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A Friday note - 12 December 2014

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First aid training and having the right equipment truly does save lives. Quick thinking, quick responses and having defibrillators in our regional areas helped one of our outback staff members this past week. A brilliant effort by the team saw the staff member in question receive vital care in the region before he could be flown to Adelaide. Would you know what to do if one of our colleagues needed medical attention? Fuzz looked in good shape when I visited him down the road. He recognised his work mates had saved his life. Impressive effort.


Last week I highlighted the challenges we face in making savings across the department.  Your response has been fantastic and some savings can be made with some basic changes.

If we switched computers off or had a program to do this automatically, we can make savings, based on a 37.5-hr week, of:

• computer off when not in use - $4 electricity per computer per year.
• computer off on weekends and annual leave (left on during week) - $13 electricity per computer per year.
• computer off during annual leave (left on during week and weekends) - $21 electricity per computer per year.
• computer on during entire year - $23 electricity per computer per year.

Ensuring everyone shuts down their computer can save the department between $9-19 per computer per year - a significant saving.

Did you know if we book travel online rather than by telephone we could save $50,000 per annum?  (Nicole in my office didn’t know this so we are finding out how to do this).
Did you know if we seek lowest fare for the day when travelling we could save tens of thousands of dollars?
Did you know if we drop the blinds in our buildings on hot days/before weekends we could make savings on energy costs?

Bit trickier is cutting back on overtime and using the savings to keep more jobs. Curtailing labour hire, contractors and consultants. Happy to receive more good ideas.


Are “Ministerials” dead?  Not yet, but change is coming.

The SA Ombudsman has recently released a report about complaint handling. This week, the Senior Management Council (SA Government CEOs) agreed to a single best-in-class approach for handling complaints to improve service and performance. The Public Service Commissioner will lead this work to align with the service charter for government.  The Commissioner for Police also recommended just one standard complaint form. So cutting and pasting standard reports will change to a more proactive approach (many in the department already do this) – handling on the spot, a telephone call, a face to face discussion. Think of the resources and time we can unlock to actually improve service.

Think how much more time Ministers and their staff will get to drive their agendas for reform and service. Think of the paper and red tape reduction. Not there yet, but ...  Very exciting.


We talk about values in this organisation.  Living and breathing those values will turn us into a high performance organisation.  That is not easy, but all those who are having a crack deserve my heartfelt thanks. For those struggling to get there please offer support and encouragement.

As we appoint our General Managers, we are now formalising arrangements for the remaining leadership positions.  Manager roles (those reporting directly to General Managers) are proposed to be advertised and subject to a merit based selection process early in the new year.


Today the independent Expert Panel on Planning Reform handed their final report to the Deputy Premier. It’s now up to us to make the most of the opportunity presented by the panel’s work and create a planning system that will see us through the next 20 years. 


This week Minister Mullighan received a letter from a gentleman who needed to be relocated as part of the South Road upgrade. While it was a very stressful time for him, he acknowledged he “lost his cool”. Two staff took the time to listen to him, work with him and ultimately find him alternate accommodation to meet his needs. He was so impressed by the attention and interaction from Kevin Archer and Jim Paspaliaris from property and facilities management that he took the time to tell the Minister how much their assistance meant. Both Kevin and Jim went above and beyond to see one of our customers through a difficult period. Well done to both.

After almost 45 years with the department, David Bartlett finishes with us next Friday. David has had an incredible career delivering many, many projects, not least of all the Seaford Rail Extension. Starting with us as a university student on a cadetship, David has mentored many graduate students himself through their own careers with the department. I thank him for everything he has contributed to the department. Good luck with lowering that golf handicap!

The staff recognition event for those who have contributed 35 or more years of service has been confirmed for next Thursday, 18 December. I look forward to seeing these staff - that’s a lot of experience and knowledge.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Deegan