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The Government has announced the establishment of the National Commission of Audit that will assess the role and scope of Government, as well as ensuring taxpayers' money is spent wisely and in an efficient manner.
head PS Audit
All Departments of the Government have been asked to fully cooperate with the Commission, which will provide an initial report to the Government before the end of January 2014 with the final report forming part of the 2014-15 Budget process.
Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann said Business Council of Australia President, Tony Shepherd would chair the Commission.
Other Commissioners are: Chairman of the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and former senior Federal Public Servant, Peter Boxall; former Treasury Secretary Tony Cole; former Director-General of the Western Australian Departments of Industrial and Regional Development, of Trade and of Family and Children's Services, Robert Fisher; and former Federal Minister, Amanda Vanstone.
The Commission's Secretariat will be headed by Peter Crone, who will work with officials from the Department of Finance and The Treasury in the day-to-day administration of the Commission. Mr Crone is currently the Chief Economist and Director of Policy at the Business Council of Australia and has served as an adviser for both State and Federal Governments.
Senator Cormann said the Commission would ensure taxpayers were receiving value-for-money from each dollar spent; eliminate wasteful spending; identify areas of unnecessary duplication between the activities of the Commonwealth and other levels of Government; identify areas or programs where Commonwealth involvement was inappropriate, no longer needed, or blurred lines of accountability and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness with which Government services and policy advice were delivered.
Senator Cormann said the Commission would make recommendations to achieve savings sufficient to deliver a surplus of 1 per cent of GDP prior to 2023-24.
The first phase of the Commission’s report is due by the end of January 2014; and the second phase no later than the end of March 2014.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said the Government must ensure the Commission will not be used as a cover to pursue an ideological agenda of cuts, privatisation and outsourcing.
National Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood said she was concerned about speculation that job cuts and reduced services would flow from the audit.
“The Government should make sure there is not a pre-determined outcome,” Ms Flood said.
She urged the Commission to acknowledge the value of public services; ensure communities do not lose access to quality jobs and services, particularly in regional Australia; recognise the good return on investment the public sector currently provides for taxpayers; work with staff, clients, business and the community to investigate new ways to improve services, and acknowledge existing community concerns around privatisation and the outsourcing or off-shoring of jobs.
The full terms of reference can be found at this PS News link.
Edition 385, 29 October 2013