Shadow Environment Minister Tjorn Sibma has questioned the appointment of a senior public servant to a newly created position within the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

Earlier this week, it was revealed in Parliament the public servant was appointed to the role of ‘Special Adviser – Regulatory Reform’ within DWER last month on an annual remuneration package of $486,956.68.

Mr Sibma said this amount was vastly more than whom the individual reports to, which raised serious concerns over the lack of transparency and reasoning behind the appointment.

“It’s alarming to think this individual’s half-a-million-dollar a year salary is more than what their boss DWER’s Director General earns,” Mr Sibma said.

“The Labor Government even admitted the position was not advertised and could not provide any details around professional background or key performance indicators that could justify this extraordinary wage.

“Taxpayers deserve to know why this appointment was made and why this individual has been granted such a high salary.”

Mr Sibma said it was known the individual has held a CEO rank within the public sector and was appointed to the position by the Public Sector Commissioner through the ‘Section 50 transfer’.

“The individual’s status as the ex-CEO of a government department begs questions about why they were not appointed to an equivalent position when changes were made to the leadership of several government agencies in May,” Mr Sibma said.

“The appointment process might unfortunately colour perceptions about the professionalism and impartiality of the public service.”

Mr Sibma said according to Salary and Allowances Tribunal determinations, the ‘Special Adviser’ appeared to earn the equivalent of the Chief Health Officer and more than the Police Commissioner.

“It is astonishing and unjustifiable that any public servant not responsible for the lives and welfare of Western Australians should receive such an enormous sum.”

“The McGowan Government is throwing its weight around to subvert best practice principles in public sector recruitment.”