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Public services and independent public institutions

Comments on Heather Ridout “Fixing our public service”, 4/04/2010, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Fixing-our-public-service-pd20100401-43UQL?OpenDocument&src=is&is=Manufacturing&blog=Inside Industry

While the call for fixing public services has some merits, it misses the really most important point in Australia.

Public services are servants, not the master.

Consider what has happened in Australia since the Rudd government's election victory.

There have been so many public policy blunders, either in concept or in implementations.

The $43 billion NBN. The pink batts. The $16 billion BER. The Indigenous housing program. The ETS bill and Copenhagen. The much delayed and incomplete health reforms. And the wasteful cash handouts of over $20 billion (in terms of economic effects and impact on budget).

What has been a good one, can you name it?

The AI should be first one to understand it is not the public services that was the most important factor to those failures.

It is the Rudd government.

What does that mean?

We need better institutions that will guarantee good public policies.

Public services are a minor part of that.

But the most important institution is some publically funded independent institutions that can provide the best public advices, as opposed to just the government controlled public services as its slaves.

There should be a couple of independent institutions that are much more independent than the productivity commission that account only to the Australian parliament with guaranteed funding but not under the control of the government of the day.

Such independent institutions can provide independent, timely and high quality policy analysis and evaluations, and can be a serious and important check to the government and bureaucrats.

The RBA is independent, but it is not in a position to analyse and evaluate fiscal policies and other policies except monetary policy.

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