Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Business

The voice of business in Canberra

PM Tony to shift your job north of the 20th parallel?

By johnboy 7 February 2013 51

The NT News is very excited by Liberal Plans to move public service departments to a new Australia in the far north.

Labor Senator Kate Lundy is asking the warring local liberal factions what they think of this plan?

Today Tony Abbott has let the cat out of the bag on his plan to force people to move to the most remote parts of the country to find work.

In recent days, Gary Humphries and Zed Seselja have been scrambling over each other to prove who will be the best ‘champion’ for Canberra residents under an Abbott-led government.

Well, this is their first test.

The test for Senator Humphries and Mr Seselja is simple: will they rule out supporting Tony Abbott’s plan for compulsory relocations of Canberra public servants to northern Australia?

No reply as yet.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
51 Responses to
PM Tony to shift your job north of the 20th parallel?
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
Mr Evil 1:54 pm 09 Feb 13

PM said :

Mr Evil said :

Look at it this way – it’s a vote winner in region/remote areas – but it really isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

If it was easy to move large chunks of the APS to places like Darwin, I am sure Howard would have done it years ago.

Also, isn’t the NT News known for reporting UFO sightings on the front page?

Can’t be worse than the Crimes

Are you for real?

As if the Canberra Times would publish a story about UFOs on the front page. They’d much rather put that kind of story in a special lift-out, with commentry supplied by Tim the Yowie Man.

PM 11:20 am 09 Feb 13

Mr Evil said :

Look at it this way – it’s a vote winner in region/remote areas – but it really isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

If it was easy to move large chunks of the APS to places like Darwin, I am sure Howard would have done it years ago.

Also, isn’t the NT News known for reporting UFO sightings on the front page?

Can’t be worse than the Crimes

Mr Evil 10:24 am 09 Feb 13

Look at it this way – it’s a vote winner in region/remote areas – but it really isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

If it was easy to move large chunks of the APS to places like Darwin, I am sure Howard would have done it years ago.

Also, isn’t the NT News known for reporting UFO sightings on the front page?

toriness 9:36 am 09 Feb 13

vauxhall said :

bd84 said :

From all accounts, it’s nowhere close to being a “plan”. But I’m sure the media will beat it up and labor will jump up and down in a poor attempt to clutch to power.

Actually Tony Abbott was on the news saying it’s a plan and not a policy.

Either way, madness! More of this for the lols please

+ 1,000,000

Samuel Gordon-Stewart 9:13 am 09 Feb 13

Actually, scratch that last comment about my comment getting cut off. Looks like my browser is playing tricks on me. Sorry.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart 9:12 am 09 Feb 13

It looks like the rest of my comment got cut off because I accidentally double clicked “submit”.

As I said earlier, placing public servants closer to the people they work with has varying benefits depending on the case. To use your example of foreign aid, that depends on the place as some governments are more interested than others in helping their people…but I have no doubt that people on the ground in foreign countries have a better idea of where aid is needed than people who are not located in those areas. Slightly off-topic, but I believe that all foreign aid should be overseen by one of our own people on the ground. The receiving country should have input in to where and how the aid occurs, but it should be conditional on our public servants overseeing it to ensure that the aid is provided in a way which we support.

And while it may not be necessary to live through a flood in order to help with the cleanup, it certainly helps with understanding the problems. I also think having certain departments closer to the people with which they work (such as Primary Industries closer to farmers) would allow for more open discussions between the public and private sectors, benefiting everyone.

All of that said, I think we are disagreeing on fundamental issues of the correct role and scope of government, and even the role, scope and responsibilities of the public service, so I am happy to politely agree to disagree.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart 9:06 am 09 Feb 13

mezza76 said :

But it doesn’t. They aren’t ‘extra’ people…they are people moving from one economic area to another. So unless they are all unemployed to begin with – you’re not ‘creating’ anything. You are simply removing economic activity from one area to another.

They are “extra people” to the regions to which they are moved, and if those areas have a small population, then you only need to move a small number of people there to create quite an increase in economic activity…and certainly to create more of a benefit to those areas than a loss to the highly-populated area which they came from. Of course, I was talking about moving entire departments or sections of departments, so the economics are a bit different, but on the whole I think the benefits for other areas would far outweigh the costs for Canberra, especially when you consider than many private sector ancillary services for government (data centres, for one example) would remain in Canberra.

This brings me to another point.

dpm said :

As mezza said:”Why is economic activity in Canberra [considered] worse than economic activity in Cairns? Why should the country spend considerable funds moving this economic activity from one location to another? There is no net benefit to the consumer [i.e Australia overall, which the Federal govt would be focused on – not one or two jurisdictions].”

Further, you mentioned in your original tome: “but the public service does not exist to keep Canberra economy ticking over”.
So, how does that fit with: “I think the north would benefit the most at this point in time from some economic development which would result from a bunch of extra people suddenly living there”.
i.e What if we replace ‘Canberra’ in your first quote with ‘Cairns’? Basically, you’re confusing me! Then again, i’m a bit simple!

“The north” is not one place, and I did not suggest moving all of Canberra’s public servants to one place (or moving all of Canberra’s public servants for that matter). Canberra’s economy can still be strong with a few less public servants here (especially if local government helps to make conditions favourable for the private sector) and many other areas of the country can grow more easily if a few public servants go to a bunch of places and, by virtue of their presence, increase the economic demand on the private sector.

Canberra’s economy would be stronger if it had more reliance on private sector investment, production etc, rather than EL staff spending money within Canberra. Having an economy which is heavily reliant on the spending habits of public servants (or government spending in general, for that matter) causes it to be entirely dependent on the whims of politicians. Also, having a town like Canberra which depends heavily on executive level public service salaries creates envy in the rest of the country. It’s not an economic argument, but I think you would find that the non-Canberra public would be more accepting of the public service if the executive levels weren’t as concentrated in the Canberra region, as there would be less of a reason to believe (rightly or wrongly) that tax dollars disappear in to a government town and are never seen again.

By the way, I’m sorry that you thought my original comment was a tome. I have a habit of being ambiguous and easily misinterpreted when I’m brief, so I like to explain my thoughts in details. Alas, at times, it doesn’t clarify much at all.

Ghettosmurf87 said :

Samuel Gordon-Stewart said :

I would hope that years of experience within a single department would increase the quality of work and the quality of training for new staff in that department.

And this my friend is why you don’t quite understand it. Having worked in an agency which has a large number of staff having worked within it’s structures for 20+ years, it is the exact opposite.

The staff are the least open to change, modernisation and new ideas. They become stuck in their own little world, without exposure to how other workplaces may have operated better. Rather than improving their own departments, the lack of new ideas means that the agency stagnates and remains 10-15yrs behind the kinds of processes which enhance the agency’s capability to perform it’s tasks in today’s society.

The movement of staff between agencies means that better practices are able to be implemented as new/fresh faces move into an agency and show the way.

Public service should be resistant to change. Change should be a by-product of the implementation of government policy, not a by-product of inter-departmental staff movements.

Adapting to the needs of the public, depending on the department, is important, but “the needs of the public” should be defined by the parliament rather than direct feedback. For example, Centrelink payments should be set by parliament, not by people walking in to Centrelink and requesting extra money. On the other hand, some departments can identify necessary changes within the scope of existing policy, such as police identifying that different handcuffs are more effective and allow them to meet government expectations more easily, or any department identifying that a certain brand of toner is able to print more pages on one fill.

The public service, while professional, should not undertake wholesale changes autonomously on the whim of new staff, but rather under direction from parliament and from careful consideration of experienced senior staff, and if senior staff are unwilling to implement changes as required by elected politicians, then they should either not be senior staff, or not be in the public service at all. The role of the public service is to implement and oversee the day-to-day operation of government policy, and I have to question the wisdom of continuing to employ any senior (or junior, but senior in particular) public servant who does not wholeheartedly embrace that.

mezza76 said :

On the other issues – it’s not about public servants in Canberra understaning ‘Canberra’ issues. It’s about taking a ‘national’ view. I don’t need to be in a frick’n flood to know it’s bad. But I need to know the issues around it – how to get quick income support, repairing critical infrastructure, immediate housing and sanitation needs, ensuring good governance and law and order. We’re people with a diverse background, skills and experiences. We’re not just a bunch of characters from Yes Minister.

In that context, do you think that the best people to plan fuding and investment for developing countries aid money, is the developing countries themselves? Or do you think that developed countries/specially equipped aid organisations are better placed do that?

mezza76 said :

As I said earlier, placing public servants closer to the people they work with has varying benefits depending on the case. To use your example of foreign aid, that depends on the place as some governments are more interested than others in helping their people…but I have no doubt that people on the ground in foreign countries have a better idea of where aid is needed than people who are not located in those areas. Slightly off-topic, but I am of the belief that foreign aid should be managed, on the ground, by our own staff, and if the recipient country does not agree then they should not get any aid. The recipient country should have a large say in what the aid goes towards, but should not be in charge of making it happen. I suspect I’m in the minority on that one.

And while it may not be necessary to live through a flood in order to help with the cleanup, it certainly helps with understanding the problems, and when it comes to certain industries such as farming, I suspect that the people in those industries will be better placed to work with the relevant government departments if they are closer to the action…and this would hopefully lead to better outcomes for both government and the private sector.

mezza76 said :

I think I’ll politely ‘beg to differ’. And for the record, most people in the public service don’t like MOG changes, reshuffles and restructures. All of which are created by bad management, politics or both. I hope one day we’ll make it a referendum to change departments – thereby taking it out of government’s crazy hand to stack every minority issue into the title of a department (see The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities)

Agreeing to disagree sounds like a good idea. I think, at it’s base level, we are disagreeing on fundamental issues of the correct role and scope of government, and even the role, scope and responsibilities of the public service, so I am happy to politely agree to disagree.

gazket 3:42 pm 08 Feb 13

The test for Senator Humphries and Mr Seselja is simple: will they rule out supporting Tony Abbott’s plan for compulsory relocations of Canberra public servants to northern Australia.

total beat up. I doubt people are going to wake up one morning and told to move now to keep your job. I’m sure there would be plenty of notice and going on current public service times for investigations and such there would be years notice

Ghettosmurf87 2:33 pm 08 Feb 13

Samuel Gordon-Stewart said :

I would hope that years of experience within a single department would increase the quality of work and the quality of training for new staff in that department.

And this my friend is why you don’t quite understand it. Having worked in an agency which has a large number of staff having worked within it’s structures for 20+ years, it is the exact opposite.

The staff are the least open to change, modernisation and new ideas. They become stuck in their own little world, without exposure to how other workplaces may have operated better. Rather than improving their own departments, the lack of new ideas means that the agency stagnates and remains 10-15yrs behind the kinds of processes which enhance the agency’s capability to perform it’s tasks in today’s society.

The movement of staff between agencies means that better practices are able to be implemented as new/fresh faces move into an agency and show the way.

Insular agencies set up a silo mentality whereby the status quo is never really questioned because no one from outside the silo is coming in to question it.

It’s why you get someone unfamiliar with a document to proof-read it. As they come in with unbiased, fresh eyes, they can pick up all the lazy habits you might have sunken into, notice the jargon you have used which is note appropriate to a general audience and provide a different way of looking at what you have written.

PantsMan 2:15 pm 08 Feb 13

mezza76 said :

Disclosure: I’m not a member of a political party. I am a public servant and I’ve been working to stop stupid ideas for over a decade.

!?!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site