PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON LEGISLATION – SECRET GOVERNMENT BUSINESS
The Australian Risk Policy Institute (ARPI) says that government consultation on initiatives is critical but that some Australian Governments are becoming far more secretive about how they work. Recent major public policy failures across Australia have highlighted problems of inadequate consultation at Federal, State and Territory levels.
‘Governments around Australia at all levels firstly need a commitment to effective public consultation and secondly provide adequate notice and timeframes for both organisations and individuals to respond with valuable commentary’ said ARPI President Associate Professor Tony Charge.
‘ARPI has just lodged seven submissions to various Governments on matters of public importance but had to search hard to find invitations for consultation and then found unreasonably short deadlines. Further research suggests this is a systemic problem across Australia’ Associate Professor Charge added.
‘2014 will see a number of important government initiatives – including the Federal Government’s promise to publish a Federation White Paper – to look at how all our structures of Government work together’ -Associate Professor Charge calls particularly on the Federal Government to release the paper early, before the issues are set in concrete.
‘Whilst many stakeholders can usually adjust, albeit at some inconvenience, to find consultation opportunities and meet short deadlines, an even more fundamental problem exists in the diminution of ‘policy skills’ across public sectors. Policy skills are one of many areas of capability forced out of the public sector as ‘economic rationalists’ look to reduce salary costs and replace professionals with unqualified administrative people’ Associate Professor Charge continued. ‘The result has been inadequate development and implementation of public policy including legislation.’
‘A glaring area of omission particularly in recent years is the ‘abolition in practice’ of the ‘Implementation Analysis’ stage during policy development. This stage considers stakeholder impacts and implications – including direct communication with them. Instead, public policy to reflect government intentions has often been secretive, poorly developed and completely lacking in ‘Implementation Analysis.’ It is no wonder that some new initiatives ‘crash and burn’ during implementation when unfortunate stakeholder impacts and unintended consequences surface.’ Associate Professor Charge concluded.
ARPI is offering the public sector a new model to overcome the void in ‘Implementation Analysis’ – it is the Risk Policy Model and places ‘Implementation Analysis’ in the context of the new discipline of Risk Policy. Copies can be downloaded at www.arpi.org.au.
Copies of recent ARPI Submissions are available free from the same website.
Media Contact: Rohan Goyne 0418 447 3