Member for the Agricultural Region Colin de Grussa has cautiously welcomed the appointment of Steve Lewis as the new Chief Executive Officer at Southern Ports, calling it an opportunity for a fresh start.
Mr Lewis has more than 20 years of experience as a CEO, most recently as interim CEO at Mid-West Ports Authority, and will start with Southern Ports from 14 January 2019.
Mr de Grussa said he was hopeful that Mr Lewis’ extensive experience across numerous port authorities would allow him to bring a new perspective and focus to Southern Ports.
“Southern Ports staff, particularly in Esperance and Albany, have faced some significant challenges over the last two years,” Mr de Grussa said.
“There has been numerous instances of bullying and harassment, which have resulted in a very poor workplace culture, and several investigations by Worksafe.
“The Nationals WA spent most of 2017 trying to get Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to understand just how bad things were, so it’s good to see new Minister for Ports Alannah MacTiernan call the situation for what it was – a ‘catastrophic breakdown’.
“I’m hopeful that the appointment of Mr Lewis will provide a fresh start for the organisation, and I urge him to make improving workplace culture a priority.”
Minister MacTiernan recently floated the idea of removing Bunbury from the Southern Ports consortium, and instead amalgamating it with Fremantle Port.
Member for Roe Peter Rundle said this was an interesting proposal that could have merit.
“As far as I’m concerned, there are greater synergies between the Ports of Esperance and Albany, than there is with Bunbury, and I look forward to seeing how the Minister proposes to progress this,” Mr Rundle said.
“Ports are integral pieces of our state’s infrastructure, key to driving our economy.
“They were left to flounder under the Transport Minister, who cast the issues of regional WA aside to focus purely on delivering Metronet.
“At least the new Minister is showing some interest in finally addressing the significant issues in our current Port organisations.”