Top-tier consulting firm KPMG today released this $165,000 report about the effectiveness of the Queensland public service, revealing some serious under-performance issues.
Meanwhile the number of front line government staff dropped last quarter while corporate employment continues to increase, and this has the business sector fuming.
The Palaszczuk Government received the report before the last state election, but prevented it from being distributed until now despite repeated calls by industry and media organisations to make it public. Since the 2015 poll, the number of employees working in Queensland’s public sector has increased more than 21,800.
The report titled “Enhancing Performance Management and Service Delivery” compares the New Zealand public service with Queensland’s for effectiveness, but the real news to flow from it is the poor value for money we receive in comparison to our friends across the Tasman.
Queensland’s public service wage bill for its 223,000 staff is $27.3 billion, whereas New Zealand taxpayers fund 350,000 national and local public servants for just $22.6 billion in their currency (about $21 billion Australian).
The Premier denied sitting on the report until today – just before Queensland Parliament’s estimates hearings – to avoid criticism.
“The report has only just gone to cabinet but it formed our thinking and we’ve endorsed the recommendations with our Advancing Queensland priorities,” she said.
“We recognise how important it is to keep our wages under control. And this is going to be a very key priority of my government this term.”
Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) advocacy manager, Kate Whittle, said the report highlights the obvious need to put KPIs into government agencies, but it does little to justify what seems to be a large recruitment drive for more public sector workers.
“The findings and recommendations… while laudable, will be dismissed by many in the business community who live and breathe best practice daily,” Ms Whittle said.
“It is an affront to the business sector that has to dramatically slash its cost base, contend with rampant electricity prices and rising rents while the state continues to swell in size.”
The report is virtually silent about the extra 20,000 positions created within the public sector since Palaszczuk came into government in 2015, or the impact this has had on Queensland’s debt.
CCIQ has called for an immediate arrest to public sector jobs, a moratorium on public sector wages, and an independent Budget Oversight Unit to keep government spending and efficiency under control.