The Report on Government Services 2001 was released today. It is the sixth annual report in the series which examines the performance of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in the areas of education, health, justice, emergency management, community services and housing. Together, these services accounted for approximately $64 billion in government spending in 1999-2000 representing nearly 30 per cent of government expenditure.
The Chairman of the Steering Committee which comprises representatives from all governments, Gary Banks said 'governments have made great strides over the past seven years in providing information about the performance of key services. A further indication of governments' commitment to this process is the recent decision of the Council of Australian Governments to involve the Review in work being undertaken to improve reporting on services to Indigenous people'.
The Report provides a summary of comparative performance information for a range of government agencies. The information can help governments identify potential benchmarks and strengthen incentives to improve performance. It helps them to identify scope for improvement in the delivery of their services in terms of outcomes, quality, access/equity, appropriateness and efficiency.
Mr Banks, who is also Chairman of the Productivity Commission, remarked that 'while there is still plenty of scope for improvement, this year's Report has made some significant advances. For example, comparability in financial reporting has improved in the areas of emergency management, protection and support services and hospitals expenditure. There has also been an increase in Indigenous reporting and, in light of the COAG decision, we expect reporting in this area to improve further next year'.
Other advances in reporting this year include:
- a new performance indicator framework for public and community housing
- new and improved data for the effectiveness of breast screening and mental health services.