Axing government bodies

The Government is working to reduce red tape and streamline the function of government bodies. It therefore plans to abolish or merge government bodies where possible, to avoid duplication and reduce the cost of government administration.

What this means in real terms is that an initial 40 government bodies were cut or merged after the 2013 election, including the abolition of 23 non-statutory advisory bodies including:

  • The Social Inclusion Board
  • The Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing
  • The Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee
  • The Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council
  • The International Legal Services Advisory Council
  • The High Speed Rails Group
  • The National Housing Supply Council
  • The Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness
  • The National Sustainability Council

It also meant the abolition of the following bodies, amongst others:

  • Climate Commission
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority
  • National Gambling Regulator

The streamlining process also included the commencement of the process to sell Medibank Private.

The second-phase of this process, now named the Smaller Government Reform Agenda, will be implemented as part of the Federal Budget 2014, and will involve the abolition of a further 36 government bodies.

Some of the bodies which will be cut entirely include:

  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency
  • National Water Commission
  • COAG Reform Council

Some bodies will have their functions consolidated into existing government departments, including:

  • Australian Customs and Border Protection Service into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
  • The functions of Health Workforce Australia, the General Practice Education and Training Limited and the Australian National Preventative Agency into the Department of Health

The following five civilian merit review tribunals will be consolidated into a single organisation:

  • The Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • The Classification Review Board
  • The Migration Review Tribunal
  • The Refugee Review Tribunal
  • The Social Security Appeals tribunal

And the following Canberra-based cultural collections will have their back-office functions merged:

  • The National Archives
  • The National Film and Sound Archive
  • The National Gallery
  • The National Museum
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • Old Parliament House

This is just a snapshot of the changes which will take place in Federal Government bodies, according to this budget. In total 16,500 public service jobs will be axed by 2017.