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Former Olympic Dam boss among new appointments to TAFE board

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The State Government has made three new appointments to the board of TAFE SA, including the former BHP executive responsible for the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia’s north.

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The three appointees will work with the interim board before the remaining members of a refreshed board are appointed later in the year, says Education Minister John Gardner.

The new members are Jacqui McGill, former asset president of Olympic Dam for BHP Billiton, business executive and lawyer Sam Scammell, and Craig Fowler, who was recently the managing director for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

McGill left BHP this year and took up a position on Premier Steven Marshall’s Economic Advisory Committee in August.

In April, the State Government appointed a seven-member interim board to oversee the troubled education provider. At the time, Gardner said the appointments were for six months to allow for an exhaustive recruitment process. He later extended those appointments to the end of the year.

TAFE SA was hit by a series of scandals last year under the previous Labor Government, with a random audit by the Australian Skills Quality Authority finding a series of its courses had failed to meet required standards. The then CEO and chair of the board resigned in the wake of those revelations, with the then Government ordering an urgent review.

Gardner said the appointments announced today were in line with the Government’s determination that TAFE Board members should be selected on merit, and must have relevant experience in skills, training, governance or industry.

“These appointments deliver on that commitment, as will further appointments to be made later in the year,” he said.

“These three appointments are capable individuals who possess relevant skill sets, valuable industry experience, governance and financial expertise. They will be assets to the board and TAFE SA as an organisation.”

He said the “many talented and hardworking educators at TAFE SA” were let down under Labor’s oversight of the organisation.

The September Budget provided a $109 million “rescue package” for TAFE SA, but also announced the closure of campuses with “low utilisation rates” in Tea Tree Gully, Port Adelaide, Urrbrae, Parafield, Wudinna, Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy.

The State Opposition said today that the Parafield and Tea Tree Gully campuses had been told they wouldn’t re-open in the new year.

A spokesperson for Gardner said that while discussions were still underway about the timetable for closure, it was likely that the campuses would shut before teaching began for the new year in February 2019.

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