Tributes have been paid to Department of Environment and Conservation Director General Keiran McNamara who has a terminal illness and is resigning from the position.
In a DEC statement issued today, Mr McNamara said it had been a privilege and an honour to lead the dedicated staff of the Department of Conservation and Land Management and DEC over the past 12 years.
DEC’s acting director general Jim Sharp said Mr McNamara had made an outstanding contribution to the State, across Australia and internationally over a long and distinguished career.
“Keiran has worked tirelessly with courage, passion and commitment to conserve and protect the State’s environment, leading to major additions to parks, an increased appreciation of these by the public, innovative projects to protect the State’s rich biodiversity, streamlined environmental approvals and regulation, and significant advances in science,” Mr Sharp said.
“Keiran leaves an enduring legacy in conservation and environmental protection, and in public service.”
Department of the Premier and Cabinet Director General Peter Conran said: “Keiran McNamara has been a remarkable public servant, much admired and respected by those who worked for him and with him. His dedication and contribution to the environment and to the development of Western Australia has been exceptional. If a word could describe Keiran it is ‘courage’. Those of us who know him as a colleague and a good friend will draw inspiration from that.”
Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope said: “Keiran McNamara’s achievements as head of CALM and DEC have been beyond comparison. His professionalism and commitment have made a real difference to the public sector and the community. Keiran has always led from the front and shown great leadership and loyalty to his team.”
Mr McNamara graduated with a degree in natural resources from the University of New England in 1976.
He spent seven years with the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service in Canberra before joining WA's Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Department in July 1985.
Mr McNamara went on to become CALM's director of nature conservation in December 1991 and its chief executive in July 2001.
When the state government amalgamated CALM and the Environment Department to form the DEC in July 2006, Mr McNamara was appointed its director general.
Premier Colin Barnett also paid tribute to Mr McNamara, saying the DEC boss had struck an appropriate balance between environmental conservation and economic development.
“He has fulfilled this role with vision, commitment and integrity,” Mr Barnett said.
“I am very sorry to hear of Keiran's illness and have spoken personally to him in recent days to convey my and the Government's appreciation of his exemplary service to the people of WA over many years and to wish him the very best.”
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said Mr McNamara had been an outstanding leader who had left an enduring legacy in environmental protection.
“The environmental and conservation achievements of the Western Australian governments over the last 10 years could not have been possible without Keiran's contribution,” he said.
World Wildlife Fund spokesman Paul Gamblin said his group had worked closely with Mr McNamara for many years and was “shocked and saddened” by news of his illness.
“We wish Keiran and his family and friends all the very best as he tackles this illness,” he said.
“No doubt he will draw on the great stamina and determination that he demonstrated leading WA's conservation agencies for more than a decade.”Mr McNamara played a major role in recent conservation advances in WA from expanding marine protection at Ningaloo Reef and steering its World Heritage nomination, to conservation parks in the Kimberley, Mr Gamblin said.
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