QPS review’s interim report lands

By Melissa Coade

April 22, 2022

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced an independent inquiry into the QPS on February 18, 2022. (AAP Image/Darren England)

The Queensland government has published an interim report into a review of the state’s public sector

Last month the man in charge of undertaking a review, Professor Peter Coaldrake, extended the date for submissions in the hope more mandarins would come forward to share their personal experience of culture in the state’s public sector. So far, about 60 interviews and 200 submissions have been considered by the review. 

“The purpose of this review [sic] is to look at the health of the system overall, to assess how its component parts are working together to ensure that the business of government is being conducted in an open and accountable way,” the interim report read.

“This means government conducting itself in a spirit of fairness, with a close eye on its ability and capacity to respond to the community’s changing needs and with a constant focus on its own performance and its value-for-money to taxpayers and the broader community.”

Professor Coaldrake’s report considers what he called the state’s ‘integrity patchwork’, the intersection of culture and integrity in the public service, and issues around capability, ministerial staff and lobbying. 

“The final report will explore a number of issues which the review has not yet had the opportunity to fully consider and investigate. Those matters include the functions of the Office of the Independent Assessor and Information Commissioner, the efficacy of oversight by parliamentary committees and more consistent frameworks for the appointment of statutory officers,” the report said.

“It will also seek to understand how and when the government proposes to commence its review of the PID Act, including the roles of the CCC and other relevant entities, noting that the government committed to undertaking this review in its response to the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee’s Inquiry into the Crime and Corruption Commission’s investigation of former councillors of Logan City Council; and related matters.”

The state government expects a final report from the chief commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) by June 2022.

Acting Queensland premier Steven Miles issued a statement on Thursday evening saying the interim report was made publicly available as soon as possible, in line with the review terms of reference.

“As the premier has made clear on several occasions, she expects a public service that provides frank and fearless advice. And she expects Ministers and staff to abide by their respective codes of conduct,” Miles said.

The acting premier noted a number of preliminary observations made in the interim report and underscored an expectation from Annastacia Palaszczuk that in-house lobbying of public servants required close scrutiny. 

“Matters around lobbying are also being considered by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee,” Miles said. 

He added further comment and submissions for inclusion in the final report will be accepted until 16 May, and the Queensland government hoped more people would engage in the process.

The Palaszczuk government encourages people to engage in the review process in a frank and fearless manner,” he said. 

“As Professor Coaldrake notes in his report, when the premier established the review, she stated: It is always good to look at things with fresh eyes. The 21st century has brought rapid changes, not least in terms of technology. We need to address that. People deserve a government that is fit for purpose, geared to their needs and focused on them.”


READ MORE:

Pundits have until April 4 to make a submission for QPS review

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