Respond and refresh: New leadership for WA government departments

News story
Responding to the Western Australian Government’s new ministry and key priorities established for the next 4 years, the Public Sector Commissioner has made changes to the leadership of 8 government departments.
New leadership image

“The public sector needs to be adaptable and responsive – and this includes leadership at the highest level. Some moves are permanent while others are until the positions are advertised and filled during the year,” Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill said.

“The changes follow 18 months of leadership stability that has enabled the public sector to respond positively to the incredible changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the initiatives in 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 changes also take into account the vacant position of Director General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet as well as the approaching retirement of 4 directors general – David Smith, Gail McGowan, Duncan Ord and Anne Driscoll.

The changes come into effect on 31 May.

“It is great to be in a position where we can use existing experienced directors general as part of the transition to new leadership – and Gail McGowan, Duncan Ord and David Smith will do just this,” Ms O’Neill said.

“They will also work on strategic initiatives needed by their ministers through to their retirement.

“I also welcome those coming in as directors general for the first time.”

Recruitment processes for the 5 agencies with vacancies in the director general position will start soon.

Government agency leadership commencing 31 May 2021

Department directors general as at Monday 31 May 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

Department 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 Cabinet

Emily Roper (acting)

Department 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.

Telephone Strategic Communications with any enquiries on (08) 6552 8746 or 0418 690 182.

Page reviewed 13 May 2021