WA gets a new tech minister

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WA gets a new tech minister
Don Punch

First change since 2017.

Western Australia’s newly re-elected Labor government has appointed Don Punch as the state’s new technology minister.

Premier Mark McGowan unveiled his new 18-member ministry on Thursday, including Punch as Minister for Disability Services, Fisheries, Innovation and ICT, Seniors and Ageing.

Punch assumes the portfolio from Dave Kelly, who has overseen the government’s technology activities since being appointed the state’s first IT minister in March 2017.

In the second-term ministry, Kelly will hold on to his portfolios of water, forestry and youth, while his science responsibilities will fall to Deputy Premier Roger Cook.

Punch’s ministerial appointment is his first since being elected the Member of Bunbury – the location of the government’s ServiceWA service centre trial – in March 2017.

He is a former social worker and public servant, having worked as the CEO of the South West Development Commission between 1998 and 2016.

Punch comes to the portfolio following a period of significant change for the government’s technology leadership that began with the overhaul of the former government CIO office.

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer became the Office of Digital Government in July 2018.

Since then, the government has placed a focus on cyber security, introducing a dedicated team and, more recently, a cyber security operations centre.

Punch told iTnews he was pleased and excited to take on the role and was "very much looking forward to working with the sector".

The government has also appointed Kyle McGinn as the parliamentary secretary in the portfolios of disability services, fisheries, innovation and ICT, seniors and ageing. 

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