CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

18 July 2006

Mr. Matthew Condon
c/- qweekend,
Courier Mail

High & Dry: Paying the Price of Ineffectual Public Administration

I should like to congratulate you on your useful account of the history of Brisbane's current water supply crisis ('High & Dry', Courier Mail QWeekend, 15-16/7/06). I have posted an outline of this on my web-site.

On the basis of long term involvement in and study of Queensland's machinery for developing infrastructure, I should like to provide some feedback about the context in which this debacle has unfolded.

Your article identified the Goss Government's 1989 decision to abandon Wolffdene Dam and a subsequent lack of serious planning activity as the core of the problem. However this is only one example of the effect of serious constraints that have existed and remain on the effectiveness of all government organizations. In seeking historical explanations of current problems, I submit that attention should also be given to:

The situation does not seem to have improved since that time partly because of attempts that have been made to improve efficiency in service delivery by the application of business-like methods to what are often the fundamentally non-business-like functions of government.

Thus there are solid grounds for the suggestion recorded in your article - ie that rushed action to resolve the water crisis could well result in very bad decisions.

The above argument is presented in more detail on my web-site - see High & Dry: Paying the Price of Ineffectual Public Administration


John Craig