Sources within the South Australian Government say the creation of a new Department of State Development, headed up by ex-Canberra bureaucrat, Dr Don Russell has come about in part due to the Cabinet’s appreciation that ICT is crucial to State Development, and as such, the new agency should encompass the Digital Economy functions of the former Department of Further Education, Employment and Science and Technology (DFEEST), the ICT Roadmap for Minerals and Energy Resources Project, as well as the Innovation Division within the former Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade Resources and Energy (DMITRE).
In addition to the new Department of State Development, an ‘Office for the Public Sector’, headed by Erma Ranieri and the move of SafeWork SA to the Attorney-General’s Department are other key features of the Machinery of Government Changes enacted in South Australia.
Russell’s new Department brings together the former Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade Resources and Energy and the former Department of Further Education, Employment and Science and Technology, and came into existence July 1 2014.
It also gains Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement, Arts SA, the Office of the Economic Development Board and Invest in SA, from the Department of Premier and Cabinet. It gains Health Industries South Australia (HealthInSA) from the Department for Health and Ageing.
The 2014-15 SA Budget has indicated that savings due to the merging of the two entities will amount to $4.8 million.
Don Russell was most recently the Secretary of the abolished (Federal) Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. He is also a former ambassador to the United States and was Principal Adviser to Paul Keating when he was Treasurer.
The creation of the Office for the Public Sector aims to “lead a cultural shift in the public sector”, and “brings together a number of central functions [including] the Office for Public Sector Renewal (OPSR), the Office of Public Employment and Review (OPER) and Public Sector Workforce Relations (PSWR).”
The Office will be headed by Erma Ranieri, a public servant with over 30 years’ experience in human relations. According to her Linked IN profile, Ms Ranieri has ‘extensive experience in strategic Human Resource management in large, complex organisations’. Her leadership roles have primarily been in ‘government departments overseeing portfolio areas including manufacturing, innovation, trade, resources, energy, environment, Aboriginal affairs, correctional services and transport’. She was the Chief Executive of the Office for Public Sector Renewal for almost two years prior to the creation of the Office for the Public Sector, and prior to that was the Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, People and Culture, in the (now abolished) Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy.