During the Queensland estimates hearings yesterday (21 July), Labor was grilled about its heavily vaunted “merit-based appointment process” that would end the perception of “jobs for the boys”.
Deputy director-general Suzanne Wauchope was questioned by shadow training minister Jarrod Bleijie about the nature of the hiring process.
This criticism emerged after it transpired that Rachel Hunter – former public service commissioner and director-general – had been directly appointed chair of the Jobs Queensland board without the position being opened to an expression of interest.
“It was actually done, as was agreed, through a direct appointment process,” Wauchope said.
“There were a number of suitable candidates, though, that we did identify as a department that we then forwarded through to the minister for her consideration.”
Training minister Yvette D’Ath also spoke on the matter.
“There wasn’t an external expression of interest process but certainly when we talk about merit-based processes, not all of those go to an open application process.”
She added that merit-based appointments remained crucial to the government’s aims and challenged anyone in the room to question Hunter’s credentials and capabilities for the role.
Bleijie shot back at this, claiming that the challenge was impossible.
“We don’t know who else applied so how can we challenge it?” he said.
When pushed further about who else applied for the job, D’Ath simply said she was unaware of any government which “goes and releases a list of everyone it considers for appointments”.
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The Palaszczuk government has come under heavy criticism after directly appointing one of its board chairs to a role which was not publicly advertised.