I am appalled by the Berejiklian government's public sector reorganisation announced this week. This is the third such reshuffle since Mike Baird took over the reins in 2014. Each one promising to have "got it right" only to be dumped by the same government, with the same claim, two years later.
What the public may not be aware of, is that each of these "machinery of government" changes costs the NSW tax payers millions of dollars. A government that struggles to fund enough teachers and nurses can apparently find millions to spend on this biennial farce. These changes distract thousands of public servants from doing their jobs, as they spend months planning and executing these massive reorganisations - only to start again two years later.
Add to that the fact that this time around, the NSW government has buried the agency responsible for the environment so deeply within the planning portfolio, as to render it all but powerless. This, at a time when much of NSW has been drought stricken for years, when we face a global climate crisis, and as wildlife such as our precious Koalas are facing threats to their very existence, especially on our North coast, where the LNP's Biodiversity Conservation Act has led to some of the highest land clearing rates in the developed world.
In all the political rhetoric leading to the election, not once did the NSW LNP foreshadow this waste of taxpayers money or a proposal to muzzle NSW's primary environment agency. I can't help thinking the people of NSW have been duped, and the NSW environment damned.
S. Amesbury, Tapitallee
Defence plans lacking
With a major defence base and related jobs and flow-on economic effects in Nowra, it would be reasonable to expect Labor's Left candidate for Gilmore to support real growth in defence spending.
Sadly, Labor's recent track record in this regard is not good, which explains Mrs Phillips' silence on the issue if, indeed, she understands the issue at all. As Labor's defence policy adviser in 2005-06, I, and other centrists, successfully argued for a continuation of the Coalition Government's trajectory of real growth in defence spending per year.
This commitment, however, did not last long with Labor Governments delivering the promised real growth in only three of its six defence budgets and, in 2010-11, Labor cut the defence budget by 5 percent. These figures are not mine - they are taken from a 2013-14 Parliamentary budget review.
Coalition governments are far from perfect in this regard either but, to its credit, the present Government, in its 2018 budget, achieved a real increase in defence spending of 1.35 per cent on the year before and, according to independent strategic analysts, is on track to achieve its 2 per cent share of GDP target in 2020-21, as confirmed in its 2019 budget.
Indeed, budget papers showed a re-posturing of defence expenditure with $500 million brought forward into the 2017-18 financial year and the present trajectory suggests defence spending is expected to exceed the 2 percent share of GDP in 2021-22.
In contrast, Labor has made a spending commitment in advance of this year's election with such vague motherhood statements as 'keep[ing] our sailors, soldiers and aviators safe and successful', but, if honouring such commitments when last in government is any indication, meeting any proposed and adequate percentage target is doubtful.