Thursday, June 26, 2008

NSW Voters Dumping Iemma

The news just keeps getting worse for Morris Iemma and his NSW Labor Government. The public’s list of his problems continues to grow and now includes:

  • Electricity: supply, sale, rising prices
  • Water: supply / restrictions, rising prices [Aside: future sale, as per electricity??]
  • Hospitals: buildings, equipment, staffing, management "culture", recurrent funding to staff the wards and equipment, some of which sits idle in NSW because there is no staff allocation/funding to operate it, and excessively high occupancy rates caused by understaffing and "bed closure".
  • Schools: maintenance, staffing, equipment, how to manage the installation and on-going maintenance of many new computers from the Federal Government’s rollout
  • Public Transport: trains, buses, ferries, timetables, overcrowding, delays. The electronic T-Card Project fiasco was, by any measure, a failed project of this government.
  • Roads and Motorways: the (privately owned, but contracted to RTA) motorways are either overcrowded (M5), or underused (Cross City Tunnel, Lane Cove Tunnel) despite measures that disadvantage public road users. Links to the Northern Beaches, via Spit Bridge. This week an electrical fault on the Spit Bridge took almost 3 hours to fix. Morris Iemma’s Government has not (yet) funded an upgrade the electrical system despite previous problems.
  • Development: corrupt and incompetent Councils; a Minister (Frank Sartor) who appears to be controlling decision making at the Ministerial level, rather than letting the public service do its job. The Beechwood Homes collapse highlights the need for fair trading, corporate and building insurance legislative amendments
  • Infrastructure: lack of appropriate investment in infrastructure over 10 years has necessitated a budget full of planned investment … but not too soon, and not immediately.
  • Growing disenchantment with World Youth Day 2008.

It is understandable, then, that this week’s polls show that the Liberal Opposition leader, Barry O’Farrell (a not fabulous 39%), is the first Opposition Leader in more than 10 years to be more popular with voters than the Premier. (a mere 32%). At this week's caucus meeting it was made clear to him that ALP politicians in NSW are not all happy.

The government’s official response: "We've got to sell our message a lot better."
Well, … No! The government needs to change its focus from managing the next news story / media release to proper, accountable, competent management of the state of NSW. To achieve that, Morris Iemma will probably have to be replaced as Premier. Some of his Ministers need to be replaced. The problem is: who will do the job? For the people of NSW.