Morrison Creates Communication Infrastructure Super Department
In an attempt to outdo former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Scott Morrison will implement the most significant public sector reform, reducing department numbers from 18 to 14, resulting in the amalgamation of the Department of Communications and the Arts with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development in February 2020.
This new super-department will gain the extended title of Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, as one of four new departments the Morrison government is establishing.
Morrison first indicated the public service shakeup following the May election, telling the sector, ‘the success of policy is not recognised in its articulation, but it’s delivery, its implementation.’
Scott Morrison will now be implementing the most significant public sector shakeup since Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke reduced the number of departments from 28 to 18.
Curiously the shakeup will have no impact on the government’s current ministry.
The merger will be the first change to the Communications department since its formation in September 2015 by usurped former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
According to Morrison, infrastructure and communication ‘are the same thing these days’, with the National Broadband Network now being as crucial as any other form of infrastructure.
‘Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people’ claims Morrison, who supposedly failed to inform staff of the decision.
Mike Mrdak, removed as a result of the government shakeup told the Australian Financial Review that he was only informed of the government’s decision late Thursday afternoon.
‘We were not permitted any opportunity to provide advice on the Machinery of Government changes, nor were our views ever sought on any proposal to abolish the department or to changes to our structure and operations’ said Mrdack.
Departing bureaucrats will reportedly receive remuneration packages worth more than $700,000 a year according to The Australian, a cost that will quickly tally up.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese joined in criticising the decision calling out the government’s centralised power agenda.
‘This Prime Minister has been making cuts to the public service continuously since they were elected in 2013.’
According to Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Melissa Donnelly, ‘since 2013, 18,908 or 11.4 per cent of public service jobs have been cut under successive Liberal governments, causing enormous damage to the capacity of the commonwealth to deliver policy and essential services all Australians rely upon’.
‘The Prime Minister is wrong if he thinks slashing departments is going to improve services to the community’.
Though Morrison claims the changes were not ‘a savings measure’, calling the move ‘a structural issue’ that requires alignment and ‘synergy’.
However, Australia’s Telecommunications Association (Telsoc) has welcomed the changes, with TelSoc president Professor Reg Coutts calling the NBN the ‘biggest infrastructure debacle in the country’s history’.
‘What started out as a critical nation-building exercise has unfortunately become mired in politics, with poor technology choices leading to substandard connections for millions of NBN customers.’
The question will now be whether or not this shake will bring actual results to the communications infrastructure of Australia.