Gerard Bradley

Interviewed by
Chris Salisbury & Brian Head
Aug 12 2011
Gerard Bradley
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:09 Gerard Bradley outlines his background. He attended St Joseph's school in Toowoomba, and The University of Queensland on a scholarship to study commerce in 1973. After university he received a job in Queensland Treasury. He notes that he wanted to pursue his interests in accounting and treasury was a logical choice. He describes his early years working with Tom Smith and their work investing in the short-term money market.
00:03:58 Gerard Bradley discusses the relationship between Treasury and the Queensland government when he joined the public service in the 1970s. He notes his move from the finance area of Treasury to the area of research and development that did commercial work. This new role, in the 1980s, drew him into quoting rail freight prices and negotiating with coal companies, as well as gas development and sugar pricing. He notes his next move into the area of budget development at a time when there were shifts in the machinery of government, in particular in the shift to accrual accounting and thinking in terms of service delivery. coal, Leo Hielscher, Treasury
00:06:59 Gerard Bradley describes the reasons behind setting up a research division in Treasury and the need to think about how government worked and how best to allocate resources. He notes the importance of Leo Hielscher as a role model in his early years in the public service. Brian Austin, Henry Smerdon, Leo Hielscher, Mike Ahern, Treasury
00:10:23 Gerard Bradley describes the new life injected into Treasury with a cohort of graduates that were encouraged in the late 1980s. He notes the important roles that graduates played in commercial project and policy areas. Treasury
00:13:04 Gerard Bradley discusses the unique role of Treasury in the 1980s. He notes that Treasury was a key player in the major investments into Queensland at the time. He notes the relationship between Treasury and the Coordinator General at the time. Coordinator General, Leo Hielscher, Premier's Department, Sydney Schubert, Treasury, Wayne Goss
00:18:07 Gerard Bradley describes the strong relationships between the Queensland Treasury and treasury departments in other states. He recalls attending a budget officers conference in New Zealand which opened his eyes to the process of corporatisation that was occuring in New Zealand. After this conference he thought that this corporate approach could be brought to Queensland, for organisations such as Queensland Rail. Queensland Rail, Treasury
00:21:43 Gerard Bradley discusses Treasury's role in the corporatisation process that occurred in the early 1990s. He notes that at this time more commercial balance sheets were developed that reviewed the way investment decisions were carried out. He notes the changes to Queensland Rail at this time after corporatisation. Queensland Rail, Steve Edwell
00:24:15 Gerard Bradley describes the challenges the corporatisation reform agenda posed to governments in the 1990s. He notes the questions that government posed to itself in fulfilling community service obligations and the careful balance that needed to be achieved in this process with community expectations. He details the comprehensiveness of the competition reform agenda and the often controversial approach of applying economic analysis to traditional government policy settings.
00:29:38 Gerard Bradley describes the period when he took over as Under Treasurer in February 1995. He details the period after this when the Borbidge Government took power and he was removed from the role. He then left the Queensland public service and became Under Treasurer in South Australia under the Olsen Government. He describes the period when Treasurer David Hamill invited him back to Queensland to serve as Under Treasurer. Borbidge Government 1996-98, David Hamill, Goss Government 1989-96, Henry Smerdon, Hit List, Keith De Lacy
00:32:41 Gerard Bradley reflects on his role as Under Treasurer in two jurisdictions. He notes that his time in South Australia was when the government was privatising its electricity sector. Treasury
00:35:07 Gerard Bradley discusses the difficult time he had after losing the role of Under Treasurer in 1996 and describes the reasons for his choices at the time. He notes that he didn't consider it likely he would return to Queensland after his move to South Australia. He notes the lifestyle enticements that lured him back, and on a professional level, Queensland's prospects for growth appeared greater than South Australia's. Borbidge Government 1996-98, David Hamill, Doug McTaggart
00:39:10 Gerard Bradley describes the circumstances under which he was informed by Joan Sheldon that he was no longer Under Treasurer. He notes the mentorship of John Hall in helping him through this difficult time. Borbidge Government 1996-98, Goss Government 1989-96, Hit List, Joan Sheldon, John Hall, Mark Gray, Suncorp Metway, Tony Bellas
00:42:30 Gerard Bradley notes the challenge of framing a budget immediately upon his return to Queensland in 1998. He describes the pressures on the budget in light of both the Borbidge Government's ambitious capital expenditures and the Beattie Government's commitment to continuing capital investment. He recalls some of the restructures to Treasury at the time and the implementation of risk management strategies. He notes this was a time when Queensland was growing rapidly. He highlights the need to have a strong relationship with other senior departments of government. budget process, Glyn Davis, GST, National Competition Policy, Public Sector Management Commission
00:48:42 Gerard Bradley notes the tension when the Beattie Government created the new Department of State Development. He describes the challenges of energy policy at the time with the National Electricity Market and the ability of the State government to intervene in this. State Development Department
00:51:08 Gerard Bradley reflects on his years in the public service, comparing the Treasury under Leo Hielscher to the current situation. He notes that these days many of the government owned corporations carry out most of the negotiations with resource companies. He notes that now the delivery of services is a key focus for governments. Leo Hielscher, Treasury
00:52:20 Interview ends.