Michael Brealey.

Michael Brealey has resigned as CEO of Create NSW after 13 months in the post and will depart at the end of March.

In an email to staff Alex O’Mara, deputy secretary, Arts, Screen and Culture, thanked Brealey for shepherding through a lot of changes, including the formation of Create NSW, moving the division to the Department of Planning and the Environment and advising the new minister Don Harwin, while ensuring Create NSW continued to deliver on its priorities.

The job will be advertised. The appointment of an acting CEO while recruitment is undertaken is yet to be made.

Brealey could not be contacted but insiders pointed to a turbulent period over the last five years which saw two CEOs of Create NSW’s forerunner Screen NSW depart: Maureen Barron, who is now an adviser to Labor’s Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke, and Courtney Gibson, who joined Jungle as MD.

Since the end of the New South Wales government’s two-year, $20 million Made in NSW scheme to attract international productions and high-end Australian TV dramas, Create NSW has found it hard to compete with the much better-funded and responsive Screen Queensland and Film Victoria.

Brealey joined Arts NSW as director of policy and strategy in 2015 and was named acting executive director in April 2016. He was appointed CEO of Create NSW following the merger of Screen NSW and Arts NSW in January 2017.

Previously he served as head of policy, strategy and governance for ABC TV and manager, public policy and content standards for Vodafone Australia. He also held several positions in the federal Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

In the email O’Mara said Create NSW has hit its targets including Western Sydney and regional investment, the Screen Industry Support Program and Made in NSW. In addition the organisation has implemented new programs including Making Spaces and Live and Local and a raft of screen programs such as Screenability, the Generator Partnership with SBS, the CliFi initiative, the Half Hour Drama Initiative and the Western Sydney Half Hour Drama initiative.

Create NSW has a new focus on engaging and communicating with its stakeholders and has delivered 36 roadshows reaching 1,200 people, O’Mara added.  Also it has  made submissions on subjects as varied as Support for the Screen Sector and Inauthentic Aboriginal Art and has taken the Walsh Bay project from a business case to almost being ready for construction.

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  1. As a former deputy chair of the old FTO I always figured this exercise would end in tears for someone. The rot set in when Screen NSW lost its independent board and became prisoner to the arts bureaucrats.

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