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State Govt CEO “welcome to reapply” for his own job

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The future of another major agency boss is in limbo, with the State Government advertising for a new CEO in its primary industries department – while the incumbent remains in the role.

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Primary Industries and Regions South Australia CEO Scott Ashby did not respond to inquiries today, and it’s unclear if he will seek to extend his seven-year tenure at the department’s helm when his contract expires early next year.

His position was advertised on Seek.com last week, but a spokesman for Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said he has not been told his contract will not be renewed.

“The PIRSA Chief Executive Scott Ashby’s contract expires in April,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“The State Government will undergo an open application process to which Mr Ashby is welcome to reapply.

“Mr Ashby has been a valued and experienced leader during his time.”

The job ad on Seek.

Ashby, appointed in 2013 by the former Labor Government, was also replaced on the Forestry SA board in April, with Whetstone appointing businessman Tim Stollznow in his place.

The latest round of uncertainty in the top echelons of the bureaucracy follows InDaily revealing last month that former Veterans SA director Rob Manton was asked to re-apply for his own position and was short-listed along with another candidate for the role – but that neither was ultimately offered the job and the position was left unfilled.

Primary industries has been a controversial portfolio for the Marshall Government of late, with recent revelations of a chaotic rollout of a biosecurity crackdown at the Yamba Quarantine Station, the introduction of a contentious snapper ban and last week’s failure to end the state’s GM moratorium through regulations, with Whetstone now pursuing legislative change instead.

Labor primary industries spokesman Eddie Hughes said the portfolio “seems to be a shambles”, with the departmental uncertainty symptomatic of the “chaos”.

“I don’t think things are being well handled under this minister,” he said.

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