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8 – Other programmes and spending

The Commission has been asked to ensure taxpayers are receiving value for money by presenting options to eliminate wasteful spending and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness with which government services and policy advice are delivered.

The previous chapter examined the largest and fastest growing areas of Commonwealth spending. This chapter outlines further opportunities to improve efficiency including through rationalising and streamlining existing programmes.

In considering these opportunities the Commission’s common sense principles from Chapter One have been framed through six interconnected tests to provide a conceptual framework to assist with a rationalisation and streamlining of programmes. The framework is not dissimilar to the approach taken by the previous Commission of Audit and other budget review exercises undertaken overseas including in Canada.

This framework considers the following six questions:

  1. Does the programme or activity serve a public interest and how has it performed against its target outcome?
  2. Is there a legitimate and necessary role for government in this programme or activity?
  3. Is the current role of the Commonwealth appropriate or is the programme a candidate for realignment within the Federation?
  4. Can the programme or activities within it be transferred in whole or in part to the private sector or the not-for-profit sector?
  5. If the programme or activity continues, could its efficiency be improved?
  6. Is the programme an affordable priority within the fiscal environment?

The Commission has identified a number of areas where the Commonwealth spends money on activities where there is limited justification for continued involvement or for maintaining involvement in the present form.