The Rann Government is about to backflip on a key public sector reform and savings measure announced in the last State Budget, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“In the last State Budget the Government announced the abolition of the separate and independent position of Commissioner of Public Employment,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Government’s new reform was to make the CEO of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) also the Commissioner of Public Employment at a budget saving of $500,000 per year.
“At the Budget and Finance Committee last October the CEO of DPC, Chris Eccles, acknowledged the possibility of a ‘clear conflict of interest’ if, for example, a charge of nepotism was made against the CEO of DPC:
“I acknowledge the clear conflict of interest in that circumstance. An arrangement would need to be put in place to deal with that. I have not had the benefit of considering the options as to how that might be managed, but I absolutely take your point.””
At the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on 15 March 2011, Mr Eccles conceded the whole policy was now being reconsidered:
Rob Lucas: “At the last meeting I asked you about the conflict of interest in your position, as I saw it, of being Chief Executive, and the Commissioner for Public Employment. You came back with a response in writing, which did not say much, but I am led to believe that maybe you and/or others might be reflecting on that and there might be a potential change in the wind. Are you in a position to indicate if you are staying of the view that when the current commissioner goes that you are going to be the Commissioner for Public Employment, or is there to be an alternative arrangement entered into?”
Chris Eccles: “It is a matter that is being reconsidered.”
“This means there will now be a $500,000 hole in the budget, or the Rann Government will have to make further cuts to make up for the loss of a budget savings measure,” Mr Lucas said.
“Sadly, this is just another example from this Labor Government of an ill considered policy decision where the potential implications should have been apparent right from the start.”