Document ‘ dump’ a disservice
TWO weeks ago the State Government was slammed for “dumping” more than 75 annual reports on a Friday after 3pm.
The release of thousands of pages of documents, which detailed the performance of various departments and publicly owned entities, was condemned by media outlets and the Opposition as being “anti- transparent”.
Of course the Government didn’t just pick any Friday, it was the one before a long weekend featuring two football grandfinals.
It meant the only numbers anyone was likely to be debating around the office water cooler come Tuesday were the scoreboards.
It doesn’t really matter if the Government’s decision to table so much information at such a time was deliberate or not.
At best, the poorly timed release stifled the public’s ability to absorb the issues. At worst, if it was deliberate, the Government knew very few journalists would have the time or resources to scrutinise and present the information thoroughly. Either way the public is worse off. For me, the “document dump” meant hours of reading to try to glean an insight in how decisions made in Brisbane have impacted the North.
There was a lot of math and a lot of back and forth with Minister’s offices as I checked I had correctly summarised pertinent details. It was time consuming and dull and I can say that in a fortnight, during which another few dozen reports have dropped, I’ve barely scratched the surface.
The anger at the Government when the documents were first released was palpable. I know of many media colleagues who traded in their stubbie coolers for a calculator that weekend.
But the outrage soon dissipated, the news cycle pushed forward and other pressing issues bumped the reports off the agenda.
The Government hasn’t emerged unscathed – there are a few million dollars’ worth of bonuses that won’t be arriving in board members’ bank accounts and some public servants have lost their positions all together.
Yet for every revelation that has come to light thus far, there are likely just as many that have slipped through the cracks.
North Queenslanders have every right to demand better of their elected representatives and I can only hope the city maintains the rage and sends a clear message to this and any future Government that such an act is wholly unacceptable.