Termination: WA department head ousted over tourism management concerns

By Stephen Easton

April 9, 2018

The Western Australian government has chosen to terminate the employment of Stephen Wood as director-general of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

“Principally, the Government was not satisfied with the way the tourism portfolio was being managed and it was decided the department needed to move in a new direction,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

“I thank Mr Wood for his dedicated service in the role and long term commitment to the public sector. I wish him all the best for his future.”

Wood will go on leave from the end of this week. It is not clear who will be elevated to act in the role while a permanent director-general is chosen.

The public service conglomerate was established last year through a merger and in the process, the role of Tourism WA chief executive was abolished. The opposition said the amalgamation put Wood in an “impossible position” managing the administration of four portfolios.

The ABC reports the sacking is not a consequence of WA being the only state that saw a drop in spending by overseas travellers last year, but more about management.

The sacking of Wood over concerns about how Tourism WA is being managed comes a few days after the appointment of business leader Kia Dowell to the agency’s board of commissioners.

Dowell is head of strategy and innovation at federal agency Indigenous Business Australia, according to the WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, who welcomed her to the board last week.

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