Sibma slams secrecy about red tape reduction squad

Apr 28, 2022 | State News, Tjorn Sibma MLC

Shadow Environment Minister, Tjorn Sibma, has criticised the McGowan Government’s arrogant and piecemeal responses to parliamentary questions about whether it had recruited 150 ‘frontline’ public servants to ‘speed up project approvals’; a key $120 million announcement in last year’s State Budget.

A report by the Chair of the Streamline WA steering committee recently published on the website reveals four points of interest which should have been revealed in Parliament:

• The aspiration of the program has now grown to 180 full time positions without any explanation of how these new positions will be funded;
• Only two-thirds of the roles have been filled since the last budget;
• More than half of the positions which have been filled have been through reassigning staff from other areas of the bureaucracy; and
• The admission that:

“Recruitment of staff with the appropriate knowledge and skills have been challenging over the last six months due to skills shortages caused by border closures and increased demand from the private sector.”

“The secretive McGowan Government hid the truth at the time I asked them parliamentary questions in March. I assume this is because they won’t admit to the economic consequences of the prolonged border closure,” said Mr Sibma.

“The McGowan Government bizarrely overestimated its ability to attract staff during the hard border phase and has now confirmed suspicions that it is transferring inexperienced officers from other parts of the bureaucracy and hiring external contractors to fill the shortfall.

“Labor has not only failed to deliver streamlined approvals, but increasing delays are causing significant damage to Western Australia’s reputation as a credible investment destination.

“As the world focusses on ensuring future production of critical minerals, WA is missing out on its opportunity to capture a significant portion of the future global supply chain because of a slow, cumbersome approval process,” said Mr Sibma.

Mr Sibma said that the McGowan Government had squandered years of opportunity to implement needed reforms in key areas of the economy and needed to focus on service delivery rather than political spin.