The $ 1 billion government bill from Australia’s largest consulting firms could pay for thousands of public service jobs, says the Australian Institute, with requests for the reports to be made public.

he Australian Institute has urged for all Federal Government consulting reports to be made public in Parliament, citing a study by the public policy think tank that found that yearly spending on (big) consulting companies in Australia could cover more than 12,000 public service positions.

It comes after the national audit agency expressed major reservations about outsourcing at Services Australia.

Federal consulting spending at the largest firms, the Big Four along with McKinsey, BCG, and Accenture, has nearly tripled since the Coalition came to power in 2013, creating the world’s fourth-largest consulting market and the largest outlay. per capita for some. margin. However, the public generally does not know how to return taxpayer money, which is highlighted by the secrecy surrounding a recent McKinsey contract for $ 2 million. The Australian Institute proposes that the Senate issue a “continuing order for the production of documents,” which would require all applications to be submitted in writing and all reports and advice to be written, to “the greatest extent possible” improve transparency around recruitment and consulting results. The Senate has several of those orders in place, including regarding acquisitions.

Bill Browne, principal investigator for the think tank’s Democracy & Accountability program, said the federal government’s rising spending on consulting, which now exceeds $ 1 billion a year, is worth reflecting on. The secondary issue raised by Browne, the erosion of experience within the public sector due to increased outsourcing, has now also been the subject of increased attention with Australia’s National Audit Office earlier this month, which launched an investigation into the high level of contractors hired by Services Australia. , particularly with regard to its technological capabilities.

According to ABC figures cited by the Australian Institute, total government spending on external personnel had doubled over the five years to 2020, and is now surpassing the $ 5 billion mark annually, the equivalent of 50,000 additional jobs in public service. Browne concludes that while an ongoing Senate order would not solve all the problems with the increasing reliance on consulting, it would serve as an important first step”.

By Editors

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