On the Couch Chief Executive Series with David Swan, Chief Executive, Department for Health and Ageing

IPAA's ‘On the Couch’ Chief Executive Series are informal Chatham House Rule interview sessions where a high achieving, inspirational individual is informally interviewed by a peer about their public sector ‘journey’, their experiences and why they have chosen their career and current role. Since its inception the IPAA SA ‘On the Couch’ series has acted as the host for a very significant number of former and current public sector leaders.  

David Swan, Chief Executive, Department for Health and Ageing was informally interviewed by Tony Harrison, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.


Friday, 22 April 2016


PwC, 11/70 Franklin Street, Adelaide SA 5000


9:30 am (registration) 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Speaker Bios

This event is proudly supported by:


David Swan, Chief Executive, Department for Health and Ageing

Before taking up the position in March 2011, Mr Swan spent four years as the Executive Director, Operations within the Department for Health and Ageing.
Mr Swan has over 31 years’ experience as a chief executive in the public and private health care system in Australia, including two years as Chief Executive of the Southern Adelaide Health Service and over four years as Chief Executive of the Women's and Children's Hospital.

David holds a Bachelor of Health Science through the Charles Sturt University and a Graduate Diploma in Management at Monash Mount Eliza Business School.

 Mr Swan has also been National Executive Director of Calvary Healthcare Group, responsible for a range of public and private hospitals in four Australian states.

Mr Swan is an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Executive and has also held Directors positions on the Women’s Hospitals of Australasia, the Australian Private Hospitals Association and State President of the Private Hospitals Association of Tasmania. 

Mr Swan is a Board Director for National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).


Tony Harrison, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development

Tony Harrison was appointed to lead the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) in July 2013. He has a strong background in public administration in addition to matters pertaining to child protection. He is also a keen advocate for supporting those with a disability, particularly children and young people.

Mr Harrison has extensive experience in high level organisational management, through his previous work as a Police Assistant Commissioner with SAPOL, as Director- General, Community Safety, and as Chief Executive of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.  He is also the serving President of Minda Incorporated, the largest disability provider in South Australia.

As a member of the Australian Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs Senior Officials Committee (AEEYSOC) Mr Harrison has contributed to advancing the strategic role of national Directors General of education.

In 2014 Mr Harrison took on the national role of Chair of the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Advisory Group (ATSIEAG).

In his role as chair of the ATSIEAG and as a member of AEEYSOC Mr Harrison has an important role in supporting the Education Council to achieve its priority actions and fulfil its planning, monitoring and reporting responsibilities. The Advisory Group has responsibility for the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy.

Mr Harrison is committed to supporting the delivery of professional and contemporary education, child protection, and child development services. He is focused on ensuring the delivery of a highly integrated service delivery model to ensure young people are afforded the opportunity to reach their full potential in life.