Kiersten Fishburn appointed new Chief Executive of OLG

Kiersten Fishburn 1

Kiersten Fishburn has been appointed by the Secretary Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to replace Tim Hurst. Kiersten brings an impressive career in local government to a job that has been filled by career public servants with limited experience in local government, almost forever.

Six years as Manager Culture and Libraries at the City of Sydney, Director of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre for five years, and CEO of Liverpool City Council for almost 4 years until July 2020, we were sorry to see Kiersten go from Liverpool. She introduced a benign, modern and accountable approach and a progressive touch to local government Management in an organisation that desperately needed one. She was open and accessible and her appointment is welcomed.

I first met Kiersten in the IRC one morning and she had attended in a dispute she was having as CEO of Liverpool with the USU. I’d asked the combatants having an adjournment where the GM was and they said she was around the corner, so I bounded around to introduce myself and found her breast feeding. We still introduced each other and it was a great first impression for me of a CEO being a mum but also able to be tough, when needed. And another person who had introduced the kid to the IRC quite early in their life.

That’s the good news about the appointment. The bad news about the appointment is that Kiersten already has a full-time job - as Coordinator General, Planning Delivery Unit at DPIE, and will now be asked to continue that full-time role and add to it what has, up until recent years, a full-time Chief Executive role of the OLG. Historically, OLG and DLG before it, have not only had a full-time Director-General CEO, but a full-time Deputy as well. No wonder things are slow, and inaccessible and frustrating.

Does this say something about the NSW Government’s priorities on the regulation of local government?

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