The McGowan Government has forced out one of its most senior bureaucrats due to concerns over the management of Tourism WA.
Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation director general Stephen Wood will be replaced, with the Premier’s office confirming it related to tourism issues.
It is understood Mr Wood’s departure is a result of the Government’s dissatisfaction with the way the tourism portfolio was being managed.
It is believed those concerns related to dealings with stakeholders, and difficulties with the implementation of the Government’s plan to woo tourists back to WA.
“It has been agreed that Mr Wood would part ways as director general of the department,” Premier Mark McGowan said in a statement.
“Principally, the Government was not satisfied with the way the tourism portfolio was being managed and it was decided the department needed to move in a new direction.
“I thank Mr Wood for his dedicated service in the role and long term commitment to the public sector. I wish him all the best for his future.”
The Department of Jobs was formed last year as an amalgamation of several government agencies, merging Tourism WA and the departments of commerce and state development.
That new structure meant Tourism WA no longer had its own dedicated chief executive.
That situation became particularly contentious when recent figures showed a decline in the number of international tourists visiting WA, which was the only state to experience a drop in numbers in 2017.
However, it is understood Mr Wood’s departure is not related to those tourism figures, but the actual management of the agency.
The Government has been attempting to secure additional direct flight services to Perth and is looking to undertake an aggressive marketing plan as it attempts to reverse the decline in visitor numbers.
Mr Wood will take leave from the end of next week, with an acting director general to be in place until a permanent replacement is found.