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Jim Soorley heads list of Palaszczuk government board appointees

September 28, 2015 - 12:01AM
  • Cameron Atfield

Political journalist

Former Brisbane lord mayor Jim Soorley has been appointed chairman of electricity generator CS Energy Limited.

Former Brisbane lord mayor Jim Soorley has been appointed chairman of electricity generator CS Energy Limited. Photo: Michelle Smith

Former Labor Brisbane lord mayor Jim Soorley has landed a plum chairmanship as part of a massive overhaul of Queensland government-owned corporations' board appointments.

In the huge upheaval of positions, Mr Soorley will be unveiled as the new chairman of electricity generator CS Energy on Monday.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams will be named as a director of the Queensland Investment Corporation, while Leo Zussino will replace LNP donor Mark Brodie as chairman of the Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Acting Premier Curtis Pitt, filling in for Annastacia Palaszczuk while she was on an Asian trade mission, said he was confident the government appointees would ensure taxpayers' investments remained "in good hands"."All new board members were appointed on merit and selected from a large pool of talented and well-credentialed individuals to bring new focus and innovation to our GOCs," he said.

"There's also a strong degree of continuity, with some experienced chairs continuing in their current roles, as well an injection of new blood, including renewable energy expertise."

The only GOC chairs to have survived the cut so far were Julie Beeby (Powerlink), Don Luke (QIC) and Michael Klug (Queensland Rail).

Mr Pitt said the number of female GOC board members in Queensland would nearly double.

"This is in line with our election commitment to increase the proportion of female board members on Queensland GOCs to 50 per cent by 2020," he said.

Mr Pitt said GOCs were vital in the delivery of services and export dollars for Queenslanders.

"Keeping key assets in public ownership, like our ports and our electricity networks, was one of our major election commitments," he said.

"With these new appointments, we're now well placed to ensure our assets keep delivering dividends for all Queenslanders."

Additional board appointments were expected to be named in coming weeks.

On Saturday, prior to the board announcements being made, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg blasted the Palaszczuk government's "vindictive" agenda in removing members of GOC boards.

"On the eve of flying to Asia the Premier has shaken up the entire board process, and won't stick around to explain her reasons," Mr Springborg said.

"What we do know after seven months is that this government is at the mercy of the unions, hiring and firing to keep their number-one donors on side.

"All we've seen so far from the Palaszczuk Labor government is politically motivated sackings of capable senior public servants under the veil of a 'merit-based' process.

"Queenslanders didn't vote for this."

The Newman LNP government went through a similar process of board appointments after its election in 2012, sacking Labor appointees and replacing them with their own favoured office holders.

Former Energex chairman Shane Stone resigned shortly after the election of the Palaszczuk government, citing an aversion to working for a Labor government.

The Palaszczuk government's new GOC and statutory authorities appointments

CS Energy Limited

  • Chair: Jim Soorley
  • Director: Julie-Anne Schafer

Energex Limited

  • Chair: Gordon Jardine
  • Directors: Vanessa Sullivan and Robert Shead

Ergon Energy Corporation Limited

  • Chair: Clive Skarott
  • Directors: Lorraine Stephenson and Adam Aspinall

Queensland Electricity Transmission Corporation Limited (Powerlink)

  • Directors: Joanna Brand and Alan Millis