Dump­ing bad news be­hind dis­trac­tion

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

THE Fri­day dump. Take out the trash day. Hid­ing be­hind the hol­i­days.

There has been a long-held tra­di­tion by all lev­els of Gov­ern­ment of all po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sions to time bad news with big events, hol­i­days or late on a Fri­day in a bid to lessen the blow.

This week the Com­mon­wealth Games con­ceal­ment can be added to that list.

As all eyes were on the Gold Coast watch­ing Aus­tralian ath­letes win gold medal af­ter gold medal, sev­eral pieces of bad news – some of which are ex­tremely se­ri­ous – were re­leased.

First cab off the rank was the Queens­land Com­pe­ti­tion Au­thor­ity’s water pric­ing re­port.

The QCA has rec­om­mended the cost of the bulk water com­po­nent on a south­east Queens­lan­der’s bill rise by up to $90 over three years.

Such an in­crease will hit house­holds al­ready strug­gling with cost-ofliv­ing in­creases.

House­holds whose fru­gal water use led to the rec­om­mended price jump as the state failed to earn as much as it thought it would to pay down its water grid debt.

The re­port was com­mis­sioned by Gov­ern­ment and was handed over on March 28.

It was not re­leased pub­licly by the QCA un­til 13 days later, in the midst of the Com­mon­wealth Games.

The QCA ar­gued that it needed sarah.vogler@news.com.au that time to pre­pare me­dia re­leases and other ma­te­rial as­so­ci­ated with the re­port’s re­lease.

On Thurs­day, the Gov­ern­ment re­leased its public ser­vice work­force sta­tis­tics for the De­cem­ber Quar­ter.

Those fig­ures were gath­ered by the Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion on De­cem­ber 12 last year but the re­port was not re­leased un­til four months later.

It showed about 20,000 full-time equiv­a­lent public ser­vants were em­ployed in the De­cem­ber quar­ter than were on the books at the start of the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment’s first term.

For a Gov­ern­ment re­peat­edly hav­ing to de­fend its public ser­vant hir­ing and a fis­cal prin­ci­ple it has yet to meet, these fig­ures were al­ways go­ing to raise ques­tions.

Then late Thurs­day an­other bomb­shell was dropped and ex­tremely late in the day, with the tabling of the child deaths an­nual re­port.

The state’s fam­ily and child com­mis­sioner had signed off on her re- port on Oc­to­ber 31 – six months be­fore its public re­lease last week.

It showed four chil­dren known to child safety had died from a fa­tal as­sault.

Al­most half of the chil­dren who trag­i­cally com­mit­ted sui­cide last fi­nan­cial year – nine out of 21 young lives lost this way – were known to Child Safety, as were 10 of the 19 chil­dren who drowned. These fig­ures are sober­ing and they raise ques­tions about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the child pro­tec­tion sys­tem.

Then, late yes­ter­day, more bad news was served up more than a week af­ter au­thor­i­ties knew about it.

Queens­land Health re­vealed on Fri­day af­ter­noon that chem­i­cals found in banned fire­fight­ing foam had been lo­cated in the water sup­ply of a Bund­aberg sub­urb.

Thou­sands of res­i­dents will now be of­fered free blood tests. Queens­land Health had known a week prior. An en­tire week. They blamed the lo­cal coun­cil for the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment.

It is these kind of tac­tics that only serve to fur­ther alien­ate an al­ready cyn­i­cal vot­ing public, many of whom stopped be­liev­ing politi­cians had their best in­ter­ests at heart a long time ago.

Many of whom now sadly would be sur­prised to see the rep­re­sen­ta­tives act­ing any other way.

HID­DEN DROP: The Gov­ern­ment is great at re­leas­ing bad news by stealth.

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