O’Loughlin: government benchmarking must continue

Benchmarking the performance of key policy areas across state borders must continue beyond the disbandment of the COAG Reform Council, the former head says.

Mary Ann O’Loughlin, the former public sector leader on inter-governmental reform, reckons “competitive federalism” and “co-operative federalism” aren’t mutually exclusive. And she’s urging governments to continue benchmarking performance.

O’Loughlin, a former adviser to prime minister Paul Keating and senior Commonwealth bureaucrat, was executive councillor and head of the secretariat of the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council before it was disbanded by the Abbott government on June 30. Speaking to The Mandarin, she’s promoted the work of the council in “putting some pressure on government to perform” and welcomed Abbott’s review of federalism arrangements.

“The council’s very pleased that these issues are going to be included in the white paper consideration. These issues aren’t going away,” she said.

“Their white paper terms of reference are clear that they’re going to be looking at accountability for performance and delivering outcomes. They’re going to be looking at transparency and performance reporting. So we support the continuation of those sorts of arrangements.”

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