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A Terrible Year

DESPITE the endless backslapping being undertaken by the Hodgman government to celebrate its first year in power most public sector workers feel it has been a truly terrible year.

Disregarding pre-election promises, Mr Hodgman and his colleagues have attacked its workforce in a way that defies logic and achieves little.  In just four months between October 2014 and January 2015, 668 full-time equivalent jobs were scrapped.  This wasn’t done in any systematic way – identifying services no longer a priority or skills that won’t be needed in the future.  Instead over $20m was paid to workers, many of whom already planned retirement soon, to leave immediately with no thought about future needs.

The result has been chaos.  Vital services have been undermined, key skills lost and in many cases any savings made will need to be spent in future years repairing the damage done.  The Hodgman government has made an art form out of giving with one hand and then taking with another.  Schools, hospitals, Police, Parks & Wildlife, Biosecurity have all seen new projects promised and funded through election promises paid for by cuts to core funding.

In a year of lies perhaps the biggest and most damaging lie is that all services can be maintained despite massive job cuts.  This has led to a workload crisis that can be measured by rising workers compensation and sick leave costs, falling morale and too many instances of service failure.  Senior managers who attempted to warn the government about the inevitable impact of its approach were ignored or in some cases bullied into silence while yes-men and sycophants were promoted and rewarded.

But don’t despair.  Governments that fail to provide basic services to the community they serve are always judged harshly by that community when they get a chance at the ballot box and this government will be no different.  It’s placed short term political gain ahead of good management and that always catches up with you.

It’s been a terrible year but we are resilient, we will continue to share the truth about what is happening with the whole community and we will continue to hold this government accountable for its decisions.

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