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   10   Public service contractors

Ms Claydon, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        acknowledges that:

(a)        an effective public service relies on skilled public servants who have fair and equitable conditions of employment and job security;

(b)        the Government’s arbitrary average staffing level (ASL) policy is:

(i)         driving privatisation as it forces agencies to outsource their core functions;

(ii)       causing a blowout in spending on contractors, consultants and labour hire; and

(iii)     leading to a hollowing out of the public service; and

(c)        evidence to the Australian Public Service (APS) Review indicates that contractors cost 40 per cent more than permanent APS employees;


(2)        notes that:

(a)        the Australian National Audit Office Information Report No. 19 of 2017-18, Australian Government Procurement Contract Reporting , indicates that in 2016-17:

(i)         Government spending on consultants was close to $700 million, up from around $380 million in 2013; and

(ii)       “the big four” had 1,617 consultancy contracts worth $502.1 million since 2012-13;

(b)        more than $400 million has been spent on privatising Department of Human Services call centres, including a $135 million contract for Stellar Asia Pacific, $132 million to Concentrix Services, $120 million to Datacom Connect and $36 million to Serco Citizen Services;

(c)        the National Disability Insurance Agency:

(i)         recorded a 600 per cent increase in consultants and contractors over two years—from $70 million in 2016 to $430 million in 2018; and

(ii)       has previously stated its staffing levels would be 10,595 staff in 2018-19—this is now capped at 3,230 in the 2019-20 budget with core functions such as local area coordinators outsourced; and

(d)        the Government’s billion dollar plan to privatise Australia’s visa system will lead to increased visa costs, data and national security risks and job losses; and

(3)        calls on the Government to:

(a)        abolish the arbitrary and damaging ASL policy;

(b)        ensure that workers doing the same job get the same pay to stop the use of labour hire from undermining the pay and conditions of existing workers; and

(c)        end the secrecy on government spending on contractors, consultants and labour hire firms.

Debate ensued.

Debate adjourned and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.