DAVID SPEERS: I spoke earlier to the Minister for the Public Service and Integrity, Gary Gray. Minister, thanks for your time. Firstly, can you explain exactly where these savings will be found?
GARY GRAY: Yeah. They'll be found in the following areas. They'll be found first in the area of outsourced work. Work that's done by consultants to the public service. We think we can do a lot more in-house, that's about $60 million. We believe we can find about $30 million through air travel and travel costs in general. We believe that we can find around $6 million from changing how we present publicly what we do.
And that goes to stuff such as printed reports. We think we can do a lot more online and electronically. And we believe that that - around a $100 million over the four years' estimates, especially, in the area of printing, will convert to a total saving of around $550 million over four years.
SPEERS: But those areas that you mentioned there, back in November of last year, when the Government increased the efficiency dividend as it's called for the public service, the public service was told, reduce consultants and contractors. Replace travel with the use of virtual meeting facilities, minimise media and advertising expenditure. Reduce printing expenditure. They're exactly the same things.
What's going on here? Didn't the public service listen last year?
GRAY: No, they did. And we found those efficiencies. But we believe that we can do even better. You see, you really only know how efficient you can be when you start driving that efficiency treadmill.
SPEERS: So once you've started this process, you've found, actually we can go further here?
GRAY: Not just go further, but we can go better and find higher quality saves within the public sector. Now, by a high quality save, we mean a save that doesn't affect a frontline service delivery. So these are saves literally to running costs. They are not saves to how the Government does its business with its client groups, say at Centrelink.
They're literally about how Canberra works.
SPEERS: Give me an example. Because people would hear high quality save doesn't affect frontline services, which sounds great in theory, what does it mean? What does it mean?
GRAY: What it means, for instance, is a Government report published last week that might have taken several months of consideration to put together these days is published as a document. Now, we believe that it's better to publish that in an electronic format in order, both to increase its readability, accessibility, but most importantly the cost of producing that document becomes a fraction of what it otherwise would be.
We believe that there still is, in the public service, a culture of unnecessary travel and we think that by targeting attention on that - we've already saved $240 million on aeroplane travel costs and other travel costs. We think there's at least another $30 million that we can find in that area.
SPEERS: Gary Gray, the Minister for Public Service and Integrity talking to me a little earlier.