Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has flagged some major changes among the ranks of her top public servants, with a new director-general for the department of the premier and cabinet (DPC) to commence in May.
Rachel Hunter will replace the premier’s long-serving DPC head, Dave Stewart, adding to an impressive list of government agencies she has served during her career.
From 2000-2003 Ms Hunter was the Queensland Public Service commissioner, and she has previously led three state government departments as director-general. Last May she was appointed as Queensland’s under-treasurer.
Ms Hunter, who is also the deputy chancellor of Griffith University, will commence her new role as DPC director-general next month.
“Ms Hunter has demonstrated her outstanding leadership capability as under treasurer and continues to shine as one of the best senior leaders in government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I look forward to working closely with Ms Hunter as we continue to build on our economic recovery on the other side of this pandemic.”
The premier announced her new pick for the DPC director-general role during Queensland Women’s Week in March.
“With this year’s [women’s week’] theme reflecting on achieving women – it’s fitting that Ms Hunter will be the first female director-general of the department of the premier and cabinet in Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk added.
She also paid tribute to the outgoing DPC head Mr Stewart — one of Queensland’s longest-serving director generals and the country’s longest-serving senior public officials — who takes on the Queensland state position of Agent-General for the United Kingdom and Trade and Investment Commissioner Europe later this year.
The premier added that in his new role, Mr Stewart would continue to foster ‘his significant State, Commonwealth and international relationships’.
“Dave Stewart is one of the best — he is widely respected as one of the most experienced public officials in this country having worked for governments of all persuasions,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Mr Stewart’s ascension to the position of agent-general will see incumbent Linda Aplet, another public servant with a long history as a director-general in Queensland, depart. A statement from the premier said that during her time working for the QPS Ms Aplet had overseen enhanced service delivery across a range of portfolios, including education, health, housing, community services, Indigenous policy and the arts.
During the latter part of her four years as agent-general, the premier said Ms Aplet had played a crucial role supporting Queenslanders stuck in the UK and Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her achievements include attracting major investments to Queensland, growing the renewable and hydrogen sectors from UK stakeholders, and supporting numerous export outcomes for Queensland’s fast-moving consumer good companies to UK buyers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Queensland government is yet to announce a new under-treasurer to replace Ms Hunter in May.