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Palaszczuk appoints seven directors-general

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed seven directors-general on Friday morning, keeping three of those put in place under former premier Campbell Newman.

The three retained Newman appointees are Department of Education and Training DG Dr Jim Watterston, Department of Transport and Main Roads DG Neil Scales and Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services DG Michael Hogan.

David Mackie will replace John Sosso as head of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, while Liza Carroll will take over from Neil Castles at the Department of Housing and Public Works. Michael Walsh, the former deputy director-general of Queensland Health, will take up the top tole at the agency, following the departure of Ian Maynard in February.

Katarina Carroll has been appointed to lead Queensland Fire and Emergency Services after running it in an acting capacity since earlier in the year.

Palaszczuk welcomed the appointments. “These most senior public servants deliver essential services to Queenslanders, so it’s crucial that we have the best and brightest leading our government agencies,” she said.

The premier argued the independent selection process was part of the government’s commitment to returning to a Westminster-style system where the bureaucracy provides independent, high quality advice.

“I greatly value the leadership and expertise our directors-general bring to the public service. They support their ministers to help run the state and are vital in keeping Queensland ticking over,” she stated.

The appointments follow the recommendations of an independent recruitment panel in a “merit-based” process. The independent panel was chaired by Public Service Commission acting chief executive officer Robert Setter and included NSW Planning Assessment Commission chair Lynelle Briggs AO and South Australian coordinator-general Jim Hallion AM.

Last month Dave Stewart was named secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, with experience at the IMF, federal Treasury and various roles in the political arena, while Jim Murphy was appointed to head up Queensland Treasury.

The process to select the ten remaining positions is currently under way.

Queensland Health: Michael Walsh

Walsh is a well-respected and highly regarded senior executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of eHealth NSW and previously held a number of executive level roles in both the private and public sectors. These include roles in Queensland Health as Deputy Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Major Hospitals Project Office. Walsh has led a number of large scale projects that have delivered quality health services for Queenslanders, including leading the project team to build three tertiary hospitals in South-East Queensland, an $8 billion infrastructure project. He will commence the role on 6 July 2015.

Department of Education and Training: Jim Watterston

Watterston has more than 30 years’ experience across all levels of education, from his first job as a teacher in a remote Indigenous classroom to Deputy Secretary of Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and director-general in the Department of Education and Training in the Australian Capital Territory. Watterson is an accomplished academic, with a doctorate and a masters degree in education. He is an active advocate of the education sector with board memberships including Education Services Australia (ESQ), the University of Queensland Senate and serving the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) as national president. Watterston continues in the director-general role, which he has held since April 2013.

Department of Transport and Main Roads: Neil Scales

Scales has almost 40 years’ experience in the transport industry. He has been director-general of TMR since 2012, delivering crucial transport infrastructure including roads, bridges, railways, marine infrastructure and public transport solutions. His previous roles include chief executive officer of TransLink, as well as chief executive and director-general of Merseytravel, the transport authority for the north of England. He holds a bachelor of science (engineering), a master of science (control engineering and computer systems), a diploma in management studies and a masters of business administration. He is a fellow of three major UK engineering institutions.

Department of Justice and Attorney-General: David Mackie

Mackie has been appointed in the role of director-general, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, a role he has been acting in since earlier this year. David brings to the role more than 25 years’ experience in the Queensland public sector, in executive and senior management positions responsible for both the delivery of front line services and corporate support services. His significant experience includes senior positions within the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland, the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. David was previously deputy director-general, Department of Justice and Attorney-General in 2012. He holds a bachelor of commerce with majors in economics and public policy.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services: Katarina Carroll

Carroll brings more than 30 years’ experience in the Queensland public service to the role. She oversees responsibility for all firefighting, rescue, HAZMAT and disaster management operations across the state as well as the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Fire and Rescue Service and the Office of Emergency Management. She has been acting commissioner since early this year. Prior to this, she was assistant commissioner in the Queensland Police Service. In 2012 she held the role of program executive, G20 Group, with responsibility for 6,700 police and providing security for 26 world leaders in the largest peace time security operation in Australia’s history. Her formal qualifications include an executive masters in public administration, degree in criminology and graduate diploma in applied management. Her tenure will commence from 1 August 2015.

Department of Housing and Public Works: Liza Carroll

Carroll is a well-respected senior executive, who has previously held the role of associate secretary — head of Indigenous Affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. In this role, she led the establishment of the integrated Indigenous Affairs group in Prime Minister and Cabinet, the development of the remote school attendance strategy and co-chaired the empowered communities steering group with Noel Pearson. Prior to this, she was deputy secretary in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Carroll has a Masters of Education (Hons), majoring in sociology and a Bachelor of Education. She was awarded the Public Service Medal for her work leading ‘Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform in the Australian Public Service’. She will commence in the role from 3 August 2015.

Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services: Michael Hogan

Hogan continues in the role of director-general, having held the position since April 2014. He has extensive experience in leading strategic policy and programs in the areas of community engagement, community development and community services. He has served on many boards including the New South Wales Council of Social Service and the Consumers’ Health fund Forum of Australia. He has also led and supported a range of initiatives including Queensland’s response to the National Disability Scheme, the development of the Domestic and Family Violence Act, and developing programs and services for child protection and safety.

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne.