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Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Efficiency dividend blunderbuss to hit accountability agencies
The across the board extra 2.5% efficiency dividend for 2012-13 (on top of the existing 1.5%, an increase this year from 1.25%, planned to be "temporary" and in place for two years) announced as part of yesterday's budget cuts won't apply to a number of "smaller agencies" including courts and tribunals such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. But other agencies that play an important transparency and accountabilty role- notably Office of Australian Information Commissioner, Ombudsman and Auditor General-didn't make the exception list. The savings won't be achieved by cutting back on the tea and bikkies, now long gone, and seem certain to impact negatively on capacity. The Government turned down last year a parliamentary committee recommendation made two years previously that would exempt the first $50 million of appropriations thus shielding small agencies such as these from automatic cuts. And gave the Opposition stick in April for proposing a 2% efficiency dividend.