Treasury Boss Martin Parkinson: The Australian Public Is Set Up For Disappointment

Then-Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott (2nd R) meets with the treasury secretary Martin Parkinson (2nd L) and finance secretary David Tune (L) on September 8, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo: Getty/pool)

Outgoing Treasury head Martin Parkinson has warned that efficiency drives, and big-ticket public spending items such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme mean Australians could be in for disappointment.

Parkinson, who will be replaced as part of a shake up brought on by a change in government, warned there is an impending gap between what Australian can afford and what the public expects.

Filling this void between perception and fiscal sensibility could mean increased taxes, or more user-pays models or spending cuts, he said.

“There’s a growing gap between what the community expects from government, and what government can sustainably provide,” he said in a speech reported by The Australian.

“That, of course, impacts on what is expected of the public service.”

“The domestic economic, social and political landscape is also undergoing historic structural change, which is partly reflective of broader global changes, and partly unique to our national context,” he said.

He also said Treasury wished to forge deeper relationships with Australia’s business community, though rejected the notion his department was close-minded when it comes to understanding the needs of the private sector.

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