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Thursday, 18 June 2020
Page: 4955


Mr HILL (Bruce) (13:33): The Liberals have been played for fools, wasting taxpayers' money privatising work to expensive consulting firms. I have a transcript of a secret recording reported in the Financial Review yesterday of an astounding admission by a senior leader at consulting firm EY who said:

Are clients paying less for our services? It really depends. There's parts of our business where there is less activity and some of our competitors are going harder on price, other parts of our business where we are not seeing as much ... pressure on price … I'll use government as an example where we are being brought in in a preferred non-compete basis and we're seeing it as an opportunity to hold our pricing, in fact inch it up a little bit.

EY's candid admission is a scandal of this government's own making. The government's sloppy procurement without competitive pressure means that once the big firms get on the government's panel list they jack up the prices for the taxpayer.

The Auditor-General revealed that now 80 per cent of the work from the government to the big four firms is not even consulting. That's $640 million last year of everyday work that should be done more cheaply in the Australian Public Service. Australians are sick of the Liberals' staff caps, cuts and privatisation of public services. They don't buy it any more. An urgent public inquiry by the public accounts and audit committee is needed to get to the bottom of the Liberals' explosion in the use of consultants and dodgy temporary labour hire firms.