Victoria launches annual document ‘dump day’

The Victorian parliament celebrates what has become known as “dump day” annually.

The government usually releases an overwhelming amount of annual reports all at once at the conclusion of the sitting year, allegedly to make journalists and other interested parties physically unable to read them all.

The opposition will then predictably criticize the practice and fail to acknowledge that this has also happened under its watch.

The opposition leader, John Pesutto, referred to the 244 documents that were deposited on Wednesday as “dumping reports in an effort to prevent proper transparency and scrutiny of this bumbling, incompetent and wasteful administration.”

Subsequently, he charged that the government was hiding information by not releasing forty more reports.

Last year, with all eyes on the official inauguration of the 60th parliament following the election, the government decided to table over 265 papers five days before Christmas.

The website of the parliament momentarily crashed as a result, although Daniel Andrews, the prime minister at the time, refuted claims that it was a sly move, pointing out that the government had been in caretaker mode for several months.

241 annual reports covering a variety of government agencies and departments, such as emergency services, integrity bodies, hospitals, the court system, the state’s cemeteries and zoos, and even the strawberry industry, were among the 244 documents that were tabled on Wednesday.

They included a blend of ugly, horrible, and good.

The Commission for Children and Young People looked into 45 child deaths in 2022–2023; they also looked into an instance in which a youngster was placed in an adult prison, dressed in a spit hood, and kept in his cell for up to 23 hours a day.

The average wait time for public or social accommodation for Victorians escaping family abuse is two years, which is more than twice as long as the Department of Families, Fairness and accommodation’s goal of 10.5 months.

Customer Service Victoria had to reallocate workers to assist after receiving a record 5,400 requests for reviews of rent increases.

Zoos Victoria lost a number of animals, such as a zebra that fractured its neck during a transfer, sixteen fish who perished when a hose was left running in an aquarium tank for an extended period of time, and a fish that died in a “misadventure” after jumping out of its new home after only six days.

Victoria’s triple-zero operator is back on track after being overloaded with Covid-19, causing delays that resulted in 33 deaths. 96.4% of emergency ambulance calls were responded in less than five seconds, exceeding the 90% target and outperforming the previous year’s performance by 32%, despite a 33% increase in staff.

Not to mention the mounting deficits, the millions of dollars spent on consultants, and the extravagant compensation of top executives, including those at the organization tasked with overseeing the now-postponed 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Pesutto repeatedly criticized dump day while standing next to the stack of reports. If elected, he promised to reveal all of the reports in a “timely way,” including the 40 that he claimed should have been presented this week.

Ambulance Victoria, Fire Rescue Victoria, the State Electricity Commission, and the Victorian Building Authority are among the reports that were spared from trash day.

A government spokesman stated on Wednesday that “Annual reports are subject to a due-diligence process by Vago [the Victorian auditor general’s office]”. “This week, all reports that Vago submitted back to the government on schedule have been tabled.

“The final sitting day of the year is when the remaining reports will be tabled.”

Hopefully, the postponement will allow journalists to thoroughly examine them.

 

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