One of the very first acts of this government was the 18 September announcement of the merger of DFAT and agency formerly known as AusAID. Since the announcement, I have had a constant stream of AusAID staff members contacting me to express their concerns over the lack of clarity in the integration process.
Many had hoped that the 24 October combined staff meeting held at DFAT might have provided staff with the detail they lacked. Alas, this meeting provided more questions than answers, and today— 57 days after the integration was announced—staff from both departments are still asking questions.
They want to know: one, if any external professional change-management advice is being provided to support the integration; two, why there are no women on the steering committee appointed to oversee the integration; three, how many jobs are going to be lost in the integration, when and from what areas; four, if a position or function is deemed to be duplicated, what the process will be for determining which staff member will maintain that position or responsibility for that function; five, whether AusAID or DFAT staff will be moved to a different location and, if so, to where and when; and six, when and why the decision was taken to cancel the AusAID graduate program and terminate their contracts.
I accept, as do most Canberrans. that machinery of government changes are a part of living in Canberra. But public servants have lost their job security. The least this government could do is provide them with clarity.