Saturday 9 April 2011


There certainly won't be any photos today - the legs are utterly dead. It hurt to ride home last night - it's fairly normal that by Friday afternoon, on the 10th ride of the week, that my legs are aching somewhat. However, last night was something else again. They were dead all day - I had to walk to a meeting in the morning, and I pulled a muscle just walking up the street to another building. My speed dropped from its usual 6km/h to about 3. I ended up hobbling the last stretch, wondering if I could take a taxi for 300 metres.

The SMH has been running stories this week about the apparent "demotion" of the new state Treasurer, Mike Baird. He's listed as 11th in cabinet seniority, which is the lowest the Treasurer has been in any government in living memory. The new Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has made a point by putting the ministers for health, education and transport ahead of the Treasurer.

I think I know what he's up to. When I was a lowly servant of the public, we always had problems doing things as we'd run into the brick wall of "Treasury says No". Perfectly sensible programs got the chop because a beancounter in an office far, far away didn't like the sound of them. Now those beancounters never went out in the field and had a look at where the money was going to be spent - generally on delivering better services to the taxpayers of NSW. They just sat in their ivory tower and kiboshed anything that didn't fit their agenda. A terrible culture of "treasury knows best" developed in the NSW government.

I reckon Barry is out to kill that culture. What he's saying is that the departments responsible for delivery know best what services need to be delivered and where. Treasury can stick to providing the money, and ensuring that it's spent properly. Otherwise, they can butt out and get out of the way. Barry needs to build a huge amount of stuff to catch up on 16 years of neglect. Nothing will get built if Treasury continues in its bad old ways.

Essentially, he's cut the balls off a lot of bureaucrats in Treasury. I hope he can use them to pave a few roads down our way.

1 comment:

1735099 said...

You're right.
When I was in harness I got involved at a strategic level in funding for kids with disabilities. Treasury was always extremely uncomfortable with the original model used which was based on enrolments of these kids. They didn’t like it because it was “open-ended”, in other words they wanted an annual forecast of the numbers.
This was of course impossible without a crystal ball, so they changed to a funding model with a fixed amount irrespective of statewide enrolments.
After that, the complex model used to identify and allocate funds based on enrolment numbers changed to a process of identification and then splitting up the already-determined amount across the state.
The end result has been that the growth in enrolment of kids with disabilities (especially autism) has outpaced the allocation of funds – an effective cut in services.
Such is the power of Treasury.