Many of us in DIMA loved your story about Sandi Logan’s revelation that he had increased the staff from 15 to 41 and is now operating on a budget of $3.1 million — just enough! (23 August, item 9).

However there has been some discussion about the claim that he had introduced a 24/7 media response system — it has always been this and there is a media duty officer and phone in all government departments 24/7; that he seemed to claim some credit for DIMA involvement in the Border Security TV series — this was set up by the then media manager Roger Wheatley (now in AusAID) some three years ago; and that the incredible team of ex-colleagues of him and deputy Susan van den Heuvel who have arrived in the place handled some 786 media enquiries.

This is normal and may in fact be less than last year. The Media Team would normally handle about 1,200 a year — with the media team numbering about six out of that 41 as it always has. Geez — around one a day each. Wow, that’s pressure!

The real question that needs to be asked is what is he planning to do with the thousands of dollars worth of video cameras and editing suites and what are the staff going to be doing? Major reconstruction is just about complete.

Many ex-staff who handled the same work load with the 19 staff (not 15 in fact) are less than impressed — nothing has changed: the same workload, the same media strategy, the same focus on “good news” stories. So what has changed?

Instead of one Director (Stewart Foster), we now have three at $95,000 each and two SES officers running an operation that is twice the size and has spin meisters in the regions doing what? The stories on TV are still the two Iraqis on Nauru and the government’s pacific solution.

We all wait for it to happen — shortly.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey