Friday, March 6, 2009

Navigating the bureaucracy

I have three examples today of the problems that you can strike when trying to navigate through government bureaucracies.

The cabinets below belong to Jemena, who looks after gas pipelines in NSW.  They've been vandalised previously, and Jemena repainted them last year.  I rang the Jemena manager responsible for them today and told him about the latest layer of vandalism.  He was less than impressed.  He's going to get them repainted, and we had a chat about whether it would be better to have a mural painted on them rather than simply splashing a coat of green paint over them.  Murals seem to work most of the time (although there is always one idiot in every crowd who will vandalise a mural), and he's going to see if he can get a mural put on these cabinets.

That was his idea by the way, not mine.  However, before he can paint a mural on them, he has to get approval from the local council which in this case is Leichhardt Council.  Most of the councillors in Leichhardt give the impression that they are more concerned with events in Gaza instead of fixing pot holes in their local streets, so I hope Jemena can get approval to paint these cabinets the way they want to before Christmas comes.  

How insane is that though?  A company needing council approval for the colour scheme of its equipment cabinets.  It's a wonder anything gets done in this country.

RailCorp have already used Leichhardt Council as an excuse for not painting this bridge.  The last letter I got from them stated that they'd have to get council approval to close the road to paint it etc etc, implying that it was a very large and complex and costly job, and therefore hoping that I would take the hint and let them off the hook.  Of course everyone knows that councils are impossible to deal with, and getting approval for anything takes light years, so RailCorp can simply ignore the problem and blame council if anyone kicks up a stink.  Nice.  It's the government version of the "dog ate my homework" excuse.

My third example of navigating the bureaucracy.  There are floating rubbish traps on the canals that empty into the harbour.  This one clearly has a broken boom, which would allow rubbish to float past the trap and end up in the belly of passing sharks - which might not be a bad thing.

I rang NSW Maritime, assuming that they would be the ones that take care of these things.  It turns out that all they do is empty the traps - Sydney Water are responsible for repairing and maintaining them.  NSW Maritime had noticed that the boom was broken before I rang, and have tied it off, and reported it to Sydney Water.  I sometimes wonder whether we are living in a Monty Python movie.


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