Two decades after walking away from the senior ranks of the public service, consultant and commentator Stephen Bartos jumped back into the frying pan this week in the high-stakes role of budget officer in New South Wales.
Bartos, a former deputy secretary at the Commonwealth level, began the role as Parliamentary Budget Officer on Monday, scrutinising party promises ahead of the state election next year.
Bartos was responsible for national budgeting and financial management at the Department of Finance, rising to deputy after a decade as a senior executive in the department. Since quitting he’s been a fellow at the Australian National University, a professor at the University of Canberra and a director at Allen Consulting Group based in Canberra. He’s also been a regular commentator in The Canberra Times and at Crikey.
President of the Parliamentary Budget Office, Don Harwin, said in a statement Bartos is “well qualified” to take up the role:
“He has very strong experience in public policy and a reputation for independence and integrity.”
Bartos leads a small team of finance experts in Parliament to provide costings of election policies and budget impact statements for all costed policies. His term runs until June 26, 2015.
He was chosen from other candidates by a panel including the NSW ombudsman, the information commissioner and the chair of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
Parliamentary speaker Shelley Hancock said:
“The Parliamentary Budget Officer is an apolitical role requiring adherence to the strictest levels of impartiality, confidentiality and sensitivity.”