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The bureaucrat heading up the West Australian State Government's asset sales program and major projects, Richard Mann, is widely tipped to become WA's new transport chief.
The role will become vacant at the end of this monthwhen Reece Waldock retires after six years in the role.
It is a role widely viewed as one of the most powerful public service jobs in WA.
While the ABC understands the process to find a replacement has started, a Government spokeswoman declined to comment on when the role was expected to be filled.
The only two other candidates for the prized job are Department of Mines and Petroleum director-general Richard Sellers and Department of Transport managing director of transport services Nina Lyhne.
The successful candidate has yet to be approved by Cabinet.
The role is also seen as one of the more challenging jobs, with WA's transport chief overseeing the Public Transport Authority, Main Roads and the Department of Transport.
In his current role as Treasury's strategic projects and asset sales executive director, Mr Mann oversees some of the Government's major projects including the New Perth Stadium and the Perth Children's Hospital.
He also oversees the Government's ambitious multi-billion-dollar asset sales program, which has so far only concluded just one major sale in two years, which was the $135 million Perth Market Authority.
The Government wants to sell off a string of publicly-owned assets to bring down spiralling debt, but a number of the proposed sales, including the TAB and Fremantle Port, have faced significant hurdles.
Mr Mann joined Main Roads in the late 1980s after graduating in engineering.
Mr Mann's transport credentialsHe was later seconded to the Public Transport Authority where he oversaw the alignment of the Perth to Mandurah rail line through the city.
Curtin University sustainability expert, Professor Peter Newman, said Mr Mann would be able to draw people together in a way the State had not experienced for some time.
He said it was a big job which not only involved the three key transport departments, but also high-level negotiations with other government and non-government agencies.
"And you've got to bring the public along too because the public's really interested in this stuff, so it's an integrative role and that's something that needs a significant ability to work with people," he said.
"Richard is well-respected because he delivers projects.
"The Southern Railway was delivered on time, on budget and is a fantastic success story and he was the one in charge of that," Professor Newman said.
Political analyst Peter Kennedy said it was a "huge role" and it would be crucial the Government got the right person to fill the post, particularly with transport expected to be a major issue at the March state election.
He also pointed out that as the election got closer, the Government would come under increasing scrutiny over its failure to deliver on key transport promises made at the 2013 poll, including its MAX light rail project.
"It's important the Government get it right," Mr Kennedy said.
"It hasn't been able to get many runs on the board so far but the new appointment must be able to oversee the sort of development that the metropolitan area needs.
"The person must be familiar with the issues and hit the ground running and get on with the job and deal with problems."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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