Bureaucrats reappointed 'day before election called'

Two of Tasmania's most senior bureaucrats were reappointed to five-year contracts by former premier Lara Giddings just a day before she called the state election, it has been claimed.

Infrastructure, Energy and Resources department secretary Norm McIlfatrick and Economic Development, Tourism and Arts secretary Mark Kelleher were reappointed by Ms Giddings last year.

Premier Will Hodgman announced this morning that both Mr McIlfatrick and Mr Kelleher will leave the State Service at the end of business today following discussions yesterday.

Both will be paid out a full year's salary under the terms of their contract, which will cost taxpayers more than $843,000.

Mr Hodgman said that he wrote to Ms Giddings on December 18 last year to raise his concerns about plans to sign off on the the five-year contracts so close to the election.

He said he clearly outlined his plan to merge both departments, and that secretarial changes would be required.

Mr Hodgman said Ms Giddings responded by saying that the Liberals' policy  was "irrelevant to government decision making".

"As a result of what Ms Giddings called 'irrelevant' facts, the taxpayers of Tasmania now face a $843,685 bill, Lara Giddings' final parting gift to the Tasmanian taxpayers," Mr Hodgman said.

Labor Leader Bryan Green called on Mr Hodgman to reveal the full cost of sacking the department heads.

 “Will Hodgman wasted no time in sacking two of Tasmania’s most senior, respected and independent public servants,” Mr Green said.

“Norm McKIlfatrick and Mark Kelleher were appointed through a proper process in accordance with their contracts and Will Hodgman is fully responsible for forcing the significant cost of their redundancy onto taxpayer," Mr Green said.

Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Rhys Edwards will also leave on July 1. He will be replaced by DPAC deputy secretary Greg Johannes.

Mr Green said the Liberal Party had failed to reveal whether additional costs would be incurred in paying out the contract of Department of Premier and Cabinet Secretary, Rhys Edwards after July 1.

 “Will Hodgman must immediately reveal the full cost of his public sector purge," he said.

Mr Hodgman announced that the government will establish the new State Growth department, which will start on July 1.

The new department will be a merger of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources and Economic Development, Tourism and Arts.

Kim Evans will be appointed acting secretary of the two departments and has been charged with overseeing the establishment of State Growth.

Mr Hodgman said the government start a recruitment process for a permanent department head immediately.


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