Renewed leadership for eight State Government departments

  • Renewal to match skills and experience following retirements and evolving priorities
  • Changes will be effective from Monday, May 31, 2021
  • Changes to help deliver social and economic outcomes beyond the pandemic 
  • Premier Mark McGowan has welcomed a number of changes by Public Sector Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill to renew senior leadership in the public sector.

    The Commissioner’s changes reflect the McGowan Government’s new Ministry and key priorities established for the next four years, as well as the pending retirement of four directors general.

    Vacancies are being created by the impending retirements of Gail McGowan at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (August); David Smith at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (June); Duncan Ord at the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (August), and Anne Driscoll at the Department of Training and Workforce Development (August), who has completed her service and is currently on entitled leave.

    With initiatives in the WA Recovery Plan well underway and many departments moving to new phases of operations, the Commissioner has strategically placed leaders to deliver maximum benefits for the Western Australian community.

    The Public Sector Commission will commence recruitment processes in due course for the five agencies with vacancies in the director general position.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “The public sector has seen us through some difficult times over the past 18 months brought about by the pandemic.

    “In addition to responding to the State’s health needs during the crisis, sector leaders have driven the WA Recovery Plan to get WA businesses open and communities back on their feet quickly, and I thank them all for this work.

    “The departure of some directors general who are retiring has created an opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation in the senior leadership roles within the public sector.

    “I thank these directors general for their years of service to the Government and wish them well as they soon embark on their new paths.

    “These important changes display the strength of public sector leadership to be adaptable, collaborative, responsive and prepared to serve wherever the need for their skills and experience is greatest.”

    Department directors general as at Monday, May 31,
    2021 –

    new appointments in blue



    Department of Biodiversity,
    Conservation and Attractions

    Mark Webb PSM

    Department of Communities

    Mike Rowe

    Department of Education

    Lisa Rodgers

    Department of Finance

    Nicki Godecke (acting)

    Department of Fire and
    Emergency Services

    Darren Klemm AFSM

    Department of Health

    Dr David Russell-Weisz

    Department of Jobs, Tourism,
    Science and Innovation

    Rebecca Brown

    Department of Justice

    Dr Adam Tomison

    of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

    Lanie Chopping (acting)

    Department of Mines, Industry
    Regulation and Safety

    Richard Sellers

    Department of Planning, Lands
    and Heritage

    Jodi Cant (acting)*

    Department of the Premier and

    Emily Roper (acting)

    of Primary Industries and Regional Development

    Ralph Addis

    Department of Training and
    Workforce Development

    Karen Ho (acting)

    Department of Transport

    Peter Woronzow (acting)

    Department of Treasury

    Michael Barnes PSM

    Department of Water and
    Environmental Regulation

    Michelle Andrews

    Mental Health Commission

    Jennifer McGrath

    Public Sector Commission

    Sharyn O’Neill

    WA Police

    Chris Dawson APM

    * It is intended that
    Jodi Cant will return to her role as Director General at the Department of
    Finance once recruitment and an appointment is finalised at the Department of
    Planning, Lands and Heritage.

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