Public sector staffing cap focus of new Senate probe

A new inquiry will scrutinise outsourcing of government services like immigration, the NDIA and robo-debt amid concerns about a decline in public sector expertise.

The Senate will look at the government’s privatisation of visa and citizenship processing and other privatised public service programs as part of a broader inquiry into the outsourcing of government services.

The probe, which passed the Upper House on Thursday, will also look into the government’s staffing cap.

The Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee will scrutinise visa and citizenship processing, the robo-debt scandal, outsourcing of human services, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA).

The inquiry will shed light on the impacts of staffing caps in the NDIA and outsourcing in human services as well as the AGSVA’s outsourcing sensitive information relating to senior public servants and military personnel.

This includes scrutinising the processes for contracting when outsourcing services, the impact of the staffing cap and efficiency dividend on departments, the future planning for outsourcing of departmental functions and its impact on public sector employment.

The news comes after mounting concerns within the public service about privatisation of services and diminished expertise within the APS, with millions spent on labour-hire contractors in recent years.

The plan to privatise visa and citizenship processing has cost the public service 2,000 jobs, NDIS spokesperson Bill Shorten said in a statement alongside Linda Burney, social service spokesperson and Andrew Giles, assistant spokesperson for immigration and citizenship.

“Australians have lost faith in this third term Government’s ability to administer and run programs essential to their lives and livelihoods and this Senate inquiry is focussed on exposing the flaws of outsourcing and privatisation within the Australian Public Service,” the statement says.

The news was on Friday applauded by the Community and Public Services Union, who said that privatisation was hampering the quality of public services.

“Cuts, outsourcing and privatisation have a massive impact on staff and on the quality of the vital public services and institutions that Australians rely on,” said Nadine Flood, CPSU Secretary.

The inquiry will release a report on the 16th October 2019.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

2 thoughts on “Public sector staffing cap focus of new Senate probe

  1. About time. Outsourcing of services has to stop. This is the most incompetent government in my lifetime. They can start with those ridiculous job search agencies which do absolutely nothing to assist people with Employment and in turn cost the taxpayer in wasted funding.

  2. The main problems with the NDIA are that assessors have limited understanding of the person’s whose plan they are assessing. They don’t get to meet us. So immediately there is a disparity between what the person whose plan is being assessed and what the assessor thinks is necessary for that person.

    As I see it, the staff in the NDIA are working on a insurance business model applying to people for whom it may not necessarily be the best fit.

    Can we please have it changed so it is the assessor we get to meet and we be able to contact that person directly if we need to. LACs are great, but as I understand it they are the interface between the person and the assessor. This is not in our interests as it is very easy for details to be misconstrued which means the person doesn’t necessarily get what he or she needs.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required