Public servant slams ‘hostile’ workplace culture at SA government agency

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday June 17, 2021

Planning & Land Use Services' Deniz Kilic sent the email
Planning & Land Use Services’ Deniz Kilic sent the email. (Adobe/dudlajzov)

A senior South Australian public servant has sent an explosive email urging colleagues to call out what he alleges to be a ‘hostile’ workplace culture within their agency, Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS).

Last week PLUS team leader Deniz Kilic sent the email, which has been seen by InDaily, to call out ‘concerning workplace culture’ within the agency’s Planning and Development section.

Kilic raised concerns over what he alleged to be a ‘toxic, hostile and unsafe workplace for many members of staff of all ranks’, noting that some current and former colleagues had told him of their own ‘deeply unsettling workplace experiences’.

“Disturbingly, we have not seen any acknowledgment to start addressing workplace culture issues and poor behaviours even after the intensive reform program wrapped up earlier in the year,” he wrote.

READ MORE: SA public servants lodge 841 bullying and sexual harassment claims over five years

Kilic was ‘disheartened, then dismayed and finally disgusted’ by what he had seen and experienced within the agency, he said, including behaviours that were ‘fundamentally contrary’ to the agency’s values.

He urged his colleagues to ‘show moral courage’ and ‘call out poor workplace culture, unacceptable behaviours and call for some semblance of good leadership’.

The agency is reportedly investigating Kilic’s claims, after he formally raised his concerns with HR at the Attorney-General’s Department — the department responsible for PLUS — and the chief executive. 

InDaily reports that Kilic’s email was prompted by a proposed restructure at PLUS. Under the draft changes, the number of management-level staff would increase, but the size of the agency as a whole would be reduced by nine full-time staff.

READ MORE: ‘We heard you.’ SA public sector survey leads to plans for health, happiness and high performance


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