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Govt Treats Public Service With Contempt

The Government is treating the Public service with contempt in looking to restructure two departments to try and avoid a personal grievance claim apparently made yesterday by Department of Work and Income Chief Christine Rankin, ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said.

“This is a Government that was elected on a platform of openness, transparency and accountability. Where is the openness, transparency and accountability in this hasty restructuring of the public service? There are not even any official documents either advocating or supporting this decision.

“The Government has decided Ms Rankin won’t keep her job so it is stitching two departments together to try and avoid Ms Rankin’s claim. This is despite Minister Steve Maharey saying two weeks ago in response to ACT Parliamentary questions there were no plans for such a merger.

“Two weeks later there is a major restructuring, against the advice of the Hunn Report which said the Department of Work and Income shouldn’t be restructured anymore.

“The Government’s saying, ‘look we’re facing a personal grievance claim so let’s restructure’. It is a scandal that they can play around with the public service in this way.

“The Government’s in this trouble because of Mr Maharey’s injudicious comments about Ms Rankin. He’s put taxpayers’ money at risk because of his big mouth. It is outrageous to undertake a restructure like this to avoid the embarrassment of a minister. Mr Maharey knows he’s on thin ice. He set Ms Rankin a series of targets to meet and she has met nearly all of them.

“The cost of the restructuring will be more than the cost of any personal grievance claim anyway. But in addition, there’s no way the Government can guarantee that it won’t lose the grievance claim – so taxpayers could have to pay TWICE.

“The Government should stop treating its battered and confused public servants like this, admit the total failings of this Minister and settle the matter properly without affecting thousands of lives,” Dr Newman said.


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