Who’s the Decision-Maker?
Posted by Mike Smith
I’ve seen businesses and community activists, seeking Government support for something, spend scarce resources pursuing State-based issues with a Federal Minister, and vice-versa; I’ve seen them talking to the wrong Minister or Department about issues “owned” by another.
You can’t get something from Government without asking for it from the right Government – not every Government can do everything. And you’ve got to chase the right person in that Government, too.
First step: find out which Government looks after your issue.
In Australia we have
- State* and
- Federal (technically, Commonwealth)
Governments, and their respective powers are limited: mostly, the Federal Government doesn’t deal with the issues that a State Government can, nor those of a Local Government; the same limitations operate in reverse.
You can’t make progress until you’ve worked out which one is in charge of your issue. Rarely, issues are within the purview of more than one Government, making things harder.
Second step: find out who in Government “owns” the issue.
Within a Government, each Minister and Department has very specific roles and powers, and within each Department each employee has a specific role. Grey areas and overlaps are few and small.
Again, you can’t make progress until you’ve identified which part of which Department works on your issue. Often this process starts with cold calls into areas that might be the right place, gleaned from a Departmental website, or the Departmental switchboard.