New laws to shake up public servant performance


LAWS governing Queensland's public service will be overhauled to make it easier to discipline poor performers and make casual and temporary workers permanent.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk introduced the laws yesterday, after a government review found "significant problems and issues" with employment laws and an unwillingness or inability of some managers to address poor performance.

But unions also complained too many workers were on rolling 12-month contracts, providing no stability for them.

The new laws mean a casual or non-permanent worker can request permanency after 12 months and then annually, and makes it clear a manager cannot say no unless they have a valid reason.

It will also enable workers acting in higher duties to request a permanent transfer to a higher position if they do the work for more than 12 months.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Bridgman Review had made 99 recommendation and the first stage of reforms were "intended to drive culture and behaviour change".

She said public servants would have more job security under the changes and their good work would be recognised.

But it would also clearly delineate performance management, development and disciplinary action, she said.

Peter Bridgman's review uncovered a recurring theme around a lack of professional and personal development in the public service and failing processes to address poor performance.


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking in Parliament yesterday. Picture: Tara Croser
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaking in Parliament yesterday. Picture: Tara Croser


The review recommended chief executives have the power to address issues with a manager who is not managing adequately, from requiring them to undergo training and development, to removing their management responsibilities or demoting them to a non-managerial level.

"An employee should bear responsibility for their work performance and it is recommended that the Act make that point," Mr Bridgman wrote.

"Managers should have explicit responsibility to work with subordinates on developing their careers and sustaining and lifting performance including development opportunities."

But it said there often were no consequences if employees did not undergo professional development and managers did not follow through.

The Bill makes it clear "that permanent employment is the default basis for public sector employment and that other non-permanent forms of employment should only be used when ongoing employment is not viable or appropriate".

It also provides "for new directives to guide disciplinary action and procedures, investigations and positive performance management".




Originally published as New laws to shake up public servant performance