Head of NSW Health’s IT branch Michael Walsh is set to return to Queensland after being handed the job of running the state’s largest government department.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today she had hired Walsh to take over as director general of Queensland Health, a job he will formally commence on 6 July.
The appointment means Walsh will leave his post as inaugural chief of eHealth NSW - a beefed-up version of the previous NSW Health CIO role - after just over a year in the position.
Walsh is no stranger to the Queensland health system, nor to Queensland Health’s top job.
He has held a number of deputy director general posts at the agency, and was filling in as director general during March 2010 when the department’s notorious SAP payroll system was switched on to process its first pay runs, unleashing years of wage drama on hospitals and health centres across the state.
He was subsequently re-hired by Queensland Health to lead its payroll remediation effort, earning him the moniker of the state’s ‘Mr Fix-It’.
Walsh has also held private sector consulting roles and at one point worked as a maths teacher.
In his new role, Walsh will replace former Health DG Ian Maynard who resigned when Labor came to power. Dr Michael Cleary has been acting in the role in the interim.
Palaszczuk announced Walsh’s appointment alongside six other new directors general today, following an executive clear-out when Labor came to power in Queensland in February this year.
“I greatly value the leadership and expertise our directors-general bring to the public service. They support their ministers to help run the state and are vital in keeping Queensland ticking over,” she said in a statement.
The new hires, however, won’t get the same perks department heads received under the former LNP government, including a 15 percent bonus on top of their salary that cost the state $640,000 across the public service in 2013-14.
“I greatly value these new appointees, but they do not need generous bonuses on top of their salary,” Palaszczuk said.