The world’s best public service: How are we tracking?



Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey recently pledged to slash 12,000 public servants ‘for starters’. What prompted this pledge? What does it signify? What problem would retrenching thousands of public servants solve? What problems might it create?

CPD’s Effective Government Program seeks to encourage an informed debate about the Australian Public Service.

In July, we released reports on attitudes toward the public service and the staffing of Australian Public Service agencies. And we’ve just announced our State of the Australian Public Service: An alternative report which includes additional sections on:

  • The role of the public service
  • Staffing and funding – growth and contraction
  • Outsourcing and privatisation
  • Integrating the public, private and community sectors

Ahead of the release of State of the Australian Public Service: An alternative report we’ve made available the following chapters:

Staffing the public service report: How many public servants is enough?

Attitudes to the public service

In coming weeks, CPD will host roundtable discussions to present our new report in Sydney (Tuesday 23 August), Melbourne (Tuesday 30 August) and Canberra (Tuesday 6 September). The discussions will commence at 11.30am with a presentation of the report’s main findings, followed by informal discussion and a light lunch.

CPD’s Public Service Program encourages progressive Australians to contribute constructively to debates about the public service. When conservative voices call for a contraction of the public service, advocate outsourcing and privatisation, or call for dramatic cuts to staff and programs, few think tanks, research organisations or civil society groups respond. The result is a one-sided argument that over-looks the value of adequately funded agencies that provide necessary community services and address needs that the private and community sectors are unwilling or unable to. This debate is rarely evidence-based and overwhelmingly negative.