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Open letter to Premier Campbell Newman - Sir, YOU HAVE IT WRONG

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Dear Mr Newman,

I’m sorry, but you have it wrong.

I get that the budget is in trouble, the state has too much debt and that Queensland is holding too many government employees. I understand that we need to “rightsize” the public service and that people need to be put off. I even applaud you for making the brave decision to make the cuts.

As a tax payer, I even agree that these are all the right decisions to make. 

The wrong decision is not in WHAT you are doing, but WHO you are removing.

I am not talking about back office staff, admin and support or even executive staff. It makes sense that those areas are trimmed. It makes sense to protect the “front line” workers. What I am concerned about, is the removal of the contract and casual workforce first.

I am concerned that the people you are keeping, the long term, permanent employees, may not be the best people to reinvent the public service, to find the efficiencies, and to do things differently to take the state forward. 

In short, what I am saying is you are cutting the wrong people.

I understand that not renewing contracts is easy. And that by definition, you can terminate the employment of casuals at anytime. I even get that redundancies are expensive and the impact to the budget would be significant. My concern is that you are making adjustments to our public service, based on the employment contract type, rather than performance.

By reducing the numbers, but maintaining the wrong people, you are not doing any favours to the budget, to the employees left in the public sector or to the people of Queensland in the medium to long term.

A much better approach would be to determine what Skills, Experience and Attitudes you want in the “new public service” and to outline the type of Culture we need to create it. 

Once determined, a set of tangible, quantitate and qualitative description and requirements can be applied, and each and every employee in the states workforce could be assessed against the new requirements.

All staff could then scored and ranked, highest to lowest, and the bottom 20% (or whatever the required number) could be removed. This way, we are keeping the keepers, and removing the people who are unlikely to be successful in the long run anyway.

Given the reduced workforce size, we’re going to require a different skill set (and mind set) to realise the additional productivity and to meet the new expectations.

With a leaner, meaner public service, it is more important than ever that we have the right people as part of the mix. The productive ones. The ones that are open to change. The ones that will engage with your new direction, take ownership and help to drive the state forwarded.

I know that this approach will take time, real commitment and will require actual hard decisions being made, but it is the best and most appropriate way to rightsize a workforce.

My Newman, its not too late. Stop this nonsense of firing people based on employment type and demand your ministers and department heads start making decisions on performance and whats best for the employees themselves, and of course the people of Queensland.


Shane Ridley

Managing Director

OGroup Mgmt

inc OStaff | OTrain | TempTradies | Park Consulting Group | CPE Rural

Phone |      07 4659 9300

LinkedIn |  Shane Ridley

Twitter |     shane_ridley



Ryan Myler

Director/ Financial Planner

Optimas Financial Planning

Shane has provided me with invaluable advice, being that I am in start up phase with my business. His knowledge of business in general, along with his strong understanding of the current trend toward social media and it's influence, have provided me with insights on how to grow my company. I would strongly recommend Shane in a business mentoring role due to his depth knowledge and broad experience, along with his superior story telling ability to make the complex simple.

June 25, 2012

Indiana Forrest-Bisley

Business Development Manager Australian Exhibitions & Conferences

Shane exhibited with us at the 2012 Safety in Action trade show - Melbourne. I found him to be extremely professional and furthermore his pre employment training services were a hit at the show. We will see Shane return to the safety show Perth (August 7-9). If you're in need of ANY type of pre employment training
I would strongly reccommend OTrain to anyone within HR."

June 29, 2012