Submission to the National Commission of Audit - The Centre for Independent Studies
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Submission to the National Commission of Audit

The federal government’s Commission of Audit (CoA) was established in 2013 to review the performance and role of government. This publication is an edited version of the CIS submission to the CoA listing practical solutions aimed at cutting government expenditure.

The government should adopt a dual approach to its review of spending. First, spending cuts can save the federal government billions of dollars every year in the short term. Second, government spending growth should be institutionally limited in the longer term to meet Australia’s future fiscal challenges.

This approach leads to a number of recommendations.

  • Prioritise existing spending programs by defining the role of government and assessing whether spending programs are achieving their purpose.
  • Independently review new spending and ongoing audits of existing programs.
  • Outsource and privatise.
  • Fund reforms and remove duplication in health, education and agriculture in state governments.
  • Find short-term savings from co-payments and longer-term reforms, including means testing Medicare or health savings accounts.
  • Target high potential growth areas such as pensions to ensure they remain economically sustainable.

Other reforms will improve government decision-making, such as expanding on the Intergenerational Report and budget estimate frameworks, while an independent fiscal commission can limit discretionary spending growth.

Simon Cowan is a Research Fellow in the Economics Program at The Centre for Independent Studies and Program Director of TARGET30, which focuses on reducing government spending.