As a great believer in government transparency and FOI, I find it hard to be too concerned about the Party official going in to review the Government businesses GoPrint and GoPlant, as reported in the Courier-Mail. Of course, it appears there was a breach of protocol, but we shouldn’t forget the bigger issue around whether there is any justification for these Government businesses. I would argue there is not.
GoPrint is obviously the Government printer, but many people would be surprised to learn about GoPlant, which according to the Courier-Mail report is:
…a state-owned nursery that provides: long-term and short-term plant hire for government offices and events; project management (landscape design, site reviews, planting guides etc); and a range of advice and consultancy services.
There does not appear to be a market failure argument for either GoPrint or GoPlant, as there must be dozens of printers and nursery businesses in Brisbane. Nor could concerns around the security of Government information justify GoPrint, as I seem to recall the Commonwealth Government even uses a private sector printer to print the Budget.
I’ve previously written about Queensland’s long history of inappropriate Government involvement in business in a post on the Urban Land Development Authority, which thankfully the new Government is emasculating (Council development hand-back begins).