Government Outsourcing and the Australian Public Service

March 2, 2018

Work and Workers

Last week, Per Capita made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australian Government Contract Reporting – Inquiry based on Auditor-General’s report No. 19 (2017-18).

You can find Per Capita’s submission online here.

Our submission is primarily concerned with government outsourcing as it relates to the impact on the operation of the Australian Public Service (APS), and the consequent effect on services delivered to the Australian public. It also addresses the financial cost to public expenditure of outsourcing practices, the social cost to communities, and the impact on workers of outsourcing and privatisation of services.

All Australians rely on public services. From the time we are born until the day we die, every citizen benefits from services traditionally designed, funded and delivered by government agencies staffed by public sector personnel.

Most citizens interact with frontline government services on a daily basis: whether through the use of roads and public transport, health and education services, police and security services, or through the provision of direct income support, all Australians rely on services provided by various levels of government.

Behind the scenes, the APS provides advice on policy development and service delivery to our elected representatives in the Parliament. The provision of informed, expert policy advice to the government is an essential function of the APS, one on which the effective functioning of our democracy relies.

The increasing outsourcing of the core functions of the APS contains inherent risks for the effective delivery of services to the public, and for the integrity and quality of advice provided to our elected representatives.

Our submission outlines those risks and seeks to identify key issues of concern for the attention of the Committee.