Boosting the emotional intelligence, flexibility and mindfulness of public servants are a few of the things the Abbott government has spent money on recently.
The AusTender website shows government agencies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on self improvement programs for its staff.
Some examples include:
- Department of Industry agency IP Australia is chipping in to pay for its employees’ yoga classes. It has a $10,900 contract with Canberra instructor Swami Yogamanas Saraswati to subsidise classes outside of working hours. It has been reported that sum is the total cost of the contract, not the cost to taxpayers and that employees cover about 80 per cent of the class costs.
- Under Scott Morrison, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection paid $88,000 for its employees to improve their emotional intelligence.
- A $20,000 contract to provide public servants with team-building activities including banging on drums and “inclusive, non-threatening outdoor activities”.
- In October the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Australia spent $29,412 on “clear conversations training”.
- In July Geoscience Australia spent $28,876 on a “lean thinking, methodologies and process mapping” course for its employees.
Labor MP Pat Conroy told Caboolture News former social services minister Kevin Andrews approved an $11,162.40 program to engage professional actors to “practice” workplace scenarios and conflict resolution with staff.
Conroy, who is also chairman of Labor’s “waste watch” committee, said spending habits like these need to be reined in.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Fairfax Media: “Since the election we have worked hard to cut much of the waste and duplication across Government which we inherited from Labor, but there is clearly more work to be done.
“Every departmental secretary is personally responsible to ensure taxpayers’ money is treated with respect in their portfolio.
“We expect them to spend taxpayers’ money wisely and to eliminate all waste.”
In an email to Business Insider the Senator said: “We will continue to be uncompromising in the pursuit of waste and will not rest until any inappropriate expenditure has been eliminated.”
Some of the measures will include reducing the size of the public service, putting restraints on wages, streamlining programs and agencies ahead of the 2015-16 budget to be delivered in May.
There’s more here.