26 June 2013

Canberra cardigan wearers holding the nation back?

| johnboy
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Government News have a lengthy spray by National Infrastructure Coordinator Michael Deegan on the arse covering bureaucracy costing Australia dearly from building the logistics networks to be competitive in the modern world:

“You would expect that somebody knows all the key pieces of economic infrastructure, what is needed for the future and that all relevant land spaces are monitored, protected and planned. You would expect common sense, and effective planning. You’d be wrong.” Mr Deegan said.

Mr Deegan warned that “bureaucratic charades and displays of truculence” held real consequences for jobs and national productivity.

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After dealing with politicians and transport/road bureaucrats for many years I have to agree with some of his comments. There seems to be a real aversion to long term infrastructure like public transport in favour of road construction.

I recall a budding politician who was very inarticulate regarding transport issues and following her election and our next discussion on transport, mouthed almost the same phrases I had heard from a senior bureaucrat some time earlier. Clearly the senior public servants had ‘briefed’ her.

Certain ideas hold sway in bureaucracies and people who head those agencies up are deft in handling politicians.

I would also add that the majority of public servants I have dealt with as a public transport advocate have been very professional and are merely implementing the policy of the government of the day.

HiddenDragon11:49 am 26 Jun 13

This begs the question of what all the relevant ministers, parliamentary secretaries etc., together with their phalanxes of handpicked staffers and advisers, have been doing. After years of “reforms” designed to make the public sector more “responsive” to the wishes of politicians, surely officials could only be holding things back to this extent if ministers and their advisors turn a collective blind eye or are very easily snowed.

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