The Chief Minster has announced a “broad-ranging functional review of ACT government structures and programs” over the next few months.
This could be paving the way for a potential split between state and local government functions, which Brendan Smyth informs us Urban Services Minister John Hargreaves told the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors in July might happen.
The review, which will be headed by managing director of Actew Corporation Michael Costello and former Australian Treasury officer Greg Smith, has terms of reference that includes:
4. identify options to improve efficiency through more effective structures for government operations.
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(Note efficiency is about good use of resources and effectiveness is about meeting goals set for oneself.)
So, “more effective structures for government operations” could well mean, as Mr Hargreaves told an Assembly Committee today, “instilling a local-council style ethos in the Department of Urban Services”.
There has always been tension between the local government roles and the state government roles played by the ACT Government. Indeed, many readers of the RiotACT have supported a splitting of the roles for some time now, because often the local government functions (roads, rates, rubbish) get lost in all the playing with the big boys on state matters, particularly with Jon Stanhope who tends to see big visions and not the intimate details.
Brendan Smyth thinks the splitting of the two roles is a dreadful idea, although he may just be being contrary. He said, “Needless to say, the Canberra community needs another tier of government like it needs a hole in the head. This Government has made process more bureaucratic than ever before.”
The review team will present monthly reports to both the Chief Minister and Treasurer with a final report to be presented to the Cabinet in March next year.