30/07/2009 - 09:26

Buswell progresses public sector reform

30/07/2009 - 09:26


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Treasurer Troy Buswell has flagged a possible overhaul of an act governing the public sector as the state government starts a reorganisation of its administration.

Buswell progresses public sector reform

Treasurer Troy Buswell has flagged a possible overhaul of an act governing the public sector as the state government starts a reorganisation of its administration.

The treasurer today released a discussion paper compiled by the Economic Audit Committee, otherwise referred to as the 'razor gang'.

The six-member committee includes Department of Premier and Cabinet's Peter Conran, Under Treasurer Tim Marney, Australian Capital Equity's John Langoulaut and Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Catherine Nance and Professor Peter Shergold are also in the committee.

Mr Buswell said the paper identifies six key areas of reform to deliver value for taxpayers' money and improve quality of service, which includes modernising the public sector.

In the paper, the committee said the "existing legal framework governing the public sector is overly complex and prescriptive, and operates inconsistently in different areas of administration and oversight".

The framework is based on the Public Sector Management Act 1994, together with the Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003 and the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

The committee also noted that government agencies needed to work cooperatively under consistent policies.

"Despite a plethora of reviews over the past 20 years that have recommended rationalisation, Western Australia's public sector remains highly fragmented, with over 160 public sector bodies in addition to a large number of boards and committees," the paper said.

"The Government has commenced a reorganisation of its administration, initially focused on departments.

"The next challenge is to restructure the remaining bodies around this core."

The committee's earlier work had led to the adoption of $1.25 billion in corrective measures in the 2009/10 state budget, and was the catalyst for the government's new wages policy, the works reform agenda and a ceiling on full-time equivalent staff numbers.


The announcement is below:


Treasurer Troy Buswell today released an Economic Audit Discussion Paper as part of the Liberal-National Government's ongoing drive for public service reform.

The paper outlines six reform areas to potentially improve the operational and financial performance of the Western Australian public sector.

"Value for money for taxpayers and quality service delivery underpin our drive for better public sector performance," Mr Buswell said.

"The recent global economic downturn has amplified the need for significant and wide-ranging public sector reform rather than short-term quick fix measures.

"Throwing more money at agencies will not lead to better outcomes."

The earlier work of the Economic Audit led to the adoption of $1.25billion in corrective measures in the 2009-10 State Budget and was the catalyst for the State Government's new Wages Policy, the Works Reform agenda and the FTE ceiling.

"The Economic Audit is an important tool for advancing and directing our broader reform agenda alongside our planned value-for-money audits which will examine spending on an agency-by-agency basis," the Treasurer said.

"Reform is needed to ensure WA does not fall behind other jurisdictions in key areas such as health, education, training and law and order.

"The need for cultural change across the public service cannot be underestimated - the bad old days of the former Labor government writing blank cheques are over.

"We want to prepare Western Australia to capture the benefits of the next economic upswing by making decisions today that will help our State in the future.

"I welcome the committee's efforts to stimulate debate on this important issue and encourage interested parties to provide their own input into the reform process."

The six areas of reform are:
- Delivering on Priorities
- Services to Meet Citizens' Needs
- Maximising Value through Planning, Competition and Innovation
- Realising Western Australia's Economic Potential
- Modernising the Public Sector
- Making Change Happen.

The discussion paper reflects the work of the Economic Audit Committee's first tranche of work and is open for submissions until August 31.


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