Another DG gone as WA boss quits

By David Donaldson

Monday May 9, 2016

The West Australian government continues to lose top public servants, as Tourism WA CEO Stephanie Buckland becomes the fifth senior bureaucrat to announce her resignation so far this year.

Buckland will leave the job, which she has held since 2011, to become the CEO of a large aged care provider.

Before her appointment, Buckland spent a year and a half as acting CEO. She was previously executive director of marketing at Tourism WA and head of marketing at BankWest.

Her departure follows the announcement that Department of Premier and Cabinet director-general Peter Conran would retire mid-year, citing health and family reasons. Conran, known for his ability to fix problems on the government’s behalf, held senior roles in the Northern Territory and Commonwealth, including the office of former prime minister John Howard between 2001 and 2007.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is seeing off two senior people — current director-general, commissioner for main roads and CEO of the Public Transport Authority Reece Waldock plans retire in July after six years, while managing director Steve Troughton has decided to take up a senior transport job in the New South Wales public sector.

Tina Chinery, the boss of the new Perth Children’s hospital, left for a job in Cairns.

The state’s Public Sector Commission is also still in the process of recruiting a director-general of the Department of Water and a DG for the Department of Commerce, according to its recruitment website.

‘She goes out with a great record’

The announcement of Buckland’s resignation comes just a few weeks after Premier Colin Barnett appointed himself Tourism Minister in a cabinet reshuffle — and less than a year before the WA state election in March.

A department spokesperson said Buckland had applied for the job before Barnett became minister, reports PerthNow.

Although the opposition says the spate of resignations is evidence of problems within the government, the premier maintains it’s nothing unusual.

“She’s applied for another job and she got it. It’s a career advancement for Stephanie,” he said. “She stayed for a good period of time. She goes out with a great record. The department will go out and seek a new director.”

“It’ll just be a normal replacement process. We’ll want to fill that as quickly as we can because it’s an important role and tourism is developing in Western Australia very rapidly.”

Buckland’s last day will be Friday, July 22.

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