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DWI Managers Show No Confidence in Maharey

DWI Managers Show No Confidence in Maharey

Tuesday 1st May 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has admitted that Department of Work and Income senior managers have raised a number of concerns with him about the hastily arranged merger of DWI and the Ministry of Social Policy.

In response to Parliamentary questions from ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman, Mr Maharey said the concerns were raised with him at a meeting on April 12.

“The managers raised issues ranging from the speed of the decision, to comments which had made publicly about the capability of the DWI, job stability, staff morale and the compatibility of having policy and delivery within one organisation,” Dr Newman said.

“It is highly unusual for senior public servants to effectively challenge their Minister in such a way. That these managers should have chosen to do so clearly indicates their lack of respect for this Minister and their anger at being kept in the dark about a decision which will have a huge impact on their jobs.

“The managers must surely have been less than impressed that Steve Maharey himself was expressing concern to Cabinet colleagues about the merger only two weeks before the April 9 decision.

“The Minister’s concerns were largely ignored. This is not surprising of course since it was his ill-judged comments about Christine Rankin which put the Government on the back foot in the first place, and ultimately led the Prime Minister and the State Services Minister to dream up this sham merger – solely to get rid of Ms Rankin.

“The number of concerns raised by DWI staff point to severe future disruption as the Government pushes ahead with this Rankin-removal merger. If the Social Services Minister has any authority left at all, he should rally behind his departmental staff and try to get this merger killed. However, looking at the level of influence he now appears to have in Cabinet, it is doubtful if he would be listened to,” Dr Newman said.


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