In its election costings, the Opposition has identified that it would cut expenditure on consultancies as part of a cost-cutting drive to pay for its election commitments (see Qld Labor reveals election costings). As a consultant I’m obviously biased, but I’ve always seen consultancies as a cost-effective way for a government to bring in the skills it needs when it needs them, rather than maintaining a large, under-utilised public service which is not making the best use of its professional staff.
If the Opposition gets into power, instead of focussing on consultancies, which typically respond to urgent, well-identified needs set out in clear terms of reference, it should forensically review the still over-sized public service, particularly “policy officer” jobs. I suspect that the efficiency targets that would be set by the Opposition if it wins government wouldn’t be strong enough, and hence a forensic review is needed.
Finally, as Professor Tony Makin and I pointed out at a Griffith University-Economic Society of Australia (Qld) event on Wednesday night, there is considerable scope for budget cuts in industry assistance, a frequent call I make on this blog: