The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee has today released its Inquiry report into the current capability of the Australian Public Service (APS).

The findings lay bare the damage done to APS capability and performance by Liberal National Government outsourcing, job cuts, labour hire use, and bargaining policies.

The Senate inquiry took a deep dive into the key issues facing the APS, and draws heavily on the evidence of academics, CPSU members, think tanks and independent experts. The report details how the ASL cap, labour hire fees, and the use of consultants are wasting millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars, as well as undermining the work of the APS.

The committee’s 36 recommendations call on the Morrison Government to:

  • Abolish the Average Staffing Level (ASL) Cap;
  • Ensure direct permanent employment is the principal mode of employment. Labour Hire should only ever be used where APS employment is impossible, and the principle of same job same pay should apply;
  • Identify where work has been contracted out to labour hire companies and return this work to APS employment;
  • Limit the length of rolling fixed-term labour hire contracts to 12 months, following which the job should be converted to an APS role;
  • Establish an internal APS Consultancy Hub to provide in-house consultancy services to APS departments and agencies. The Hub will be responsible for assessing and approving all requests from agencies to use external consultants; and
  • Implement genuine bargaining across the APS. This can be done by removing the WPI wage cap, the rule against no enhancement to conditions and implementing real consultation rights.

Melissa Donnelly, CPSU National Secretary said, “This Senate report details the extensive damage the Morrison Government has done to the APS through sustained funding and job cuts, outsourcing and growing use of contractors, and the many bargaining policies.

“What we have now is a recipe for how to fix this mess and ensure the community has a strong public sector that can deliver essential services.”

“The Coalition has long claimed that labour hire is more efficient than APS employment, but this report puts an end to that fiction. These contracts are more expensive and less efficient; in fact they end up costing the taxpayer up to 50% more than work performed in house, an issue that the Auditor General is currently investigating.”

“For too long the ideologues of the Liberal and National Parties have pushed to cut and hinder the public service. This report details the impact of the Government’s calculated decision to outsource, cut, and hand contracts to labour hire companies for private profit, at the expense of the community. The Government must act on these recommendations immediately.”