Queensland’s incoming chief health officer Dr Krispin Hajkowicz will no longer take up the role for personal reasons.
Dr Hajkowicz had been set to take over as the state’s top doctor when Jeannette Young was sworn in as Queensland governor next week.
“For personal reasons, Dr Krispin Hajkowicz will no longer be taking up the position of chief health officer,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
Ms D’Ath said she respected the decision and deputy CHO Dr Peter Aitken will act in the role until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Dr Young will be sworn in as Queensland’s 27th governor on Monday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk led tributes to Dr Young’s work in state parliament earlier on Thursday, describing the burden she carried during the pandemic as “unprecedented”.
“This has meant enormous pressure, sleepless nights, and a torrent of information which she has processed calmly and clinically, with compassion and care,” she said.
“I am proud to say that, in my opinion, Dr Young has led Australia and the world in COVID health measures.”
Dr Young steps down as Queensland’s longest-serving chief health officer after 16 years in the role.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, she campaigned for better health outcomes for issues including smoking, obesity and the flu.
“Anything from a public health perspective that improves the lives of Queenslanders – from the inner-cities to our remote indigenous communities,” Ms Palaszczuk added.
Ms D’Ath said the state was in the best possible position, with low COVID-19 case numbers and no community spread, as it prepared to open its borders in December.
“She has taken her role extremely seriously, it has weighed heavily. She knew what the risks were in every single decision she made,” she said.