Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bureaucracy rampant when direct Ministerial intervention is what's needed

After my last post, see below, I had a look at what's happening at Screen Australia. Is there to be any end of the bureaucratic bullsh-t going on which seems quite contrary to the plans for direct selection and investment set out in the previous post? First of all, the Minister, the Bald Eagle aka Peter Garrett, released his Statement of Expectations at to what Screen Australia will get up to. This to a statutory authority, a status which once upon a time a time conferred independence of judgement and freedom not merely from Ministers but also from the apparatchiks that increasingly crowd out Ministers’ offices and stultify any smart thoughts. Screen Australia has now released its draft Statement of Intent (SOI) for 2008/09, in response to that Statement of Expectations. Screen Australia advises that these “SOIs are formal commitments by Screen Australia to meet the expectations of Government.” Can you believe an alleged arts/industrial organisation participating sensibly in such nonsense. If you do then you will believe that huge box office successes, Oscars and Cannes entrants are a matter of weeks away and the tooth fairy will squire Nick and Russell down the red carpet on Oscar night. Who dreamed this up? Please step forward and identify yourself so that the nation can laugh at you. Screen Australia says its draft sets out preliminary thinking within the organisation on the shape of its future programs. And that it “will use the directions articulated in the SOI as the basis for developing the suite of programs to be offered in 2009. A second round of industry consultation regarding guidelines and programs will take place in October”. Those meetings should be, as the old mate Counihan used to say, a real hoot but, sufficiently prolonged, the process could take the Government and its befuddled film bureaucrats through to the next election without a single movie being made to reflect either expectations or intentions or even the achievement of KPIs or any other bit of new management jargon designed to ensure nothing really happens. The process will also have the benefit of allowing bureaucrats to hide fear of failure or acknowledge failure itself. I’ll bet some consultancy firm has been hired to handle all this if not dream it up. That company would have a chortling bank manager and in eighteen months or so it will be favourite, based on its experience, to supervise a whole new round of announcements and consultations as to how Screen Australia, under its new Chief Executive Officer, plans to refocus, restructure and concentrate on achieving commercial and other success. …

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