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Bill positive move but could go further

April 20, 2004

Bill positive move but could go further

Some improvements to quality public services will result from the Public Finance (State Sector Management) Bill but it could go further, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

Speaking after the PSA presented its submission on the Bill to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee today, Richard Wagstaff said the PSA supported the measures contained within the Bill which aimed to tackle some issues and needs within the state sector, particularly on senior leadership and management capability needs.

“Last November, the PSA and the Prime Minister signed a renewed Partnership for Quality Agreement, and through this the PSA works with State sector employers on employment relations matters aimed at achieving quality public services and quality jobs. We feel that this legislation represents a real opportunity, through the new whole of government directive powers, for the government to pursue the adoption of its employment relations policies, particularly in collective bargaining and the promotion of partnership approaches.”

“PSA also welcomes the extension of the State Services Commissioner’s mandate on ethics, values and standards into the wider state sector, and the standardisation and content specification of Statements of Intent and annual reporting across the state sector.

“We do, however, have concerns about the State Sector Act 1988 and the Public Finance Act 1989. While the Bill makes some welcome amendments to these Acts, which will assist with achieving a more ‘connected’ State sector able to deliver on desired outcomes, we would like to see a more comprehensive reform of the public management legislative framework. In its current form, we query its ability to deliver adequately on our vision of a modern public service.”

Richard Wagstaff said the PSA also felt some areas of the Bill ignored or did not accurately reflect the intentions of the Review of the Centre – the government’s review of the public management system – or worked against the realisation of other policy objectives or legislative aims. Specifically, the PSA does not believe that Crown Research Institutes, which are Crown entity companies, should be exempt from the provisions of the Bill dealing with matters of integrity and conduct in the wider state sector.

“Our members in Crown Research Institutes, who are public servants, feel that compliance with such policies need not compromise necessary scientific and commercial freedoms.”


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