New chairman to ‘drive job creation’
Former Labor politician Tom Stephens has been appointed Gascoyne Development Commission chairman.
Mr Stephens said he would serve for about nine months while WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan found a replacement for outgoing chairman Tony Beard, who was no longer eligible for reappointment after serving two terms.
“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to work with Gascoyne people once again,” Mr Stephens said.
“I’m very keen to see the Gascoyne agenda of economic achievement for everyone is front and centre for the Development Commission and build on the good work done by that team.
“And seeing if we can add value by adding in the years of experience I have had with that focus in many of the regional areas of WA, including the Gascoyne.” Mr Stephens said as minister for Regional Development in 1992, he had appointed the first Gascoyne Development Commission.
Minister MacTiernan said Mr Stephens’ extensive experience in Aboriginal employment and work with Aboriginal communities would ensure the commission remained focused on creating opportunities for Aboriginal people in the region.
“The State Government appreciates Tom stepping in to provide leadership at the Gascoyne Development Commission over the next nine months,” she said.
“Tom’s deep engagement with Aboriginal communities and experience in regional economic development will help us to drive job creation in the Gascoyne.
“In particular, Tom will oversee moves to reopen Carnarvon’s Gwoonwardu Mia cultural centre, providing fantastic employment and business development opportunities for Aboriginal people in Carnarvon.”
A spokesman for the minister confirmed this was a paid position and the Public Sector Commission has been contacted for details of the costs involved.
Ms MacTiernan said Carnarvon resident Naomi McMahon would also join the Gascoyne Development Commission board, bringing a wealth of experience in Aboriginal economic development.