From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Public service cuts: Transport for NSW to dig deep. Transport for NSW, the super department set up for Barry O’Farrell’s right-hand-woman Gladys Berejiklian, has to pull its weight in finding 5000 voluntary redundancies across the public service. According to a Macquarie Street mole, the department is in the process of placing senior officers on contracts and introducing a “draconian” new industrial award that “guts conditions” — in particular scrapping the previous flextime arrangements.

“Staff briefings are being held,” they write. “At least management is saving itself from further embarrassment by not calling them ‘consultations’. Interestingly, the Transport Management Centre briefing at Redfern is rumoured to be held in the first aid room. Could the new award be truly that bad?” We hope not.

Dissatisfaction in the ranks on Anzac Day pay. As reported earlier this month, Defence Reservists participating in this year’s Anzac Day marches won’t be paid a reserve day’s pay for attending — even though their permanent brothers-in-arms they are expected to march alongside will receive full pay and allowances. And according to one army man: “The ADF hierarchy have no regard for the disaffection this is generating in the ranks between the permanent members and the (now literally) poorer cousin reservist members. RAAF reservists in particular are leaving in droves, and with a nasty attitude towards equality like this it is easy to see why.”

MYOB software a bug-bear for customers. It was quietly reported in recent months that users and developers were distancing themselves from a bug-ridden 2011 version of MYOB’s accounting software, AccountRight Plus. We’ve been told of alleged pressure by management to release the software despite objections by its development and testing unit, but there’s silence from within the MYOB ranks.

Complaints by users have led to revelations by independent software developers engaged to test the BETA version of the software, who say the company failed to address issues raised. Clive Williams, a BETA tester, identified several bugs in the system, which he says are still there after the initial software launch and three subsequent update packages. “This version should never have been released. MYOB said they tested it right, but they didn’t,” he told us.

When a car sale isn’t really a sale. Glenn Dyer reported yesterday on the stronger-than-expected car sales figures and the impact that may have on an interest rate cut. But sales aren’t exactly sales, according to one industry insider:

“Many of the good sales numbers quoted by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries are, in fact, false. They are a measurement of registrations, not sales per se. It is easy for a manufacturer — one looking for a good number — to subsidise dealers to register extra vehicles and boost their number. It’s called slippage — as in the sales slip through. Only problem is, they still have to be sold somewhere down the track and typically at a reasonable hit. Nissan and Kia are notorious for employing such techniques.”

Electorate roll not such a public document. Sometime Crikey contributor Barry Everingham this week set off to his local electoral office to get his late wife’s name removed from the roll, only to find the office had been a few suburbs away. The old office was located next door to the electoral office of Peter Costello replacement Kelly O’Dwyer, so the media veteran asked the receptionist is he could see the Higgins  roll.

“We don’t have one,” was the reply. “What, the local MP doesn’t have a copy of the Higgins roll?” an incredulous Everingham asked. “Well we do but it’s computerised,” he was told. “OK, could you check something for me please?” “I can’t do that, it’s not allowed,” they said. Everingham reminded the receptionist the roll is a public document with no restrictions — and then gave up his quest. “It was obvious I was fighting a losing battle,” he told us.

Nothing at Mac Bank but money making. The Macquarie Bank offices “swarming” with Federal Police officers early yesterday afternoon? Not according to our sources in the Millionaire’s Factory …

*Do you know more? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed-anonymous form

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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