Agency board dismissed during move to NSW planning department

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday February 10, 2020

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The agency that oversees Sydney’s major events precinct has been sacked as the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment subsumes its roles.

The functions and assets of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) will be brought under the governance of the Place Management NSW Board within the department this week, according to departmental secretary Jim Betts.

Betts said bringing the entities together would streamline processes and improve outcomes for the public.

“This will be an exciting opportunity to put together some of the best minds within the public service to activate key government sites and provide drive economic growth and productivity,” he said.

“One of the benefits of bringing together agencies is we are able to better leverage shared skills and experience.”

He argued the move was part of the state government’s plan to create the “world’s best places” and a “world-class public service”.

The SOPA Board and CEO Charles Moore will exit their roles on February 14, as Place Management NSW CEO Sam Romaniuk takes direction of the assets and teams.

Board chair and former NSW premier John Fahey reportedly received the news on Tuesday, during a meeting with Betts and the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Tim Reardon.

Current board members include chief executive of Infrastructure Australia Romilly Madew, and Karen Jones, head of the NSW Office of Sport. Jones was previously the director of Transport Assessments at the Department of Planning and Environment.

Betts thanked Moore and the board for their contributions.

Another state-owned entity rumoured to be brought under the planning department has also announced the departure of its chair.

Chair of the state government’s real estate developer Landcom, Suzanne Jones, has resigned, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

“After a period of reflection over the holiday period, Ms Jones believes fresh leadership of the board is in the best interests of Landcom to enable it to focus on its important work creating more affordable and sustainable communities for the people of NSW,” the statement said.

Jones has previously faced bullying allegations after kicking the shin of one of her staff and displaying “aggressive” behaviour.

The state Treasury sought legal advice on how to sack Jones, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Last week’s statement said the “issues raised last year regarding workplace complaints against Ms Jones had been resolved”, and Treasury secretary Michael Pratt had “cleared her to return to her duties”.

Last month, The Australian reported the potential merger of Landcom and the planning department was part of a plan to remove agency chief executive John Brogden, a former leader of the NSW Liberal Party and friend of Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

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