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10 – Improving government through markets and technology

The Commission has been asked to report on efficiencies and savings to improve the effectiveness of government. This can involve contestability of services, the adoption of new technologies in service delivery and within government, consolidating support functions and privatising Commonwealth assets.

A consistent theme through this report is the need for taxpayers to know that public money is being spent wisely, while ensuring quality services are provided.

Community expectations of government service provision have changed significantly in recent years, given advances in information technology. The community now demands a bigger say in the planning, organisation and delivery of government services (as is evident in the National Disability Insurance Scheme) and expects more of them to be tailored to their needs and provided online.

Some 30 years ago, government itself was seen as the provider of services. Today it is more acceptable for government to fund or purchase services on behalf of citizens and it should look to buy them from the most efficient supplier.

In this regard, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all approaches are being rejected. Governments face challenges to adapt and secure better value for both services it purchases itself (including information technology and corporate services) and those it provides to the public.

These issues are discussed below.