NSW to go after consultants in state budget

The NSW government has flagged measures to slash spending on consultants in next month’s state budget.

Daniel Mookhey

On Tuesday NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey claimed government research shows the previous government issued more than 10,000 consultant contracts, or one engagement every working hour, in its last five years in office.

Government News has not seen the report, which Treasurer Daniel Mookhey says will be tabled next week.

However, in a joint media statement on Tuesday Mr Mookhey and finance minister Courtney Houssos say the analysis shows between 2017 -2022 external consultants were engaged 10,006 times.

During that time the average contract price increased more than 58 per cent from $75,180 to $119,246.

Fifteen per cent (1,523) of contracts  were for generalist work that could have been done in-house, including policy design, program evaluation, strategy development and business case development.

The flagging of the report comes ahead of the state budget, which is due to be handed down on June 18.

Mr Mookhey also says the government is on track to deliver on its commitment  to cut spending on consultants by $35 milion per year.

“Ahead of the 2024-25 Budget, the Government is considering further measures to reduce over-reliance on consultants and rebuild the NSW public sector,”  the statement says.

In it, the Treasurer also foreshadows the state’s ” current dire financial situation” and blames “waste, mismanagement, poor fiscal planning and insufficient cost controls” by the former government.

NSW has moved to tighten controls and implement probity measures around the use of consultants following recent scandals involving PwC and other consultancies.

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