Expensive and remote: why WA struggles with executive recruitment

The WA government finally appointed a new head of Treasury this week, more than a year after the last one departed. It took more than two years to find a director-general of Health. Why does WA struggle to attract senior public servants?

Senior public service roles in Western Australia are being left unfilled for long periods, sometimes more than a year, as the government struggles to attract people to the state.

It was announced this week that Michael Barnes had been appointed head of the WA Treasury after acting in the role for 14 months. Though the position was vacated by Tim Marney in February 2014, it was not advertised until August.

The Mandarin understands around 12 other senior Treasury roles have likewise remained unfilled during this period, and will now be resolved following Barnes’ appointment.

It took more than two years to appoint a new director-general of the Department of Health. Dr David Russell-Weisz became the state’s top health bureaucrat last month after Kim Snowball quit in December 2012. The role has been described by one of its predecessors as “the toughest job in government”.

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