Cap Commonwealth consultants to fund public services

The CPSU’s workplace leaders will today endorse the union’s call for the Turnbull Government to immediately adopt a cap on wasteful spending on consultants.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood will raise the issue when the union’s biannual Governing Council begins in Melbourne this morning.

Ms Flood said: “At least $3.6 billion of taxpayer money is spent each year on consultants and contractors, with much of it going to giant multinationals EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG, and the figure continues to grow rapidly.”

“In contrast the Turnbull Government is steadily cutting budgets and jobs in Commonwealth agencies, driving down the standard of services that all Australians rely on. The Government then turns around and spends that money on consultants.”

“The disturbing growth in the use of consultants boils down to privatisation by stealth, and we’ve seen the disastrous consequences. Agencies pay significantly more to get work done, with that work done without the transparency and often to a lower standard.” 

“It’s time to say enough is enough. Service standards must be restored and to do that agencies need the budgets and staff numbers to do their jobs properly. Money should be going to essential services such as Medicare, Centrelink and the Tax Office rather than the Government’s mates at the big end of town.”

“To do that there needs to be a sensible cap on Commonwealth spending on consultants. It’s not enough to stop consultant spending from rising any further; there needs to be a very significant reduction of at least 20 per cent. We’ve seen the Defence Department realise the merit of this but the cap needs to be applied much more broadly.”

“While the Government has been handing gold plated consultancy fees to their mates there are 5,000 fewer permanent jobs in DHS to help ordinary people. A consultant is no help when it comes to a pensioner seeking help at a Medicare office or a small business struggling with the Tax Office’s unreliable and largely outsourced online portal.”