It’s sound advice, but beware of the risks it may entail

In The Australian today:
“Nothing better summarises the report of the National Commission of Audit than its title: Towards Responsible Government. “Responsible” means not merely accountable but vested with a duty of care; “towards” reminds us how just far we have to go.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to It’s sound advice, but beware of the risks it may entail

  1. Could be worse. In the US, in honor of May Day, the White House released a report on how to use Big Data to remold society and the economy and people generally for the “social good.”

    Since I have already done a story on how the Davos crowd is pushing an idea called FuturICT that is the same idea on a global scale, this release was no reason to dance around any May Pole.

    It also reminds us of Moises Naim’s March 2013 book where he talks matter of factly about the new era of Governors and the Governed.

  2. Token

    Robin, our previous government tried to put a similar scheme in place for Health Care called EHealth.

    It was a huge failure as they didn’t bother finding & removing the many pieces of existing government legislation which blocked such a process before it was started.

    Once the project got going they tried to force extraordinary costs on primary care doctors. The new government killed it upon coming into office.

    The usual waste & failure we all know government does in huge scale resulted.

    These schemes alwsys end this way.

  3. rickw

    Yep, towards responsible Government.

    1901 Australians were ranked as the wealthiest in the world on a per capita basis.

    2013 Australians were ranked as about the 12 wealthiest in the world on a per capita basis.

    If that’s not an indictment of “management” I don’t know what is. Especially when you consider the compounding effects of having a “head start”.

    It is instructive that the advent of Federal Government, more Government, would seem to have significantly detrimental to The Australian Peoples wealth.

    This result is particularly interesting, as on the face of it there should have been significant gains in efficiency. eg. the amalgamation and coordination of the State Navies into the Royal Australian Navy.

  4. 1901 Australians were ranked as the wealthiest in the world on a per capita basis.

    2013 Australians were ranked as about the 12 wealthiest in the world on a per capita basis.

    Something to be said for colonialism.

  5. .

    If all the recommendations are undertaken, how much savings would there be and how quickly could we pay off the debt? What if we smoothed the changes income with a rather large one off tax cut?

  6. stackja

    Dream-time while the ALP/Greens control the Senate. And the ALP/MSM do not see a problem.

  7. Dave Wane

    “Towards Responsible Government”

    Now that our federal government is at least making some effort “Towards Responsible Government” it would be wonderful if all state and territories followed a similar path with their own Audit Commission. As we know the Newman Government in Queensland, following the Costello Commission of Audit, has already undertaken necessary work to reduce the size and cost of government, reduce red tape for businesses and individuals and generally improve efficiency. However, to my knowledge, all other states and territories are at best “treading water” or fiddling at the edges, but not undertaking any serious reform.

    The Northern Territory Government, for example, is doing some positive things with some privatisation and asset sales mooted, but unfortunately they are afraid to seriously reduce the size of government. I would love to see a Peter Costello or Tony Shepherd Commission of Audit carry out a thorough assessment of the massively bloated and heavily in debt NT Government. We are clearly getting nowhere fast at the moment, and urgently need a strong list of recommendations for the government to follow – if we are going to ever get this place out of its current debt-laden, public-servant-swamped, unproductive, uncompetitive, nanny-state hole.

  8. Johno

    The failed Victorin Premier Big Ted commissioned an audit of the Green Socialist State of Victoria when he was accidentally elected. When he got rolled, Napthine decided not to release the audit’s report. Rumour has it that it recommended the government pursue liberalism. Apparently liberalism is a step too far for the Victorian Liberal Party.

  9. Infidel Tiger

    Don’t worry, Napthine will lose office later this year. So will Barnett in WA at the next election and hopefully that mealy mouthed luvvie Baird is kicked so hard in the Khyber his ears bleed.

    Abbott is also assured to be leaving the lodge by 2016 at the latest.

    Pursuing a leftist agenda is a recipe for electoral Armageddon.

  10. mareeS

    Yeah, well, IT, who’s the next govt? Labor? Greens? Clive?

  11. motherhubbard'sdog

    What really is concerning about the Commission of Audit report is that it makes the point that the Australian economy is particularly vulnerable to external shocks due to the volatility of our terms of trade and the large exposure we have to the rest of the world as a trading nation.

    We were fortunate indeed that the last external shock came at a time when our terms of trade were at near record levels. We were fortunate that the Howard government had put a bit away in the piggy bank. We were fortunate that the Chinese government unleashed a massive stimulus that maintained demand for our major exports.

    Chances are that none of these factors will apply next time round. Even if all the C of A recommendations were accepted, there is every possibility that the next large external shock will hit us before the budget is even back into surplus, let alone before the debt is paid off and some more put back to replace the piggy bank balance we once had. We are stuffed.

Comments are closed.