Key WA official to leave amid pandemic

A key government official in Western Australia who was hand-picked by Premier Mark McGowan is stepping down but has been earmarked to help lead the state's economic recovery from the coronavirus.

Department of Premier and Cabinet director general Darren Foster has left his role to take personal leave, with his deputy Emily Roper to take over his work this week.

Another senior government official, Rebecca Brown, will then assume the role from next week in an acting capacity.

Mr McGowan said Mr Foster would return to the public service in due course and he had asked him to consider taking on an important role in economic recovery, linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Western Australia is facing unprecedented challenges and the immediate challenge is to minimise the spread of the virus and do what we can to support our economy," he said.

"We also need to look beyond the crisis we are in now and prepare for the significant recovery that will be needed to get our state and our economy back into gear."

Mr McGowan backed Mr Foster last year when the powerful Procedures and Privileges Committee accused him of a seemingly "extremely serious intentional breach of parliamentary privilege" after he surrendered documents to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

The CCC investigation was into the possible misuse of parliamentary allowances by three former Liberal MPs including Phil Edman, who quit the party after the CCC found he'd used his allowance to be a "sugar daddy", visit strip clubs and quaff fine wine.

Committee chair and Labor MP Kate Doust said Mr Foster "chose not to follow" its procedure, which "sowed the seed" for Ms Roper to refuse to comply with a summons to deliver documents to the committee.

"I think that we should support inquiries into corruption, not attack them," Mr McGowan said in Mr Foster's defence.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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