Ribbon and scissors on color background, top view. Ceremonial red tape cutting
Ribbon and scissors on color background, top view. Ceremonial red tape cutting

LETTER: Public service overhaul has never been so important

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has pressed the button on a review of manager performances in the Queensland public service.

Her lead should be followed by every level of governance in the nation, from local councils to the echelons of Canberra.

News of the implementation of the Bridgman Review has been overshadowed by the Covid-19 crisis but Australia's economic recovery hangs on improving the efficiency of our public service.

While the pandemic has highlighted the danger of reliance on supplies from overseas, bungling, suffocating and outright obstruction from our public sectors has throttled the life out of Australian businesses.

Australia's complex, multi-layered system encourages underperformance.

Governance laws passed in good faith to counter corruption, health, security and safety have created a culture where evaluated decisions are avoided and rules mindlessly applied.

Keeping one's job is paramount and with no performance measures the best protection is to take no risks and show no initiative. One questions why we are employing so many people who do not have the expertise, efficiency, desires or confidence to make decisions and need to employ consultants to collate meaningless reports that should be done promptly in-house.

If our public employees are going through the motions, quoting rule books and hiding in a legislative, contradictory maze of dead ends and screening hedges they are surplus to the needs of taxpayers who pay their wages. Robots could rapidly perform the same functions.

Peter Bridgman's review found a recurring theme of problems with employment laws and an unwillingness or inability of some managers to address poor performance. That indicates a failing of the system, not individuals.

Some blame must fall on politicians at all levels so obsessed with clinging to power that they rarely heed the responsibility-crushing effect of the multitude of laws and regulations they tick without proper scrutiny.

We are told life will never be the same post-pandemic. How we cope with that era will be determined by how quickly we can turn around our public service performance to create an environment encouraging to business and investment.

Queensland's lead must deliver results and be followed by all Australian politicians if we are to flourish as a nation, creating our own goods, rather than driving frustrated entrepreneurs and investors to more welcoming regimes overseas.

Nancy Bates, Maryborough.