In the wake of one of the biggest electoral landslides in Australian political history, the recently elected Queensland LNP Government has said that it will reshuffle the way that the State Government is structured.
Prior to the election, new Premier Campbell Newman said that he intends to dismantle two major state departments, the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) to “ restore accountability and reduce bureaucratic gridlock”.
However, according to the LNP Government’s 100 Day Plan even broader machinery of government changes are on the agenda, and any splits are most likely to occur along ministerial lines.
"We will reintroduce clear Ministerial responsibility for their departments, in line with the Westminster tradition of departments reporting to a single Minister,” Newman said prior to the election.
Under existing arrangements, eight of the State’s 13 departments report to more than one minister. With almost 10,500 employees between them, the DEEDI and DERM collectively report to ten different ministers.
The state departments which currently report to more than one minister are as follows:
- Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation – six ministers;
- Department of Communities – four ministers;
- Department of Environment and Resource Management – three ministers;
- Department of Premier and Cabinet – two ministers;
- Department of Education and Training – two ministers;
- Department of Transport and Main Roads – two ministers;
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General – two ministers and;
- Queensland Treasury – two ministers.
The Newman Government has also begun to make new appointments to departmental leadership, with six directors-general already shown the door. If the change of government in NSW can be taken as a model, all remaining department heads will be feeling justifiably insecure. Within a year of the election of the O’Farrell Government only two directors-general remained in their original positions.
The changes are as follows:
- Department of Premier and Cabinet - Jon Grayson replaces John Bradley;
- Department of Main Roads and Transport - Michael Caltabiano replaces Dave Stewart;
- Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation - David Edwards replaces Mark Bermingham (who was acting in the role);
- Department of Environment and Resource Management - Andrew Chesterman replaces Jim Reeves;
- Department of Communities - Margaret Allison replaces Linda Apelt; and
- Treasury - Helen Gluer replaces Gerard Bradley.
On 30 March 2012, Newman announced via Twitter that Ros Bates would assume the ministerial portfolio for IT, Innovation and the Arts. Whilst the LNP have not released an ICT Strategic Policy to date, Bates has previously addressed the ICT agenda on occasions during her tenure as the Shadow ICT Minister.
In the past she has suggested that the LNP Government would be adopting a more proactive approach towards the private sector, handing out the following advice.
“Make it a ‘no brainer’ when it comes to supplier selection, be it hardware, software, or services to Government. I encourage you to get the basics right, embed professional project management and a culture of excellence in everything you do,” said Bates at an AIIA Luncheon held in January 2012.
With former IT Minister Simon Finn’s seat of Yeerongpilly yet to be decided, he is losing ground to his LNP rival.
Taking a cue from the NSW O’Farrell Government, the Newman Government is also moving towards the implementation of a so-called “one-stop shop” solution, which seeks to consolidate the sprawl of Queensland government shop fronts, contact phone numbers and websites.
These solutions will be based on the existing one-stop shop model currently in use by Campbell Newman’s old electorate, the Brisbane City Council.
Despite being critical of “Labor’s bureaucracy” which, according to Newman, led to the current proliferation, it should be noted that the Bligh Government had commenced testing on QGov Online in July 2011, a program designed to streamline service delivery through a single online entry point.