Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has axed a bonus system for senior public servants introduced in the last parliament.
Under the scheme, director-generals could initially qualify for bonuses of up to 15%. In 2013-14 a total of $641,682 was paid to the state’s top mandarins.
Palaszczuk said in a statement today:
“I greatly value the leadership and expertise our Directors-General bring to the public service, but I also think our most senior public servants are paid well-enough that they don’t need generous bonuses on top of their salary.
“New appointees to the role of Director-General in my Government will not receive these bonuses. I am committed to saving taxpayers’ money, and this is further evidence of that.”
New director general appointments
Dave Stewart has been appointed the state’s top bureaucrat, heading the Department of Premier and Cabinet, while Jim Murphy has been appointed Under-Treasurer heading Queensland Treasury, both recommended by an independent recruitment panel.
Stewart is already acting in the George Street role, having first been appointed to head DPC in February this year. It came after a turbulent time under the Newman government in which Stewart was sacked by Newman as director-general of the Department of Transport and Main Roads in 2012, only to be hired back in a move Palaszczuk called “simply disgusting” and a waste of $1 million. At the time she described Stewart as “one of the most respectable, earnest, hardworking public servants that I know. He should never have been sacked in the first place.”
He was replaced in Transport and Main Roads by Newman’s pick and LNP player Michael Caltabiano, but he was stood down and finally fired in 2013 after an investigation by the Ethics Committee and the Crime and Misconduct Commission over claims he provided misleading answers about his ties to a departmental officer.
Caltabiano’s termination cost taxpayers more than $650,000, while Stewart was paid out $343,000. After working for Ernst and Young for a period, Stewart was hired back by the government as the head of Projects Queensland and went on to work at the Queensland Treasury Corporation and the Department of Treasury and Trade.
In October 2013 then-NSW premier Barry O’Farrell recruited Stewart, a former engineer, as director-general of Transport for NSW for his “track record of major infrastructure delivery and improving public transport services”.
Today Palaszczuk reiterated her praise for Stewart’s stature and respect in the public service:
“He has worked under both sides of politics in our state, as well as working for the NSW Liberal Government.
“Dave’s 30 plus-year career has involved leading large government agencies, undertaking policy development, service delivery and planning and delivering large, complex and challenging infrastructure programs and portfolios.
“He has long-standing and productive relationships with local government and the business community, and will provide exceptional leadership to the Queensland public service.
Murphy is returning to the public service, having most recently been an executive with ANZ Bank. His public service credentials include 11 years as a deputy secretary in the federal Treasury, adviser to the International Monetary Fund in Washington, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Murphy was awarded the public service medal for his work on the Australian Government’s response to the global financial crisis.
Palaszczuk said Murphy would “bring outstanding leadership and highly-respected economic and financial management skills to Queensland Treasury” as her government prepares its first budget.
The Premier thanked outgoing under-treasurer Mark Gray for his services: “The government appreciates Mr Gray’s efforts and wishes him well into the future.”