture and processes.

‘His leadership of the commemoration of Australian Defence Force service and sacrifice over the ANZAC Centenary period was exemplary. It enabled Australians to celebrate and remember the proud history of veterans past and present.’

See also Simon Lewis’s final Vetaffairs column. Learn more about Liz Cosson’s career and her plans for DVA in Being the best we can be.

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