Government bill threatens independence of NSW public service
28 May 2013
A NSW Government bill seeks to remove legislative protections for the merit selection process in the public service creating a greater risk of nepotism and political appointments, the Public Service Association said today.
The Government Sector Employment Bill introduced last week by the O’Farrell Government eliminates a number of important checks and balances. These are in place to protect transparency, accountability and professional advice untainted by political pressure, said PSA General Secretary Anne Gardiner.
The Bill weakens the merit selection process. This process ensures appointments are based on open competition and transparent selection criteria.
“This bill is an attack on the independence and the quality of the NSW public service,” said Ms Gardiner.
“The Bill undermines the integrity of the public service by making it easier to employ casual and temporary staff. It also retains measures that mean senior public servants can be terminated without reason. Together these changes will threaten the ability of public sector workers to provide frank and fearless advice.
“It’s important that public servants are able to do their jobs in a professional manner and give advice to the government without fearing they’ll be put out of a job.
“A casualised public service, without transparency or job security, cannot deliver the public services or policy and administrative support NSW needs.
“The Government has introduced a bill that lacks important checks and balances. Critical details that should be included in legislation are being left to be worked out without appropriate public scrutiny,” said Ms Gardiner.
“The Public Service Association calls on the government to consult widely before proceeding further with this bill. This is a major change to the structure of the public service that shouldn’t be rushed. Good government depends on getting this right.”