I know nothing

In Hogan’s Heroes, Sergeant Schultz was famous for saying “I know nothing”.

Now we have a new use of this phrase from the Secretary of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (which I noted previously had a split personality).

In addressing the 700 staff transferring to his expanded department (which in itself is amazing: 700 people employed making energy efficiency policy), Dr Parkinson said (reported first in the Canberra Times on Saturday 6 March):

It’s not like [his department] has any expertise in this area. DCC is not a program manager … one of the ironies is that DCC is even more of a policy department [than the Environment Department].

I know that there is a natural degree of trepidation. I won’t hide from the fact that when I found out what was going on it was like, oh my God … I know nothing about program design, about program risk management

Excuse me, but isn’t Dr Parkinson in charge of the design and implementation of the most significant government intervention in Australia’s history – the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme?

The Department’s corporate plan states:

The Department of Climate Change (DCC) was established by administrative order on 3 December 2007. The department is charged with leading the development and coordination of Australia’s climate change policies. We are responsible for policy advice, implementation and program delivery in three areas:

• mitigation policy through domestic emissions reduction (including the design and implementation of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme)
• adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change
• helping to shape a global solution through Australia’s international climate change strategy (including carriage of international negotiations).

With the departmental secretary admitting he knows nothing about program design and program risk management it seems Australia has dodged a bullet with the death of the CPRS.

Dr Parkinson is an excellent macroeconomist. He has some excellent staff. But they are not experts in design and implementation of programs. The Commonwealth Government has limited expertise in this field, not surprisingly given the nature of its work. But this is an added reason why an emission trading scheme would have been bad for the Australian economy. It is one thing to devise good quality policy, but the implementation of the policy is crucial to its efficacy, efficiency and overall burden on the Australian economy.

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13 Responses to I know nothing

  1. VinceOZ

    Why do we have a department dedicated to fixing a non-existent problem?

    This should be the first major change after the election to close the whole thing, what a huge savings that would be.

  2. Rafe

    Re the 700 staff, a re-post if the original Parkinson’s Law would be appropriate but I have lost the link. The British Spectator put the original paper on line a year or two ago.

  3. Sinclair Davidson

    Well spotted.

  4. JC

    700 staff? Direct and indirect costs would amount to over $100 million a year.

    Fme, the taxpayer gets looted. It’s Just wrong.

    We just get hosed.

  5. JC

    I agree with Vince. Close that crap down and run it out of the science and Treasury department by increasing work load of those dudes.

  6. C.L.

    Rudd’s comical Department of “Climate Change” is in the news elsewhere.

    Climate HQ flunks green star test.

    The federal government’s Department of Climate Change may be at the cutting edge of environmental policy development [LOL] but it is well behind when it comes to its own effect on the environment.

    The department has told a parliamentary committee that its Canberra headquarters achieved only a 2½-star rating on the five-star National Australian Built Environment Rating System and did not comply with the government’s policy on energy efficiency in its own operations.

    It’s OK, though, because they’re “seeking approval to spend $20.5 million fitting out a new building.”

  7. Mole

    Ok, so people are looking at the brand named “department of climate change”.

    Anyone want to add the Billions being used by the over 100 initatives listed on their website?

    Some refer to allready existing mobs like The Bureau of Meteorology, but heres a sample of some of the others.

    Australian Carbon Trust
    Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority
    Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System – AGEIS
    Australian National Registry of Emissions Units
    Australian Climate Change Science Program
    Australian Centre for Renewable Energy

    Thats just some of the “a” section, now for some detailed ones.

    Climate Change Action Fund
    The Government has established the $1.97 billion Climate Change Action Fund to provide targeted assistance to business, community sector organisations, workers, regions and communities, helping to smooth the transition to a low-pollution economy. Whole of government initiative.

    Solar Hot Water Rebate Program
    Provides a rebate of $1,600 to help eligible home-owners, landlords or tenants replace their inefficient electric storage hot water systems with solar or heat pump hot water systems. Administered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

    Teaching and Learning Capital Fund (TLCF)
    The TLCF (VET) will provide $500 million during the 2009-10 financial year which will be distributed through initiatives focused on modernizing and improving the quality of teaching and learning across the vocational education and training sector. There is an emphasis on funding projects that support the national training system to address industry’s emerging green skills requirements. Please note that funding rounds have closed. Administered by the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations.

    Low Emission Assistance Plan for Renters
    Provides assistance of up to $1,000 to install ceiling insulation in existing rental properties and other properties. Administered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

    Never mind the headline figures, 90% of the inititives mentioned dont have costs attached. The monumental power grab by the climate change wonks is affecting a lot more government business than you think.

  8. Myrddin Seren

    Just depressing.

    Hundreds and thousands of apparatchiks at federal and state level;

    recycling billions of taxpayer dollars, clipping the ticket on the way through ( transaction costs );

    to remake society and the economy without ever testing it at the ballot box;

    all of whom can be expected to vote faithfully for the party whose policy this all is until hell freezes over.

    And even if a new mini or full blown-ice age did set in – they would probably relentlessly chant the AGW ‘climate chaos’ mantra and seek more programmatic specificities until the glaciers were sliding over Lake Burley Griffin.

    It’s the 51% solution of Julia – get enough registered voters directly on the big government payroll or the welfare rolls, and eventually your mandate becomes permanent, as most of them will never be foolish enough to sacrifice their direct interests by voting to lift the ever-growing tax burden they assume is carried by someone else.

    Barring a deep existential crisis, I struggle to see how this trend can be reversed as long as populist, self-interest carries the day at election time ?

  9. daddy dave

    very interesting info, mole. Interesting choice of name for yourself, too.

    90% of the inititives mentioned dont have costs attached.

    The mind boggles.

  10. JC


    How does one effectively stop this monster from rising from the swamp?

  11. Mole

    The name is just the shorter version of my usual blogname thefrollickingmole, I cant claim any inside knowlegde.
    No idea, you have a large bucket of cash available to any department which can stick the word “climate” in one of their power point presentations. Where theres lots of money and poor accountability you are sure to attract sharks.

    Id suggest decimation of the population od Canberra, to be carried out every 5 years, that might slow this sort of thing down

  12. I bumped into a bloke who worked for that dept for a while.

    He said that it was stuffed to the gills with Wong’s mates. The key criteria for employment is that they heartily approved with Wong’s agenda. There are no “hard heads” there with experience in actually doing anything, apart from marching down the street with papier machet puppet heads and banging drums. No wonder everything they touch turns to poo. Their idea of an implementation plan is to call a meet, sing kum-ba-ya and hope for the best.

  13. Their idea of an implementation plan is to call a meet, sing kum-ba-ya and hope for the best.
    Well sounds more productive than most meetings. At least they get something done. 🙂

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