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Premier stonewalls on Renewal SA management questions

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Premier Steven Marshall has stonewalled questions about the management of the state’s urban development agency Renewal SA, refusing to confirm the identity of an executive who has suddenly gone on leave or explain the absence of chief executive John Hanlon.

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Marshall today spoke at a Google Digital Garage event at Lot Fourteen – the old Royal Adelaide site – where he spruiked an “exciting transformation” of the site “with the coming together of fast-growing and future industry clusters such as defence and space technologies, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and immersive technologies”.

But, standing in front of a banner bearing the Renewal SA logo, he refused to shed light on the sudden departure of the agency’s boss.

“Mr Hanlon is on leave at the moment,” Marshall said.

“There are two executives from Renewal SA who are currently on leave, and I have nothing further to add to that, except to say Damian De Luca is the acting head of Renewal SA… we’ve made that appointment as quickly as possible so we can get on with delivering our agenda to get this state moving.”

He said it was his “understanding” that Hanlon was still being paid.

His comments echoed a statement late yesterday from Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll, who said that Hanlon “and one other Renewal SA executive are currently on leave”.

“I have appointed Mr Damian De Luca [previously General Manager, Corporate Services] to be Acting Chief Executive so that there is no disruption to Renewal SA’s continued operations and its focus on delivering its important strategic projects,” Knoll said.

However, there are only four executives in Renewal SA’s current management structure: Hanlon, De Luca, General Manager of “People & Place Management” Georgina Vasilevski and Mark Devine, the General Manager of Project Delivery.

But, bizarrely, neither Knoll nor Marshall would today confirm whether either of the two were currently on leave.

“I’m not going to go into further details… I’ve said everything I’ve wanted to on this issue,” he said in response to specific questions.

“There are two executives on leave, and their positions have been backfilled… I’ve made the statement I’m going to make. I’m not going to elaborate any further.”

Neither Hanlon, Vasilevski nor Devine could be contacted today.

Marshall said “this happens across agencies from time to time, when people go on leave they’re replaced for a short time or a long time”.

However, he did not specify how long the Renewal SA executives were expected to be absent.

InDaily understands Hanlon was at work yesterday morning.

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