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Cost-cutting consultants out of work as Treasury proceeds alone

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Consultants hired to cut costs from the Queensland budget are now out of work, with new Treasurer Cameron Dick saying the work started under his predecessor will now be done by Treasury alone.

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Former treasurer Jackie Trad had called in consultants to provide a semi-independent appraisal of government spending and where savings should be made.

In answer to a question on notice from the Opposition this week, Dick said the efficiency target of $1.7 billion outlined in the last budget had identified savings of $715 million by the time of the mid-year budget review. That was Trad’s last major economic statement before she resigned from Cabinet.

Dick said the consultants’ work had been taken forward by Treasury’s Strategic Priority Review Office, which had been provided funding of $10 million over two years to find savings. However, the SPRO will proceed without the help of consultants.

“The work of the SPRO is being reintegrated into normal Treasury business,” Dick said.

“All external consultancy arrangements for SPRO have ceased.”

Dick, who took on the role in May, is due to deliver a budget update in September.

While the government has imposed a public service pay freeze for 2020-21, delaying, at least, half a billion dollars in expenditure, it remains to be seen where other savings can be made.

Queensland Public Service Commission chief Robert Setter said “all departments have been tasked with identifying savings to support Queensland’s economic recovery, including employee expenses”.

“Agency chief executives will be accountable for managing their workforce, including permanent, temporary and casual, within their respective budget allocations,” Setter told InQueensland.

Government revenue is down and expenditure up, due to the need to provide economic support and stimulus for sectors affected by the pandemic and associated business restrictions.

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