‘Overuse of contractors is result of deliberate deskilling of public sector workforce’

Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC

NSW Greens MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC responds to NSW Auditor General’s report on contingent workforce

NSW Greens MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has responded to NSW Auditor General’s just-released report ‘Contingent Workforce’ which looked at Transport for NSW (as well as the Department of Industry and the Education Department) use of contractors. Dr Faruqi has said that the Liberal-National Government’s obsession with privatisation and deskilling the public sector workforce had led to a surge in contractors who don’t deliver value for money.

The Auditor General has concluded that “none of the agencies we reviewed were able to demonstrate that contingent labour is the best resourcing strategy to meet their agency’s business needs”, that “Industry and Transport had limited capacity to obtain information on contingent labour” and “although the three agencies we reviewed have processes in place to engage and manage contingent labour, they were not able to demonstrate they obtain value for money from their contingent workforce”.

Dr Faruqi said, “The overuse of contractors in Transport for NSW is as a result of the deliberate deskilling of the public sector workforce by the NSW Government and a misguided assumption that only the private sector can deliver.” She added that the Auditor General’s report confirms that Transport for NSW has no idea how to manage contractors or demonstrate that they deliver value for money.

“It beggars belief that Transport for NSW has limited information on how many contractors they are hiring and whether or not they are delivering value for money,” she said, adding, “Given the shrinking of the public service and the increase in contractors, it is no surprise we have seen multiple and chronic cost blow outs of transport projects under the NSW Liberals.”

Dr Faruqi said contractors can be useful in filling gaps, but they are no substitute for a strong public service that can plan, deliver and run high quality public transport projects. “It’s time that this Government started investing in the public service to ensure they can deliver a real world class public transport system. Such a heavy reliance on contractors is an expensive strategy in the long term,” she concluded.


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