The South Australian government has appointed ex-Channel Seven news director Terry Plane to the difficult role of director of strategic communications for the newly created Department of Child Protection. A tipster tells us that some in the public service were surprised by the appointment, because the position wasn’t advertised, and there wasn’t a selection process. Plane left Channel Seven at the start of the year, with InDaily reporting in January that it was a surprise move:

InDaily understands Plane was told this morning by station boss Tony Davison that his position had been made redundant, effective immediately.

“Veteran Today Tonight producer Graham Archer will oversee news and current affairs.

“Plane, a wily news veteran in his third stint at Seven, has helped his team to a dominant position in the ratings.”

Plane’s appointment was reported in The Adelaide Advertiser on Saturday, which also mentioned that the new department still doesn’t have a chief executive. Our tipster says: “Apparently there’s an international search on for a new chief executive … but clearly there was no need to search as far for the rather important role above.” With royal commissioner Margaret Nyland’s report and recommendations about South Australia’s scandal-plagued child protection system due to be released today, perhaps there was more urgency when it came to getting someone in the communications role to manage the fallout from the report — which runs to 850 pages and makes 260 recommendations.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey