New identity for DPIWE

PREMIER Peter Gutwein recently released the Government’s response to the final report of the Independent Review of the Tasmanian State Service, conducted by Dr Ian Watt AC throughout 2020 and in the first half of 2021.

Dr Watt’s roadmap was released in September and following consultation with public sector unions, the Government supports or supports in-principle all 77 recommendations.

The roadmap, Mr Gutwein said, was comprehensive and bold and would significantly change the State Service in Tasmania.

The Premier said from December 1, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment will be renamed Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania.

These changes will start from March 31 next year and will bring forestry planning and regulatory decisions into the same department as water and land resources.

However , the man appointed to establish the new Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, DPIPWE Secretary Tim Baker is leaving the department and the state.

He will be taking up a role as CEO of the Gold Coast City Council, reportedly on a $700,000 salary package.

Now the search is on for Mr Baker’s replacement.

The Government’s full response is available at

What’s in a name?
Comment by Roger Hanson

IT is astounding that the words “primary industries” are being removed from the name of the current Department of Primary Industries, Water, Parks and the Environment.

Apparently, farmers and the agricultural sector are now “natural resources” – which will likely come as somewhat of an insult to many of our hard-working farmers and graziers.

And in a move that reeks of an episode from the BBC TV show Yes Minister, the minister presiding over the department is Minister for Primary Industries and Water and will keep that title for now, but will it change after December, when no department of that name exists?

Currently, we have a department of Communities, of Health, of Education, of Justice, of Police Fire and Emergency Management, of Tourism, the list goes on – all very logical and fair enough.

To add to this farcical situation the Secretary of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), Tim Baker, has resigned to take up the position of CEO with the Gold Coast Council starting on February 1, 2022.

The Government will now start a recruitment process for his replacement.

From December 1, we won’t have a department for our valuable primary industries sector, which according to the Government’s own figures generate about $3 billion per year, representing some 10 per cent of Tasmania’s economy.

We will have a Minister of Primary Industries presiding over a department that doesn’t include reference to primary industries, and now no secretary of the department of primary industries.

If this was a bush track, primary industries has been lost in the dust.

This would seem to me to be a very poor reflection on the Government’s valuing of agriculture and farmers.

A DPIPWE spokesperson said the department’s name is being changed to better reflect the work it does to facilitate productive and sustainable industries and the enjoyment and protection of our cultural and natural values.

“The name is designed to broadly reflect all our work areas, including the very important primary industry and agriculture sectors.
“Agriculture, and more broadly our primary industries, will remain a high priority for the department, and Primary Industry and Water will continue to be a division under the new department.”

Well, if primary industries are such a high priority, then why isn’t it reflected in the name?

And why are primary industries now just a division of a wider department.

I just hope agriculture and the value of our-hard-working farmers doesn’t get lost in this episode of Yes Minister.

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