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Report on Government Services

  • At a glance
  • Media release

This report was released on 11 February 1999. It has been produced by the Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision (SCRCSSP). The report has been published in two volumes.

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Media release

The Report on Government Services 1999, released on 11 February 1999, examines the recent performance of governments in the important service areas of education, health, justice, emergency management, community services and housing.

Part of a cooperative project involving all governments, the report - the fourth in the series - is the most comprehensive source of comparative information on services throughout Australia. It identifies some similarities, but also some important differences in government services performance across the Commonwealth, States and Territories. For example, there are cases where the costs of providing the same service differ widely, and service quality and outcomes for the community also vary across the country.

The Chairman of the Steering Committee that produced the report, Gary Banks, said 'Governments have recognised the value of this information in helping jurisdictions to learn from each other. This is crucial if we are to continue to improve government services'. He added 'it is also vitally important that this sort of information is available to inform the community about the cost and quality of services governments provide'.

Mr Banks, who is also Chairman of the Productivity Commission, said 'Much has been achieved in the course of four reports. Particular progress has been made filling information gaps in areas such as corrections, housing, emergency management and vocational education and training. This should help governments improve these services. However, for key services such as health, education and community services there is still a lack of nationally comparable efficiency data and information on the quality of services is patchy. The challenge of filling these gaps will require further cooperative effort.'

New indicators in this year' report include:

  • baseline data about social attitudes of Australian school students (for example, students' interest in learning) (p. 71)
  • general practice aspects of the health system (for example, participation rates for cervical cancer screening and proportion of bulk billed services provided by GPs) (p. 279) and
  • performance information for emergency management (fire and ambulance) services (for example, the proportion of households with smoke alarms, and fire death rates) (p. 685).

Examples of performance variations identified in the report include:

  • adults who were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with police services in 1997-98 ranged from 61 per cent in Tasmania to 72 per cent in Victoria and SA (p. 382)
  • participation of women aged 50-69 years in BreastScreen Australia in 1996 and 1997 ranged from 42 per cent in the NT to 57 per cent in the ACT (p. 328)
  • the annual cost per government institutional/large residential place for people with disabilities ranged from $52 000 in Victoria to $84 000 in Tasmania (p. 857).

Background information

Lawrence McDonald (Head of Secretariat) 03 9653 2178 / 04 584 905

Leonora Nicol (Media and Publications) 02 6240 3239 / 0417 665 443

Errata

Volume 2

Page 825, paragraph five
first sentence, replace $70 575 with $69 760.

paragraph six
replace $70 325 with $70 122.

Page 826, figure 11.15 (and Overview figure 32)
replace the Australian figure for 1997-98 with $69 760. Replace the ACT figure for 1997-98 with $62 865.

paragraph two, first sentence
replace $70 521 with $65 306.

paragraph two, second sentence
replace 'highest in the ACT ($89 874)' with 'highest in NSW ($78 341).' paragraph three, first sentence

paragraph three, first sentence
replace 16 per cent with 6 per cent.

paragraph three, second sentence
delete 'and the ACT' after WA, insert 'and the ACT' after Tasmania.

Page 827, figure 11.16 (and Overview figure 33)
replace the Australian figure for 1997-98 with $65 306. Replace the ACT figure for 1997-98 with $60 467.

Page 856, 857, tables 11A.20 and 11A.21
cost per government institutional/large residential place:

  • ACT - replace $69 168 in 1997-98 with $62 865
  • Aust - replace $70 575 in 1997-98 with $69 760.

cost per government community accommodation and care place:

  • ACT - replace $89 874 in 1997-98 with $60 467
  • Aust - replace $70 521 in 1997-98 with $65 306.

Page 886, first sentence
add the words 'except in Victoria' after '... and Youth Affairs'.

Page 892, line 9*
replace 'at least 8 per cent' with '5.4 per cent'

Page 927, table 12A.32 Victoria Government expenditure on children's services
*'Administrative expenditure', replace 6 100 with 3 927
'Other expenditure' on child care, replace 8 293 for 1997-98 with 6 638
'Other expenditure' on preschool, replace 50 076 for 1997-98 with 59 076
'Expenditure on assets' for child care, replace 'na' for 1997-98 with 0
*'Total expenditure', replace 'na' for 1997-98 with 72 450.

Download the errata

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Appendix A Descriptive statistics appendix

What works?

Proposed reporting framework on 'what works' to improve government service outcomes.

Read the draft reporting framework

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