CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

5 July 2007

Mr Paul Syvret
Courier Mail

Achievements over the Past Decade

Your favourable observations about Queensland's premier's accomplishments (Syvret P., 'Fine state we're in', Courier Mail, 3/7/07) seem more realistic than those in Crispin Walters' cynical letter to Courier Mail's editor on the same date. That letter claimed that building a football stadium was the only real achievement.

However, while the state Government has been active over the past decade and has spent public money freely, it has not been very competent or effective. For example:

Government administration generally has been dysfunctional and crisis prone (see Evidence of a Problem, and Queensland's Challenge: A 2006 Report Card).

Many social stresses within the community have often not gained effective responses (op cit).

The widely-touted Smart State strategy could not actually achieve the economic transformation that was needed, for very predictable reasons (see Commentary on 'Smart State').

The state's economy has boomed because of both mineral and energy investments that reflect strong global growth (probably associated with an unsustainable asset bubble) and rapid interstate migration (which imposes increasingly costly demands on Queensland's taxpayers).

Infrastructure machinery has been complex and ineffective (see Defects in Infrastructure Planning and Delivery in Queensland).

Growth management for SE Queensland reflects many noble aspirations, that are not easy to achieve in practice (SE Queensland Regional Plan and Infrastructure Plan).

Large increases in public spending have been the preferred solution to many problems - and the costs of this are finally starting to be considered (see Queensland's Budgets).

Abuses of power seem not significantly lesser than those before the Fitzgerald inquiry (Reform of Queensland Institutions - or a Rising Tide of Public Hypocrisy?).

There remains a lack of real political accountability, eg because of weaknesses in the political opposition and other institutions (see Superficial Accountability).

It would be unfair to simply blame a premier (or the community's elected representatives generally) for these problems. In part they reflect the state's history, dependence on resource wealth and lack of real policy leadership by independent civil institutions (see comments in Structural Incompetence and SE Queensland's Water Crisis).

However one serious failure must be blamed on the governments that have held power over the past decade or so, namely the lack of a effort to restore effectiveness to government machinery after it was badly disabled (eg de-skilled by politicisation and rendered unrealistic by policy centralization) in the course of misguided 'reform' efforts in the early 1990s (see Queensland's Worst Government?).


John Craig