Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401. Updated Tuesday, 18 March 2014

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Union concern at audit assumptions

A submission to the Senate Committee enquiring into the Government's Commission of Audit has been told that many of the assumptions and claims in the Commission's Terms of Reference relating to the Public Service are either inaccurate or simply wrong.

Delivered by the National Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood, the submission said the union was concerned about the process and the underlying assumptions of the National Commission of Audit.

Ms Flood said the first of the Audit's terms of reference claimed that the size of the Commonwealth Government had expanded significantly over the last 20 years, as has the remit of some of its activities.

"This is simply not factually correct," she said.

Submission to Senate committee

"Twenty years ago the Australian Public Service employed 160,349 staff for an Australian population of 17.8 million; yet today there are 167,257 employees serving a population which has grown to 23.1 million."

Ms Flood said during that time the Australian population had increased by nearly 30 per cent (29.91 per cent), while the APS workforce, meanwhile, had grown by 4.31 per cent.

"Clearly there is not an explosion in public sector numbers," she said.

Ms Flood said the CPSU also took issue with the underlying assumptions in the terms of reference about the efficiency of the Public Service.

She said their submission included details of the World Bank in 2012 ranking Australia in the top 6 percent or 94th percentile for government effectiveness and the top 3 percent for regulatory quality.

"This is clear evidence we have a far more efficient government than most of our peer nations," Ms Flood said.

She said the framing of the Commission of Audit failed to acknowledge that the federal public sector was more efficient than ever.

Ms Flood said the Audit's terms of reference asserted that there had not been any review of the scope, size and efficiency of the functions of the Commonwealth Government in that time.

Ms Flood said a Commission of Audit that was based on a deeply flawed and incorrect view of the size, shape and effectiveness of Commonwealth Government was unlikely to make recommendations that would benefit either government or the community.

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