03/12/2008 - 22:00

No shortage of candidates for new posts

03/12/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

THE state government has made a series of new appointments as it settles into power but the big question mark for industry is who will head three new important departments announced by Colin Barnett.

No shortage of candidates for new posts

THE state government has made a series of new appointments as it settles into power but the big question mark for industry is who will head three new important departments announced by Colin Barnett.

The departments - State Development under Mr Barnett, Commerce under Troy Buswell and Mines and Petroleum under Norman Moore - are yet to be formally created from the three-way carve up of the Department of Industry and Resources and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, due to take place on January 1.

With the tight time frames, however, speculation is already focused on the potential candidates, notably for the Department of Mines and Petroleum, with names such as current deputy director general resources Stedman Ellis strongly put forward.

One of five existing DoIR deputies, Mr Ellis is only a recent arrival on the bureaucratic scene, having joined DoIR in mid-2007 following more than 25 years of private sector mining experience, including as vice-president of external affairs for BHP Billiton Iron Ore.

Former DoIR acting director general Stuart Smith is another name, but was only this month appointed as chief executive officer for the Department of Fisheries, another area under Mr Moore's responsibility, having acted as DoIR chief between the retirement of Jim Limerick in April and the appointment of Anne Nolan in July.

Ms Nolan, who took over DoIR after a stint at Premier and Cabinet as deputy director general, cabinet and policy, and her counterpart at the soon-to-be-dismembered DoCEP, Brian Bradley, are also viewed as strong candidates to head the new departments.

Arguably, their experience at the head of very big departments puts them in line for the broader departments of Commerce or State Development.

As a responsibility of Mr Barnett, State Development is seen as being shaped more in the mould of the former Department of Resources Development, run by Des Kelly in the 1990s, with its potential head seen as someone who can help sell the state and manage relationships with big investors in Western Australia.

While Mr Barnett has vowed to reduce political interference in the public service, the head of the State Development portfolio is a role that he and his newly appointed executive, Department of Premier and Cabinet director-general Peter Conran, will be particularly interested in.

A key adviser to former prime minister, John Howard, Mr Conran officially started work for the state government in Canberra on Friday where he was involved in the Council of Australian Governments meeting.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options