Public sector turmoil, including long delays in appointing key CEOs and wrong decisions in appointing some key CEOs, is helping to cause the budget crisis facing the Rann Government, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
“It is clear that the Rann Government’s incompetence in managing public sector appointment processes is now costing taxpayers dearly and that Mr Rann has now decided to scapegoat senior public servants for the failings of Mr Rann and his Ministers,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Rann Government’s sorry record shows:
• The Government is now trying to find CEOs for key departments such as Health, Education, Justice and Primary Industries which together spend about 60% of the state budget;
• The Government has had eight months to find a new CEO for Education and nine months to find a new CEO for Justice but instead of making decisions has left key spending agencies under the control of a succession of acting appointments;
• Mr Rann announced the appointment last year of Dr Horne as the new CEO of Transport (after dumping the former CEO) and boasted that he was ‘exactly the kind of new talent this state needs’ and also incorrectly claimed that he was the son of author Donald Horne!; and yet one year later he is dumped and scapegoated for Minister Conlon’s failings;
• Dr Horne’s replacement in Transport Jim Hallion was himself dumped by Mr Rann from the key Industry and Trade CEO position immediately after the 2002 election;Mr. Rann’s first appointment for Industry CEO, Dr Roger Sexton lasted little more than a year in the position and Mr Rann’s second appointment after a delay of more than a year was Ray Garrand who had strong connections with the Labor Party including being Premier Bannon’s senior advisor on issues such as the State Bank
• The costs of the Rann Government’s incompetence in this area continues to mount
– payout of up to $400,000 for dumped Transport CEO Dr Horne
– payout of $299,000 for dumped Further Education CEO Greg Black
– payout of $138,000 for dumped Education CEO Geoff Spring
– payout of $8,000 for dumped Health CEO Christine Charles
– there was also a payout of $400,00 to Mr Rann’s senior political advisor Randall Ashbourne
“It is clear that the Rann Government’s inability to manage properly this key appointment process is adding to the budget problems facing South Australia.
“Long delays in appointing key CEOs with a string of acting appointments lead to public service inertia, significant delays in decision-making and weaknesses in management oversight.
“Added to that is obviously a number of truncated short-term appointments – in some cases of little more than a year – as the Government attempts to scapegoat CEOs for its own failings.
“This mess is a recipe for a financial disaster and it’s not surprising we are hearing daily new stories of massive budget blowouts and cost overruns and delays in major capital works projects.
“It is unacceptable and almost unbelievable that we confront a situation at this critical stage that the Government is still looking for permanent CEOs to manage almost 60% of the State’s budget.
“Mr Rann must accept personal responsibility for this mess and urgently act to ensure vacant CEO positions in Health, Education, Justice and Primary Industries are filled. Mr Rann will also need to support these new appointments by promising that he and his Ministers will accept responsibility for the budget crisis and not attempt to scapegoat the public service for the government’s failings.”