01/05/2017 - 15:45

New department heads named

01/05/2017 - 15:45

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Senior public servants Stephen Wood, David Smith and Darren Foster are among the main winners from the state government’s plan to create 11 larger departments.

New department heads named
Darren Foster is currently an acting deputy DG at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Photo: Courtesy of the Department of Fisheries

Senior public servants Stephen Wood, David Smith and Darren Foster are among the main winners from the state government’s plan to create 11 larger departments.

Mr Wood has been named as the director general of the department of jobs, tourism, science and innovation.

He currently heads the Department of State Development, which will be combined with the Department of Commerce and the Western Australian Tourism Commission to create the new agency on July 1.

Mr Smith, who is acting director general of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, will head the new department of mines, industry regulation and safety.

His current role will be filled by on an acting basis by Darren Foster, who is a former chief of staff to Premier Mark McGowan and currently an acting deputy DG at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Business News reported last month that Mr Foster had been seconded into Premier and Cabinet from the Department of Fisheries, in a move that fuelled speculation he may become the permanent DG.

The government advertised earlier this month for the DG position.

Most of the new agencies will be run by bureaucrats already working in the same field.

Gail McGowan, who is director general of the Department of Planning, will head the new department of planning, lands and heritage.

Duncan Ord, who is DG of the Department of Culture and the Arts, will have a much broader role when he takes charge of the department of local government, sport and cultural industries.

The planned restructuring, announced on Friday, is designed to compress 41 state government departments into 25 from July 1.

In tandem with this change, the government wants to cut the size of the 521-strong senior executive service by 20 per cent.

The announced changes do not affect statutory authorities, such as Synergy, Western Power, LandCorp and Landgate.

As a result, some of the highest-paid public servants in the state are not affected.

These include Racing and Wagering WA chief executive Richard Burt and Water Cortporation chief executive Sue Murphy.

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