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                    [post_content] => 

Andrew Ferrington

The third series of 'Utopia', the fan favourite for all who have worked in an office, premiered last month. The series — created by the prolific Working Dog team — tells of the National Building Authority's coexisting contrary tensions of bureaucracy and ‘blue sky’ ambitions.

At the outset, let me disclose that I spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles in public service and am now back in the private world.

The show is great — the ministerial adviser tries to highlight the positives of the NBA's ambitions, while the authority itself grapples with its commission to be ambitious in its outlook. The show makes its mark by illustrating the tensions between the government, its ministers and the institutions that oversee it, all while the NBA attempts to complete public brief it has to envision the future.

The thing that concerns me is not the laughs at the bureaucracy's expense, it’s what it points out about the private sector. The big-picture thinking that always gets a laugh, is now nowhere to be seen.

Because it can't be. Only government is able to take the risk to lead such big change.

The private sector not only can't – but won't. It doesn't have the mandate, the appetite or the ability to dream large with these projects. The trope that "we don't need the government" as Rob Sitch's character says in episode one, becomes simply wrong. No entity but the government can make a decision or show the leadership that is needed to execute projects that bring about fundamental changes to society.

Further, the contemporary discussion about ‘small’ government and that it should get out of the way of business is also a nonsense. If we didn't have government imagining these large projects, taking risks that the private sector can't even conceive of, and spending the money (yes, our money), society would be nothing like it is today.

We do well to understand the context in which government works, because it is important.

This leadership trickles down: while the government mandates that women, people with a disability or indigenous peoples have a significant contribution to play in society, the private sector is far behind.

As a former bureaucrat, 'Utopia' makes me laugh. Yes, I've seen these behaviours: where the tyranny and vanity of politics overrules all. But it also makes me sad, because it mocks the leadership role that government plays, and the vision and ideas that the private sector can't possibly imagine.

Next time you leave home (which is standing solidly, because government regulations mandated it should be built to a certain standard), think about the water, electricity and other services you use, the roads you drive on, footpaths you walk on, and trains you might catch. While they may be delivered by the private sector, they were planned and imagined by governments.

And without them, we would be significantly worse off.

Andrew Ferrington is the national tenders manager at Findex Group.

 
                    [post_title] => There is no private ‘Utopia’
                    [post_excerpt] => Government is the only one working to create a 'Utopia'.
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By Paul Hemsley

Local Government Association of Queensland President Margaret de Wit has welcomed the state government’s move to put councils back in charge of community planning by getting rid of a raft of state bureaucratic requirements.

The Queensland government this week passed changes to the Local Government Act and Brisbane City Council Act it claims will restore local government powers over community planning following demands for change from all 73 councils across the state.

“[The changes] remove the shackles of bureaucracy clamped on local councils by the previous state government and free up mayors, councillors and council administrations to be more responsive to what their communities are telling them they want to happen,” Ms de Wit said.

Under the amended legislation, community plans are no longer required by the state government and councils can now respond independently to community demands.

The community plans were deeply unpopular with councils who regarded them as costly, time consuming and a duplication of information already held in financial and corporate plans.

Councils also complained to Queensland Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli that conflict of interest provisions were too restrictive and prevented them from voting on issues related to local sporting and community groups if they were a member.

As a result of the legislative changes, annual community and financial plans have been cut and  residential owners and occupants have become responsible for complying with local regulations. Councils can also hold referenda on issues of “significant local interest” and “rogue councilors” will be more heavily penalised under conflict of interest provisions.

Ms de Wit said councils had been waiting for these changes for a long time.

Mr Crisafulli said the previous Act made councils less responsive to their communities because they were too busy reporting to George Street in Brisbane.

“Whether it’s Brisbane City Council having to pay $5,000 for tabling the minutes in the wrong order, or regional mayors having to keep pointless logs of requests to their CEOs, we can do a lot better,” Mr Crisafulli said.

He said voters are “back in the driver’s seat with their councils, rather than bureaucrats and the state government”.

“Big or small, country or city, the message was the same: stop the stupid rules and regulations,” he said.

[post_title] => Queensland cuts councils loose [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-cuts-councils-loose [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 12:32:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 01:32:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6725 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2012-08-28 13:24:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-08-28 13:24:52 [post_content] =>

By Staff Writers

The NSW government has wasted little time in hard-selling its move to decentralise procurement and promote greater competition between suppliers, with state Finance and Services minister Greg Pearce claiming that recent contracts to 12 suppliers show the controversial shake-up is working.

Mr Pearce said that the latest contracts had axed costly management fees paid by suppliers to government agencies, a feature of previous procurement deals that had been highly unpopular with smaller suppliers to government.

The contracts announcement is the latest salvo in a series of procurement reforms that include 'plain English' documentation for suppliers and buyers to cut through the maze of bureaucratic jargon and legalese.

The most recent panel arrangement paraded by the government is for wholesale electrical, plumbing, building and construction hardware and general tools and worth around $16 million. It allows buyers to choose from the dozen suppliers, four of which were small to medium outlets Mr Pearce said.

As part of the unwinding of central procurement, the NSW government says it wants to give more government business to suppliers in the same area as the purchaser.

“The new contract separates retail from wholesale meaning schools, hospitals and police stations can make minor purchases from local hardware suppliers,” Mr Pearce said.

“This provides real opportunities for local businesses who felt shut out of the government procurement process.”

A key complaint of the small businesses has been that they were excluded from competing for government business by policies that essentially favoured a small number of large suppliers.
 

[post_title] => NSW talks-up 'plain English' supplier paperwork [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-talks-up-plain-english-supplier-paperwork [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 12:29:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 01:29:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6715 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2012-08-20 15:50:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-08-20 15:50:27 [post_content] =>

Local governments in Western Australia could be permitted to create regional subsidies under a state government bill.

Introduced last week, the Local Government Amendment Bill intends to allow local governments to share in the delivery of services.

According to the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), the legislation will allow local governments to focus more effort into delivering services and less into ‘bureaucratic processing’.

WALGA President, Mayor Troy Pickard said local governments will be able to concentrate on service delivery rather than meeting “over-burdening” requirements of the current Act.

“It is hoped it will remove the layers of bureaucracy and red tape that has very much paralysed local governments from more effectively and efficiently working together to deliver a range of services,” Mr Pickard said.

He said the flexibility that the amendment will deliver will strengthen local government service delivery and regional collaboration.

“However the compilation of the regulations will be crucial to the … operation of these bodies,” Mr Pickard said.

Mr Pickard argues that it is critical to get the content right for the regulations that will govern the establishment and administration of the regional subsidies.

“Local government has much to add to this process and their contribution will ensure an administratively robust and efficient entity,” he said.

WALGA anticipates that once the amendment is passed, neighbouring local councils will be able to create legal entities to share service delivery.

These bodies would work in critical areas including planning approval processes, road maintenance and construction and back office functions.



 

[post_title] => Councils sharing services allowed [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-sharing-services-allowed [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-21 10:53:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-20 23:53:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 4 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27781 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 09:03:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-06 23:03:28 [post_content] => Andrew Ferrington The third series of 'Utopia', the fan favourite for all who have worked in an office, premiered last month. The series — created by the prolific Working Dog team — tells of the National Building Authority's coexisting contrary tensions of bureaucracy and ‘blue sky’ ambitions. At the outset, let me disclose that I spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles in public service and am now back in the private world. The show is great — the ministerial adviser tries to highlight the positives of the NBA's ambitions, while the authority itself grapples with its commission to be ambitious in its outlook. The show makes its mark by illustrating the tensions between the government, its ministers and the institutions that oversee it, all while the NBA attempts to complete public brief it has to envision the future. The thing that concerns me is not the laughs at the bureaucracy's expense, it’s what it points out about the private sector. The big-picture thinking that always gets a laugh, is now nowhere to be seen. Because it can't be. Only government is able to take the risk to lead such big change. The private sector not only can't – but won't. It doesn't have the mandate, the appetite or the ability to dream large with these projects. The trope that "we don't need the government" as Rob Sitch's character says in episode one, becomes simply wrong. No entity but the government can make a decision or show the leadership that is needed to execute projects that bring about fundamental changes to society. Further, the contemporary discussion about ‘small’ government and that it should get out of the way of business is also a nonsense. If we didn't have government imagining these large projects, taking risks that the private sector can't even conceive of, and spending the money (yes, our money), society would be nothing like it is today. We do well to understand the context in which government works, because it is important. This leadership trickles down: while the government mandates that women, people with a disability or indigenous peoples have a significant contribution to play in society, the private sector is far behind. As a former bureaucrat, 'Utopia' makes me laugh. Yes, I've seen these behaviours: where the tyranny and vanity of politics overrules all. But it also makes me sad, because it mocks the leadership role that government plays, and the vision and ideas that the private sector can't possibly imagine. Next time you leave home (which is standing solidly, because government regulations mandated it should be built to a certain standard), think about the water, electricity and other services you use, the roads you drive on, footpaths you walk on, and trains you might catch. While they may be delivered by the private sector, they were planned and imagined by governments. And without them, we would be significantly worse off. Andrew Ferrington is the national tenders manager at Findex Group.   [post_title] => There is no private ‘Utopia’ [post_excerpt] => Government is the only one working to create a 'Utopia'. 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bureaucracy

bureaucracy

Queensland cuts councils loose

By Paul Hemsley Local Government Association of Queensland President Margaret de Wit has welcomed the state government’s move to put councils back in charge of community planning by getting rid of a raft of state bureaucratic requirements. The Queensland government this week passed changes to the Local Government Act and Brisbane City Council Act it […]

NSW talks-up ‘plain English’ supplier paperwork

By Staff Writers The NSW government has wasted little time in hard-selling its move to decentralise procurement and promote greater competition between suppliers, with state Finance and Services minister Greg Pearce claiming that recent contracts to 12 suppliers show the controversial shake-up is working. Mr Pearce said that the latest contracts had axed costly management […]

Councils sharing services allowed

Local governments in Western Australia could be permitted to create regional subsidies under a state government bill. Introduced last week, the Local Government Amendment Bill intends to allow local governments to share in the delivery of services. According to the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), the legislation will allow local governments to focus more […]