Service Delivery has Been Fundamentally Changed: Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart, Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government

Dave Stewart, Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government.

Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM

Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, National IPAA President.

Dave Stewart, Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government, spoke recently with the IPAA National President, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM for the WORK WITH PURPOSE — A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE podcast.

Like much of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, Queensland was confronting a severe bushfire situation. It was heading into its summer cyclone season when news of the growing health crisis in Wuhan led the government to trigger the state’s disaster management arrangements.

Dave recalled how the Premier moved very quickly to activate the Queensland Disaster Cabinet Committee:

‘It has all of the key ministers around the table, all the key directors-generals, the Police Commissioner, but importantly, the State Disaster Controller who happens to be our Deputy Police Commissioner.

So we had all the agencies around. We had local government at the table. We had key stakeholders at the table … It was something that worked very well. It’s worked very well for us in practice.’

Dave spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way services are delivered to the Queensland people:

‘Service delivery, in many respects, has changed fundamentally with COVID.

So, yes, we still deliver our policing services. We deliver our frontline services through emergency response. We still deliver all of our ag services. We deliver our Transport and Main Roads customer services.

You name it, those services are still there, but the way people interact with us has changed … people have moved more to the digital presence.’

Dave went on to explain how the public service has been proactively engaging with the community:

 ‘The other thing we’ve done is that we’ve actually pushed service delivery out. So instead of waiting for Queensland citizens to come to us, we’ve tended to push those services out to Queensland citizens to make sure they’re aware of what’s happening.’

Some of the examples Dave gave included streamlining the licencing processes by Transport and Main Roads, the regulation of liquor licencing as the hospitality sector moved to a takeaway service model, as well as the work done with the Commonwealth to deliver health services:

‘eHealth has been … one of the most amazing phenomena that we’ve seen.

And I think the conversion of people wanting to go and see a GP or a health professional, and willing to do that online has made a fundamental change.’

During the interview, Dave also spoke about some fundamental shifts in the way people are deployed across the public service, the move to virtual Cabinets and changes in Queensland parliamentary processes, and the dramatic change in relationships with the Federation.

Dave is a strong supporter of IPAA and a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

WORK WITH PURPOSE is produced in partnership between contentgroup and IPAA ACT, with the support of the Australian Public Service Commission.

The podcast can be accessed from the link below and is also available on Spotify, SoundCloud and iTunes.

Work with Purpose 
A National Perspective

Fundamentally Changing Service Delivery — with Dave Stewart