CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

Large doses of (federal) medicine have been making states sicker
Email sent 30/3/10)

Craig Johnstone,
Courier Mail

Re: 'Growing pains need a shot of federal medicine', Courier mail, 20-21/3/10

Your article suggested that federal 'medicine' would aid in dealing effectively with the challenge of managing growth in SE Queensland.- by introducing more sophisticated policy making and breaking down barriers.

My interpretation of your article: Since efforts were first made to convince Queenslanders of the need for higher urban densities, efforts to manage population growth have been mixed. The Urban Renewal Taskforce transformer some suburbs, but Brisbane's urban area expanded by 65% and commuter travel averages increased from 13.7 to 15.3 km. Greenfield development has continued to dominate. The state government paid lip service to the problem, while the federal government ignored it. The Queensland Government adopted a SEQ Regional Plan intended to reduce sprawl and get more benefits from public transport, but did nothing. Only recently has it sought to gain control of the population debate. While polling suggests some public support for the medium density housing the state is promoting, this is easy to counteract. The government's great hope is the Urban land development Authority - and its vision for Fitzgibbon as a high density suburb. But its efforts have lost focus because so many interests are involved. The federal government (via Maxine McKew) indicates a desire to manage the region's rapid growth as a 'partner' with state and local governments. Also the PM has visions of a 'big Australia' which raises further concerns about managing population growth'. Commonwealth involvement (to get more sophisticated policy making, and break down barriers, is to be welcomed

Unfortunately 'federal medicine' has been dispensed very liberally over recent decades, and seems to be one of the main reasons (though, as noted below, not the only reason) that the patients are so sick (eg unable to deal effectively with the management of growth in SE Queensland, because of unsophisticated policy and a lack of effective coordination). My reasons for suggesting this are outlined in Fixing Australia's Federation (2010).

If medicine has been making you sicker, it is a good idea to stop taking it and seek a different cure.

John Craig

PS: Earlier documents dealing with ineffectual growth management in SE Queensland include: SEQ 2001 - A Plan for an Under-developed Economy (1994); Growth Management in SE Queensland (2003); Realistic Public Administration is the Key (2004); and SE Queensland Regional Plan and Infrastructure Plan (2005). These addressed not only the typically poisonous and addictive effects of 'federal medicine', but also other contributing factors that have led to amateurish government administration in Queensland.

It is also noted in passing that improperly prescribed or administered drugs are understood to be the fourth largest cause of death in Australia (an estimate based on work on adverse medical events by the former Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care) while all forms of medical misadventure (also including mistakes and unnecessary operations) are allegedly the largest cause of death in the US. External 'medical' intervention in human organisations is no more guaranteed to produce favourable outcomes than medical intervention in the human body.