Policy urged caution on fisheries

“Botched mess”: The Cronulla Fisheries closure.A LEAKED cabinet document reveals the closure of the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre was announced two weeks before a decentralisation policy framework was drawn up.
Nanjing Night Net

The draft cabinet minute, obtained by the opposition, said that any proposal should have a detailed assessment and consultation process, be supported by a business case and carried out in close liaison with local communities.

State opposition spokesman on primary industries, Steve Whan, said the government had failed to meet any of these criteria.

“It once again demonstrates the botched mess this ongoing saga has become,” he said.

Mr Whan said the opposition supported decentralisation, and Labor governments in NSW had successfully decentralised several public agencies in the past decade.

“The Cronulla decision has been anything but well planned; workers and the community still want answers, which would have been delivered if the government had followed the process dictated by this cabinet minute,” he said.

The draft minute, outlining a framework to advance the Coalition’s Decade of Decentralisation policy, was finalised by the public service on September 22 last year at the request of Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner’s office.

This was two weeks after the announcement the world-renowned centre was being shut.

The document said domestic and overseas experience suggested “clear, logical rationale, backed by sound reasoning and analysis, and supported by a business case, are crucial for successful relocation”.

It cited a 2005 Auditor-General’s report which says, regardless of policy objectives, “I would expect decisions on individual agency relocation would be based on sound business cases”.

The cabinet minute said the rationale for decentralisation also needed to be well communicated. The document urged the government to “work closely with local communities to ensure their priorities, preferences and local regional strengths are understood in policy-making”.

Posted by at 17/05/2018
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