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Finance department boss resigns

AAP logoAAP 16/09/2016 Lisa Martin

The nation's most senior female bureaucrat is leaving the federal public service.

Jane Halton was the second woman to rise to the position of department secretary, running health for 12 years before moving to finance in 2014.

"Ms Halton has made an enormous contribution in public life both nationally and internationally and has been a leader for women in the public sector," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement on Friday.

Ms Halton rose to national prominence in 2002 as convenor of John Howard's people-smuggling task force in the children overboard affair.

In an email to staff on Friday she said it was time to step aside and give someone else a leadership opportunity.

"After nearly 15 years as a secretary, at the beginning of a term of government, having beaten my father's record of time as a secretary (a personal milestone), and now with our reform program in place it is the right time to go," Ms Halton said.

She was conscious of her role-model and mentoring role for other women.

"I know that it isn't always easy and while we haven't broken all the way through the glass ceiling yet I know that much as I have stood on the shoulders of those who came before me so others will stand on my shoulders to finish the job," she said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann paid tribute to his department head and wished her well for the future.

"It is fair to say that Senate estimates is more fun with Jane sitting next to you rather than on the other side of the table," he said.

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