Federal budget 2015: Cormann’s incredible shrinking government


Tomorrow’s federal budget includes plans to abolish 32 government bodies, sell four public service buildings and extract millions of dollars in savings from major departments through functional and efficiency reviews. All the details, portfolio by portfolio.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says $106 million has been clawed back from the Department of Health’s “contractor, corporate, staff and property costs” with $10 million of that going to improve the department’s “analytical capacity”. Another $7.6 million has been extracted from the Department of Education, with $123.4 million more to come from axing and redesigning programs.

The Attorney-General’s Department has already begun squeezing $54.2 million over five years out of “administration efficiencies”, Cormann adds, and he says visa simplification and “targeted departmental efficiencies” in Immigration and Border Protection will save $168.1 million from 2015-16.

Eight departments will be subject to “further functional reviews” in the next few weeks: Agriculture; Environment; Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Treasury; Attorney-General’s Department; the Tax Office; Social Services; and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Mint will not be sold off “because it is operating as an effective business and it is well-regarded by its international peers” and a decision on whether Australian Hearing should be privatised won’t be made without more consultation with hearing impaired people and other stakeholders.

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