Text size: A A A

Palaszczuk appoints six more DGs in Queensland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed a further six directors-general on Friday, following the recommendations of an independent recruitment panel tasked with a merit-based review of the top 17 public service positions.

All six are from within the public service, following the appointment from the private sector of the heads of Department of Energy and Water Supply and the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games at the beginning of the month.

In addition to the six directors-general, Palaszczuk announced David Edwards would be given the job of Projects Chief Executive of the state’s Integrated Resort Development projects, which includes Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. In this round, only one director-general — Jon Black at Department of Environment and Heritage Protection — has been reappointed.

The premier said she was confident the new DG line-up had a mix of significant experience, skills and leadership following today’s appointments. She added that it was good to see strong representation for women at the chief executive level:

“We are committed to diversity within the public service, and it’s encouraging to see through the merit-based selection process, that more women are being appointed to senior government positions.

“The new directors-general will work closely with their respective ministers to deliver on the priorities outlined in their portfolio charter letter and our commitments outlined in the Budget, to ensure we deliver for Queenslanders.”

Friday’s appointment leave just two positions remaining to be filled after the first two were appointed to Premier and Cabinet and Treasury in May, and seven were appointed in June. The recruitment of the directors-general for Department of Science, Information Technology and the Department of Innovation and Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning is continuing.

“Our recruitment search will be extended farther and wider to ensure we have the skills to match our priorities and for these two remaining and pivotal senior government roles,” stated the premier.

“I’m steadfast in returning to a Westminster-style system where bureaucracy is enabled to provide independent, high quality advice.”

The independent panel was chaired by the Queensland Public Service Commission’s acting chief executive officer Robert Setter, and included chairperson of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission Lynelle Briggs AO and South Australian coordinator-general Jim Hallion AM.

Department of State Development: Michael Schaumburg

Former deputy coordinator-general in the Department of State Development Michael Schaumburg will take over as head of the department.

Schaumburg has been involved, at a senior executive level, in the planning and development of major resource and infrastructure projects including the Fisherman’s Landing LNG Project and the proposed Yarwun Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone. Since September last year he has worked as Project Director for the Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project near Bowen.

Integrated Resort Development projects: David Edwards

Outgoing director-general of the Department of State Development David Edwards will assume the leading role in the state’s Integrated Resort Development projects.

“David’s appointment to the role of Projects Chief Executive recognises the priority this government gives to delivering on these significant projects, which include Queen’s Wharf Brisbane,” said Palaszczuk.

“We are committed to seeing these projects get off the ground to boost tourism and deliver economic development.”

Edwards has been instrumental in the Integrated Resort Development processes to date and he will now assume operational responsibility for delivery of every aspect of Integrated Resort Development projects.

Edwards has held the role of Director-General, Department of State Development since 2012.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries: Dr Elizabeth Woods

Dr Elizabeth Woods will take over as chief of Agriculture and Fisheries from Jack Noye when he retires at the end of the year.

Woods is a former deputy director-general in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and chief scientific officer in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. She was the first female Rhodes scholar from Queensland, and has focused on science, innovation and bio-security issues at state, national and international levels.

In 2008, she was recognised as an international expert in tropical and subtropical agriculture and agribusiness when she was appointed chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Rice Institute.

Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships: Clare O’Connor

Clare O’Connor, who has been a senior executive in the Queensland government for the past 13 years, will take over the role of director-general from James Purtill.

For the past three years she has led Disability Services policy, programs and clinical divisions through transformational change and overseen an annual investment of $1.5 billion. O’Connor is leading the policy work on the agreements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Queensland.

She has led the Policy and Performance Divisions of five Queensland government agencies during periods of major reform.

O’Connor led the policy work on Queensland’s implementation of ‘Closing the Gap’ under national partnership agreements and whole-of-government policy in the areas of land, economics, justice and culture. In 2010 she worked with the Indigenous Advisory Council to draft the wording for the statement to amend the preamble to the Queensland Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Department of Natural Resources and Mines: James Purtill

James Purtill will be moved to head up Natural Resources and Mines, from his position as director-general of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, which he has held since 2013.

Purtill was formerly director-general of the Environmental Protection Agency (including the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) and was Queensland Public Service Commissioner for two years from 2006.

His private sector experience includes senior executive positions with oil and gas company Santos, and he has been responsible for strategic project management services in the resources and development sectors. Purtill has consulted to industry and government on organisational design and was managing director of an environmental rehabilitation services company.

Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing: Tamara O’Shea

Current deputy director-general for the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Tamara O’Shea will replace Dr John Glaister at National Parks, Sport and Racing.

O’Shea is a former deputy director-general of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and a senior executive with more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector at state and federal level, including the departments of Environment and Resource Management; Local Government, Sport and Recreation; Social Security, and Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. She has also held senior positions in Queensland’s Environmental Protection Agency.

O’Shea has played a significant role in improving conservation and sustainability in Queensland. As deputy director-general in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, her leadership and engagement with local councils, business and the recycling industry led to legislated reform of Queensland’s approach to waste and resource management.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection: Jon Black

The only person to retain their role is Jon Black, who will continue to run Environment and Heritage Protection, which he has done since he was appointed by then-premier Campbell Newman in September 2013.

Before this, Black established the Department of Energy and Water Supply in June 2012 and has held leadership roles in complex and diverse organisations, including large scale utility companies ‘Unitywater’ and SEQ Distribution Entity. He has a distinguished military career, serving as commanding officer of Royal Military College, Duntroon and chief of staff to the chief of Army. In 2002, he led the Australian contingent of a multi-national force in the Middle East.

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.