‘Appoint skilled leaders, don’t train from within’, says shadow minister

Stephan Knoll

Professional development of senior public servants isn’t what the public wants or expects, says a junior shadow minister from South Australia.

In comments likely to raise the blood pressure of the state’s public sector leaders, opposition spokesperson for government waste and deregulation, Stephen Knoll (pictured) told The Advertiser executive training was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“The public expects their senior executives would possess these leadership skills prior to being appointed rather than receiving significant on the job training,” Knoll said.

Responding to the release of documents under FOI that revealed a $200,000 bill for executive coaching for senior staff, conducted in Texas, Knoll also complained that the state paid for business class upgrades for the 21-hour flight.

“The fact that the Labor government sent executives to Texas to undertake a course that could have been conducted here in Adelaide looks like something straight out of the TV series Utopia.”

Executive participants included Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and others from the state’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and SA Health.

The Office for the Public Sector explained the Transformative Leadership Program was intended for current top executives and those likely to take on senior leadership positions “to ensure their skill sets remain contemporary and relevant.”

Nine women were in the current round, which takes around 15 participants each year.

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