Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs - Ministerial Statement

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (9.55 am): The Commission of Audit is an important document for the future of Queensland. It provides options for this government to negotiate a way out of the financial mess created by the previous Labor government. The commission’s interim report last year identified renewal and reform of the Public Service as essential to give Queenslanders a more effective and efficient system of government. I am not surprised those opposite are reacting so vehemently to the final report because it spells out in black and white, line by line how they failed the people of Queensland. It exposes their guilt, it highlights their mismanagement and lays bare their financial incompetence. They broke the bond of trust between government and taxpayers by not using public funds wisely and refusing to take the necessary action to stop the state heading towards bankruptcy.

The Commission of Audit makes 19 recommendations directed specifically at the flexibility, accountability and opportunity needed to make Queensland’s Public Service the best in Australia. Adoption of recommendations will streamline the process of enterprise bargaining by introducing standardised conditions across areas where staff are doing essentially the same work. The role of the Public Service Commission will be clarified and enhanced and agencies will be required to develop a five-year strategic workforce plan so that there is a clearer direction on how public services will be delivered across the state. The recommendations provide options to make our public services more responsive and to deliver front-line services in the most effective and efficient way possible.

I would like to draw to the attention of members recommendation 124 in the report. The goal of the public sector must be to achieve the highest standards of excellence and to ensure that Queensland is the best administered state in Australia. Even those perennial opposers opposite could not argue with that one. We agree wholeheartedly with it and we are working to reinvigorate our Public Service so that Queenslanders get the services they need when and where they need them. The Commission of Audit is a plan to reinvigorate the state’s economy, making the most of our natural resources and the talents of our people while ensuring we protect essential services and those who need a helping hand. It is about being upfront and honest about our vision, not being deceitful and tricky, as has happened in the past. The report charts a course to secure a bright future for our kids and the generations who will follow. It is about making this a great state with great opportunity. The Commission of Audit is a plan for Queensland’s future. It is about making this the best government in Australia—efficient, effective and totally committed to delivering for the people of our great state. The report’s recommendations support this government’s goal to reform and renew the Queensland public sector to make it the best Public Service in Australia. The Newman government is focused on providing the people of Queensland with the best possible Public Service, in stark contrast to the shocking disservice done to the public by the Bligh government.