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Trad’s exit, Cabinet reshuffle send ripple through bureaucracy

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The Palaszczuk Government now has its third Under Treasurer in two years and a dire Budget postponed indefinitely.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today confirmed all-rounder Rachel Hunter would head Treasury under new Treasurer Cameron Dick.

Unlike previous appointees Frankie Carroll and Jim Murphy, who remain on the government payroll, Hunter was not the subject of a lengthy merit-based selection process and was instead an internal appointment following the weekend turmoil.

Murphy left the role in late 2018, only to return as the Premier’s Chief of Staff, while his successor Carroll is now being demoted to director-general of regional development and manufacturing under new minister Glenn Butcher.

While the Premier would not comment on remuneration issues today, she said Hunter came with experience heading various departments including state development, education and justice.

It has since emerged Hunter will continue being paid at director-general level and Carroll at under treasurer level – despite those salary packages normally differing by tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Murphy was being paid $700,000 a year as under treasurer.

Hunter, like Dick, faces the challenge of supporting the state’s economic recovery and then embarking on an unprecedented amount of budget repair.

“She is the second most experienced senior public servant we have in Queensland,” Palaszczuk said.

“I’m delighted at her appointment and I really want Frankie Carroll doing a great job looking after my new minister.”

Dick had been infrastructure minister for a period in which Carroll headed that department, however he more recently worked with Hunter in state development. Hunter also has experience as a Public Service Commissioner and health official which may be useful in managing the finances during a pandemic. Her previous direct appointment to head Jobs Queensland attracted criticism from the Liberal National Party Opposition.

Palaszczuk referred remuneration questions to the director-general of her department, Dave Stewart, whose job was previously held in an acting capacity by Hunter. A department spokeswoman said “remuneration for Ms Hunter and Mr Carroll has not changed” and the specifics would be published in annual reports.

Stewart was recently reappointed for three years on the same salary despite the government’s pay and hiring freeze.

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