Premier Colin Barnett
Government of Western Australia
Victor P Taffa
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett today announced that Mr. Brian Pontifex will commence as Chief of Staff to the Premier on February 8.
Premier Colin Barnett said Mr. Pontifex would bring high level corporate, legal and political experience to the important role in his office.
“With a history in commercial litigation, international law with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and experience as a Chief of Staff to a Federal Minister, I am pleased that Mr. Pontifex has chosen my office as the next step in his already distinguished career.” Mr. Barnett said.
Mr. Pontifex will step down from his role as General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Browse LNG Development at Woodside Energy on January 31 to commence his appointment with the Premier.
Mr. Pontifex graduated with First Class Honours from The University of Western Australia in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts and from the Australian National University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Laws. In 1996, he was admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
During this time, Mr. Pontifex provided legal and policy advice on native title matters to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet under former Premier Richard Court.
Mr. Pontifex was a Barrister and Solicitor within the litigation and major projects divisions at Freehills from 1995 through to 2001, before joining the office of the former Federal Justice and Customs Minister Chris Ellison as Ministerial Adviser and then Chief of Staff until 2004.
In 2005, he was awarded with distinction a Masters of International Law from the University of Edinburgh.
In his role as Legal Consultant to the OECD Anti-Corruption Division in Paris from 2005 to 2007, Mr. Pontifex led examination teams to review implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in international trade to Brazil, Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.
Premier Barnett again thanked his former Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary Deidre Willmott for her contribution during the first 15 months of the Liberal-National Government. He wished her well in her new role as State Director of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and continuing work on the Oakajee project.
With South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and the Commonwealth all headed for the polls in 2010 Premier Barnett will be able to focus on the task of forging a new frontier in the West.
Premier Barnett has a busy Parliamentary year ahead and the new appointment of Mr. Pontifex will ensure that Western Australia leads the Eastern States on all of the key indicators in 2010.