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A Friday note - 24 April 2015

CONNECT - Message from the Chief Executive

Dear All,
What stunning weather in Adelaide earlier this week – the perfect autumn – sunny, cool, leaves falling. Beautiful.

Reliable and safe access in and out of the more remote areas of the state is important for our customers who live and work there. Dedicated staff work to improve these routes, keep them open and ensure information about their condition is continually updated. Following the rain that was gratefully received in much of the state last week, staff based in Port Augusta had to move quickly to update the road condition report for the many who travel during school holidays. Thanks particularly to Darryl Masters and Juanita Chester and  everyone involved for your efforts here.

While we have lots of challenges I am seeing some very exciting things happening across the department. This is driven by unlocking the talent and experience of each of you in getting involved in the decision making and including community and industry as partners.

Some examples:

  • Michelle Spagnoletti and Andy Excell and their teams are joining together to provide better use of our road and public transport assets. The enthusiasm and interest in this task is breathtaking. This work will soon be ready for your engagement and the community.
  • Sally Smith, Anita Allen and their teams assess applications to develop property considered significant for the state’s future. This is important work and will tangibly shape how South Australia grows and the economy develops. The numbers show just how vital: over the last 12 months more than 4000 development applications have been considered at an estimated value of $1b, potentially creating around 14,000 direct and indirect jobs. In addition, since 2013 more than 80 proposals have been considered for the city and inner metropolitan areas at an estimated value of $3.7b, potentially creating 51,800 direct and indirect jobs.
  • I asked Al Maciunas and Nick Marciano this week what they could do to improve service to our tram customers. Their simple response: “Lots. We have been waiting for you to ask”. More soon. That Al is a dry character but to see the twinkle in his eyes and the passion for his work was inspiring.
  • A new Planning Act.  Deputy Premier Rau wants a completely new approach to the way we do business for business and the community arising from the expert panel on planning reform.  Given developments can touch up to 149 separate pieces of legislation Matthew Loader and Sue Rudall and staff have their work cut out, their intellects unlocked and a Minister who wants significant improvement, in every case, by yesterday.
  • Yesterday the Premier announced the creation of the Anzac Centenary Memorial Garden Walk which will link the National War Memorial on North Terrace with the Torrens Parade Ground and Pathway of Honour.  Staff, including Kylie O’Leary, will be managing this important project and coordinating its design and construction over the next 12 months. As a senior government figure told me yesterday “this wouldn’t have happened without Kylie”.
  • The State’s property industry relies heavily on information we provide about land titles. From this Monday, the 30-year-old titles system will be replaced by the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS), which will offer the public and businesses a much faster and more reliable way to obtain details such as title owner, property boundaries, size and value. Well done to Kevin O’Callaghan’s team who have been tirelessly working behind the scenes to implement the system on time and train more than 1,400 clients.
  • Vehicle Operations is in discussion with the Motor Trades Association (MTA) to better understand the issues of industry and ultimately improve the roadworthiness of vehicles and achieve better road safety.
  • Building reform for farmers.  It will now be easier and faster for farmers to build new facilities thanks to new construction requirements introduced by our development division. The less onerous specifications for farm buildings, such as poultry, pig and horticultural facilities, will reduce red tape and potentially save farmers between $150 and $250k per development. To achieve this a reference group of farmers and other stakeholders was set up to quickly understand what changes were needed and implement them. This has been an excellent example of working with industry to make their lives easier and promote investment.
  • The Torrens to Torrens team is busy evaluating the tenders of the proponents short listed to carry out the major works of the project. Together with specialists across the department they are thoroughly examining these incredibly detailed documents in order to make the best recommendation for a builder.
  • Rail’s engineering team is working on improving reliability for customers by reviewing the speed restrictions currently across the network and prioritising the improvements needed. 
  • In Coober Pedy, the results of recent work to widen and seal its airport runway were captured by the RAAF's elite aerobatic display team. The Roulettes flew over as part of the town’s centenary celebrations (see below for photo). The improved airstrip has ensured commercial flights can continue to land and has safeguarded the livelihoods of those who work in the opal mining town.
  • Staff from the South Australian Sports Institute are working with the state’s best athletes to get them ready for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. We should be very proud of the commitment and professional approach of this team, who you can see in action here. Keep an eye on the intranet for more news as the event draws closer.
So how do we manage all this and more? Certainly the old structures couldn’t provide these opportunities for integration and improvement. Just this week a group of our graduates came looking for more opportunities in this integrated model.  Terrific.

Many of our sections are currently being consulted on draft Implementation plans. The consultation periods conclude soon, with the closing date specified by each manager (if you are unsure on when this is or have any questions please contact the relevant section manager). Your feedback is valuable so I encourage you be involved. Some implementation plans have been finalised following consultation and can be found here.
I encourage you to look at not only your section’s implementation plan but others across DPTI so you see how we plan to do business in the future. Managers will release draft organisational structures soon. You will have the opportunity to provide feedback – once again, please be involved.  The logic here is simple.  I want staff involved in reviewing the draft implementation plans before structures are considered.  In some groups this has been able to be done together as it is not a one size fits all approach, nor should it be. We are tracking well here with staff telling me in their droves – “let’s get on with this and maximise the benefits as soon as possible and let people know their future”. Should redeployment be necessary we are working closely to ensure any opportunities to positions across the SA sector are made available to our people first. Of course I remain committed to the consultative process on the basis that people are proud of their work, want to do an even better job for the community and want flatter structures.
The  accommodation team is currently engaging with work groups to understand their accommodation requirements and ensure the moves are as comfortable and timely as possible. Please be supportive of the team who may be contacting you soon. Whether your team is relocating or not, it is an ideal time to review and streamline the way we work, including a general tidy up of loose papers and files.
Fantastic customer service by one of our train drivers during the week. A patron of a Gawler to Adelaide service wrote thanking driver Mark Gregory for going out of his way to explain why his train was more crowded than usual (due to the mechanical failure of an earlier service) and thank everyone for their patience. It’s this type of effort to communicate with our customers when something goes wrong that is obviously very much appreciated. Great work Mark. Some would argue that this should be our expectation of all who work here. It is. But the more we can acknowledge the great work of people who meet and exceed expectations the better service we will provide.
Most weekends I spend my time looking around, travelling the roads by car, using our buses, trains and trams. With my bicycle now in Adelaide I tried the bike paths last weekend – a whole new world. Give it a go.

Michael Deegan