Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 410. Updated Tuesday, 20 May 2014

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Road to smaller government outlined

The Minister for Finance has published a Ministerial Statement, setting out an overview of the initiatives to be introduced that will lead to "smaller government".

The Minister, Mathias Cormann said the initiatives announced in the 2014-15 Federal Budget were part of a methodical ongoing effort to reduce the total number of Australian Government bodies.

Mr Cormann said these decisions built on steps taken shortly after the 2013 election to abolish unnecessary advisory bodies and boards, take steps towards privatisation and abolish a number of Agencies including statutory authorities.

"Across the Commonwealth we have too many inefficient and complex structures, which create costs that should be avoidable," he said.

"In some areas we are investing in bodies that are adding marginal value or are duplicating each other or other levels of Government."

Still too many bodies, says Minister

Mr Cormann said the National Commission of Audit was asked to consider opportunities to streamline Government structures and identify improvements that would ensure greater value for taxpayers' money.

He said the recommendations and reform principles proposed by the Commission provided an important input into designing reforms for smaller government.

"Many of these reforms will preserve delivery of the same range of services, but will ensure that overly-bureaucratic structures are simplified where possible," Mr Cormann said.

"Where we have consolidated functions into Government Departments or merged smaller bodies into larger Agencies, this will enhance lines of accountability."

Mr Cormann said the reforms would achieve ongoing savings and greatly simplify the structures of Government in several areas, but it was important to acknowledge that the number of Australian Government bodies remained high and more could be done to further rationalise bodies and find other efficiencies.

He said consolidation of bodies had occurred in a number of other sectors of the economy over past decades but past Australian Governments had failed to make major inroads into reducing the number of Government bodies.

The 39-page Ministerial Statement can be accessed at this PS News link.

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