Archive for April 8th, 2011

8th April at Green Acres Golf Club in Kew saw a gathering of IPWEAvic members and guests to listen to Jim Betts, Secretary of Department of Transport, speak over lunch

Jim is passionate for state and local government to work in partnership.  Both sets of bureaucracies have their upsides and downsides.  With Local Gov being a little too risk adverse and parochial but showing instances of leadership in community consultation.  One such instance was Geoff Glynns work at City of Darebin with the tram stops project.  In 2004 DoT engaged a local government relationship manager to try and break down some of the barriers between state and local government and more towards working together.

Jim has seen three changes in government.  A change in government is a test in professionalism of the public servants.  Policy continuity is beneficial to the public servants during a change in government.  Our government parties are not particularly built on ideology.  An ideology free government is great for policy makers

A character of a government is defined by how it deals with the unexpected eg floods, fires,

In the 1940’s we planned for a car world which supported low density housing.  In the 1950’s 80% of Melbourne s population lived within 10-15km radius of Melbourne (predominately the extent of the tram routes) by 2010 only 15-20% of people live within 10-15km of the city.  As a result we now have a huge transport infrastructure debt in not being able to fund the required transport systems required to services these outer lying suburbs. We have problems of social exclusion, greenhouse gases, congestion.  We are at the point where we need to confront our car choices – shared road space or rationed use of some roads.  Funding of the infrastructure debt is an issue when this $ competes for health and education funding.  No more funding for transport is available to Victoria for at least 3 years with 2.5billion being sliced from victorias budget last week.  The Regional Rail Link will go ahead.  The govt is currently looking at rail extensions for Doncaster, Rowville, Avalon Airport and Tullamarine Airport.   A more balanced approach to funding is predicted with the spend in west and north being shared with the south east Cranbourne down in the south east.  The port of Melbourne growth has reached it limits so the hasting port and connections to Dandenong rail line and through to the princes highway will be considered

New Metropolitan Strategy- integrated transport and land use plan is to be developed.  Jim Betts invited any municipality that required assistance or had issues to speak with him and he is quite willing to visit CEO’s and Tech people from each organisation if required.

Some advice on changing attitudes of an organisation from a risk adverse culture to one of innovation

  • Tolerate mistakes to enable some entrepreneurial approaches
  • Allow trail and error – the error must also be tolerated
  • Not so many checks and balances as too many can cripple an organisation
  • Risk aversion can become a disease of an organisation as public servants accountability is viewed by public
  • Secretary absorbs errors, stuff ups.  He doesn’t pass the blame down the chain to others as it is harder to sack the Secretary than others in the organisation
  • Good policy – stakeholder strategy

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