Ben Sandilands over at Crikey yesterday on Sydney airport’s recent ineffectual but very expensive security stuff-up:
But whatever the details, tracing these people proved totally beyond the capabilities of the massive Sydney Airport investment in security, which is so enormously important that it is contracted out to private companies chosen on lowest price.
The thing is, that’s true about all sorts of areas that previously were the responsibility of government, where the consequence of taking these sorts of shortcuts – although potentially catastrophic – won’t be felt for some time. Possibly under the next mob’s administration. When those responsible who are completely lacking in shame can blame them for the increased cost of cleaning up your mess, whilst simultaneously contrasting their expenditure with how much money the incompetents saved when they created that mess in the first place.
And our short-term obsessed governments and public agencies keep doing it. And are applauded for doing it.
Other examples of tendering on the basis of price rather than quality of service provision:
- detention centres (like, say, Villawood);
- prisons (like, say, the ones whose inadequate procedures are linked to avoidable deaths in custody)
I’m sure you can think of many others – please feel free to share them in the comments.
The important thing is to keep this in mind next time a government is crowing about how much more cheaply it can get things done by tendering them out to the private sector. Particularly when it’ll be some time before you see (and are forced to pay for) the results of the corners being cut …