NSW Treasurer targets 227 government bodies, only 21 face the axe

By Stephen Easton

Tuesday October 11, 2016

NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian gestures to Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is joined by state treasurers and officials for the COAG Council on Federal Financial Relations talks in Sydney, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

New South Wales Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian has announced details of her plan to reduce “duplication” by abolishing, reclassifying or merging hundreds of government boards, committees and tiny entities.

There are 227 bodies on the list and most have “overlapping functions” or no longer serve their original purpose, Berejiklian said yesterday. She said the measure would save $40 million per year and would not require any new legislation.

“There will be no public service job losses as a result of these changes announced today,” said the Treasurer. “People want to see us spend money where it is needed most – not on government bodies that have passed their used-by date.”

The full list of bodies to be “discontinued, merged or integrated into their relevant departments” as per the policy announced earlier in the year is available on the NSW public consultation website until November 1.

The majority are not being abolished. Out of the 227 listed, only 21 have received the kiss of death and they are an eclectic group including the government’s ICT Board, the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Preventive Health, the Coal Exploration Steering Group, the Tow Truck Advisory Council and the Wine Grapes Marketing Board.

In February, Berejiklian said an audit had identified opportunities to “reduce waste, streamline decision making and make government work better” in over 800 bodies.

Most of the 227 bodies listed yesterday will continue performing the same functions, but administrative changes as part of the policy mean they will now report directly to their corresponding agency or department.

This includes a large group of boards and committees that will no longer be considered separate entities, or be integrated into the relevant public service cluster. They include audit and risk committees for departments and entities like Multicultural NSW and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, as well as university councils and the Teaching and Educational Standards Board.

The NSW move comes after federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann undertook a similar purge of more than 300 federal entities, claiming approximately $1.4 billion was saved in the process.

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