Movers & shakers: South Australia poaches another chief executive from interstate

For appointments and promotions this week we look largely beyond Canberra. South Australia’s final chief executive vacancy has been filled after the Marshall government poached from a New South Wales department.

New South Australian chief executives

Tony Braxton-Smith has been appointed as the new chief executive of the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure — one of the department top roles vacated in the reshuffle following the election of the Marshall government.

Braxton-Smith is currently Deputy Secretary, Customer Service at Transport NSW, but has also held chief executive positions for Great Southern Rail and Dreamworld, as well as senior roles in Serco Asia Pacific and P&O Services in Latin America. The move back to Adelaide is also a move back to his family’s roots. In a statement to local media, he said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for me to return to my family’s home state and to lead the team at DPTI in the delivery of the new government’s ambitious program to develop the state’s infrastructure and deliver better services to the community.

“I am excited at the prospect of dedicating my skills and experience in both public and private sector to doing great things for SA.”

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll made the announcement this week saying Braxton-Smith brings to this role a wealth of private and public sector experience from around the globe.

“He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the largest state government transport agency in the country which will be invaluable as he leads South Australia’s department.

“Throughout his various roles, Mr Braxton-Smith has successfully delivered significant projects, reforms and improved every company or agency he has served.

“The Marshall Government took a host of exciting reforms to the election in the infrastructure and public transport spheres and I’m extremely confident that Mr Braxton-Smith is the best person to deliver on this ambitious agenda.”

The department’s last non-acting CEO was Michael Deegan, who sacked by Steven Marshall.  Julienne TePohe has been acting in the role for the last six months and was thanked by Knoll for providing invaluable advice and outstanding service.

John Schutz was previously named as the acting chief executive of the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, and last week was appointed to the position for a three year term.

And one chief executive on leave…

John Hanlon, Chief Executive of Renewal SA, along with one of his executives has been on leave — normally not a newsworthy event, but for pressure from media and the state Opposition leading this statement issued by the Attorney General yesterday:

In respect of questions about Renewal SA Executives that the Government has received from both the media and the Opposition, I confirm that:

  • I have enquired of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Mr Bruce Lander QC, as to whether there is any further information that can be made available on this matter. He confirmed that there is not.
  • The Commissioner at this stage will not be making a public statement on the matter.

And a statement from the Hon Bruce Lander QC, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption:

This afternoon the Attorney-General published a statement in respect of questions concerning Renewal SA executives.

I authorise the media to publish the Attorney-General’s statement.

I do not intend to make any further statement in respect of that matter at this time.

On only one occasion have I previously made a public statement in respect of a corruption investigation where I identified the person the subject of the investigation but where the person was not charged. That public statement was made at the request of the person the subject of the investigation and after the investigation had concluded.

Otherwise I have not previously identified anyone the subject of an investigation during the course of an investigation until after the person has been charged.

The ICAC Act is designed in such a way that a person the subject of a corruption investigation ought not suffer reputational harm until such time the person is charged.

The very purpose of an investigation is to collect evidence. The fact of an investigation is not proof that corruption has occurred. Corruption investigations must be conducted in private. I think that is appropriate.

If I were to make a further statement in respect of this matter there would be an expectation that I would do so in respect of all matters that I might be investigating. That would be inconsistent with the legislation under which I operate.

For that reason I will not make any further statement at this time.

Cross Border Commissioner

Luke Wilson has been named this week as Victoria’s first Cross Border Commissioner to be based in Wodonga, but with offices along the New South Wales border. Wilson, the Lead Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services at Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources will take up the new post in mid October.

Priority issues for the new commission — which has been funded for an initial two years — include trades licensing, responsible service of alcohol accreditation, heavy vehicle regulation and taxi services.

People working in construction trades, education and hospitality need dual accreditation and licenses to work across states, while there are people who travel hours to access further education in their own state when the same course was offered close to home, but just across the border.

A recent incident near Swan Hill, where Victoria Police failed to help NSW residents during a home invasion, also highlighted how much of a problem the differing state systems could be.

Read more about the commission in our earlier story.

Prime Minister & Cabinet

Jason McDonald, from the economic policy branch of PM&C has been officially bumped up to Band 2, keeping his position title Chief Adviser, Domestic Policy Group. The Chief Adviser is a position designed to provide strategic policy advice and thought leadership across PM&C, including challenging existing policy positions and developing new and innovative solutions to complex public policy problems. The role is intended to bring a strong economic policy framework, focus on strategically important policy issues where value can be added and PM&C can be influential, and drive integrated advice on a broad range of policy areas.

Home Affairs

Matthew Duckworth joins the SES for the first time, as the Assistant Secretary of one of four new branches in Home Affairs’ Trade and Customs Division. The Trade Modernisation and Industry Engagement Branch drives a progressive policy agenda supporting improved security at Australia’s border and an enhanced and seamless trade experience. The Customs and Border Revenue Branch supports legitimate trade and prevents the movement of prohibited goods across the border. The Branch also helps deliver Australia’s trade and industry policy through tariffs, tariff concessions and other industry schemes.

Duckworth hails from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and shifts to Home Affairs following a $45,000 external recruitment search.

There are a many SES positions yet to be filled in Home Affairs nearly a year after portfolio was created from the amalgamated government entities covering federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs and immigration and border-related functions. It was described as the most significant change to Australia’s national security and intelligence arrangements — and one of the most complex machinery of government changes — in decades. The organisational structure came into effect in March, and the portfolio was intended to be fully established by July this year.

Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities

Daniel Caruso from PM&C and Phil McClure from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities were both successful in joining the Commonwealth SES ranks following a general call for General Managers (Band 1) at DIRDC. McClure is currently acting as the General Manager, Infrastructure Policy.

See last week’s movers and shakers update here.

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