What is happening with The Department of Immigration and Citizenship? Lots of staff departing to ensure budgets are met. Client Service staff in the Melbourne office have signed a petition to management complaining that the ongoing reduction in staff numbers is impacting on their ability to provide services to clients and that the increased workloads are starting to effect staff morale and health.

The much heralded “systems for people” changes to IT systems have failed to bring any measurable benefits to staff and have added to their concerns. The expectation of management is that staff will simply have to work harder and longer.

Another disaster is just around the corner.

Rumours have been flying around Sydney for some days that the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Rees Government’s controversial $5.3B CBD Metro proposal would be released on Wednesday 9 September. According to the Department of Planning bureaucrat responsible for major project assessments that I spoke to a short time ago, the EIA is indeed set down for release tomorrow.

Whether Nathan Rees will dare to front a media conference in the light of the present difficulties caused by the McGurk killing and Labor’s association with colourful Sydney identities is another matter.

I’m pretty confident Qantas is planning some nasty cutbacks for frequent flyers. I’ve been “randomly selected” to complete an extensive on-line survey for the airline. Recurrent themes in the multiple choice scenarios indicate Qantas is testing the market’s tolerance for: no more frequent flyer points awarded for discounted fares such as the Red-e-Deals, and Extending the dreadful economy self-check-in kiosk concept to “premium travellers”.

Qantas is dressing this up with suggestions that every premium customer will be given an electronic tag which will be swiped over a reader to “streamline” the check-in process. In reality, it will quickly degenerate into the awful mess that is the norm for all non-frequent flyer/Qantas Club members. I have just returned from a three state, multi-stopover domestic business trip in which the return bookings were messed up. It took a “real person” 15 minutes to sort it out at the Business Class/Qantas Club airport check-in counter.

I would have been stuffed if the only thing I had to rely on was some wanky new e-tag! Airlines and banks … every time they promised improved service by rolling out “great new technology”, JUST SAY NO! It’s simply code for fewer staff and even lousier service!