The effectiveness of the QFI’s new model of collaborative, evidence-based policy development has been given an early tick of approval with the Queensland Government’s decision to support many of the findings of our Orange Paper – ‘Queensland – A World Leader in Solar Deployment’. This not only reflects well on the QFI’s policy reform approach, but also reflects well on a Government that is prepared to listen and act on good ideas.
Proactive and considered policy development and reform, driven and supported by sectoral and industry groups external to government, is increasingly difficult these day. As with the rest of a society focused on instant gratification, sectoral and industry group members are demanding more immediate results. Members have become increasingly impatient and are less likely to support strategic policy reform, that sometimes takes years of intensive work to achieve. More and more, sectoral and industry groups are being pushed by their members to reactive stances; awaiting government developed policy proposals and then opposing vociferously. Many members unfortunately only see a ‘public fight’ as demonstration of the value of their membership investment.
Similarly, many members appear to have limited capacity or patience to lend government their support when it comes to the heavy lifting of working with the community to knead a good idea (supported by their industry or sectoral group) into implementable policy. Government at all levels is becoming increasingly frustrated. Recent evidence of this was the explosion by Liberal Party Victorian president Michael Kroger, saying the Business Council of Australia had “no idea” how to influence public opinion and had failed in the debate over the GST.
The QFI’s is driving a new approach to policy reform. While we engage in governments’ agenda for policy reform, their agenda does not dominate our priorities. Our clear focus is to set policy priorities that will contribute to the social and economic growth of Queensland, irrespective of any political agenda. Our policy development is based around extensive research; obtaining a deep understanding of the issue and identifying options for reform. Diversity determines our policy quality; having representatives from the community, industry, business and research sectors. We aim to work alongside government and with the community, to build consensus and support for reform.
While we do not purport to have all the answers to improved policy reform outcomes, ours is a new, disruptive approach that is delivering very promising outcomes.