SATIRE: Interview with a Planning Minister

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
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Cover Image_Ross Elliot
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Interviewer: So Minister, we’ve heard a lot about your new planning schemes, can you tell us what’s actually involved?

Planning Minister: Thank you, and might I say I am very proud to tell you about how much planning we’ve actually been doing. The plans are very comprehensive, and have been painstakingly developed over many years, so they’re extremely comprehensive and we’re very, very proud of what we’ve done.

Thank you Minister, but what’s actually involved?

That’s an excellent question. As I’ve said, these plans are very comprehensive and the result of extensive public, industry and stakeholder consultation. The plans cover a wide area of planning – I can assure the people of this State that no stone’s been left untouched by any of this planning. So what’s involved is a very comprehensive plan for planning the future of our region.

Yes Minister, but what does the plan actually contain?

I’m sorry, but you possibly don’t understand what’s involved …

Clearly not.

Well let me say the plan has actually been refreshed and recharged and we’ve done away with the dated, inappropriate plans of the past and replaced them with a whole new set of plans for the future that …

… contain what exactly?

I’m not sure your listeners would appreciate your line of questioning. Look, it’s a very comprehensive plan – in fact, there’s more than just one plan in case you didn’t get that message. We have plans for every contingency, for every possible scenario, based on the extensive review of our planning and consultation with leading industry and public groups. In fact, it’s fair to say we’ve never had so many plans available for so many contingencies and interests that have been, in themselves, very comprehensively planned out. The Premier has told me personally that he’s 100 per cent behind these plans and what they mean for our region.

Does he know what’s in them?

Don’t be flippant with me, of course he does, he’s a very well-informed Premier, who’s been fully briefed on all of our planning activities and the plans themselves and the consultation process and understands that these are the best plans we’ve seen for a long, long time in this great State…

Can I change the subject for a moment?

Provided you don’t miss the point about our planning. I welcome any enquiry into our planning!

Minister, your Department employs many hundreds of public servants in the planning field. Are the public getting value for money?

Of course! (laughs). Haven’t you seen all the plans they’ve produced?

But what are the plans for? I mean, why all this planning? What’s it for, where’s it leading?

Because (irritably) you HAVE to have plan for things, you can’t just let growth happen all willy-nilly without a decent planning framework. And let me also say, which is something you need to appreciate: planning takes planning. You can’t just produce the sort of plans we’ve produced without lots of carefully thought out planning for the plans. It’s a subtle point sometimes lost on a cynical media, but producing good planning is an investment in our future and that in itself needs to carefully planned out, which I’m sure your listeners would fully want.

Minister, we’re running short on time. Can I wrap this up by asking what has actually been DONE with these plans and all this planning?

Done? I’m sorry?

Yes Minister, what’s actually been done?

Oh, I see, well that’s easy to explain, you’ll need to redirect your question – you see, I’m the “Planning” Minister; the “doing” is not part of my portfolio. But when anyone is ready to do anything, absolutely anything, I promise you we have the plans! I’m very proud of that.

Minister, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time – that’s all we have time for today.

You should have planned that better then, shouldn’t you?

Thank you Minister.

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