After leadership roles in Treasury and Premier and Cabinet, Knight headed the department of Primary Industries and Resources SA from 2006, before being appointed Chief Executive of the newly-created Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy in 2011.
His former minister in that department, Labor frontbencher Tom Koutsantonis, announced his passing on social media today.
My deepest sympathies to Julia & the family of Geoff Knight. He was an inspirational CEO of numerous agencies including DMITRE. He was a great role model, a decent & honest man. He deserved a longer life but lived life to the full. He was devoted to SA, his family & his staff.
— Tom Koutsantonis MP (@TKoutsantonisMP) November 19, 2018
Koutsantonis described Knight as “a very good man, and one of the best chief executives I ever worked with”.
“He was committed to South Australia, and the public service,” he said.
“I haven’t met a public servant that worked for me that wasn’t completely loyal to him, because he was completely loyal back to them… I’m really going to miss him.”
Knight was on the board of Renewal SA, to which he was appointed in 2014. In the same year he was appointed as a Commissioner of the Essential Services Commission of SA.
After he left the public sector, he took up a part-time consultancy role at KPMG.
Knight made headlines in 2013 for publicly criticising the Gillard Government’s controversial mining tax, which he argued had “increased our sovereign risk”.
“I get quite angry about perceptions that seem to be out there in the Australian community that the mining industry doesn’t pay its fair share of tax – I get as angry as anyone about that, because it is simply untrue,” The Australian newspaper reported him as saying at the time.
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