Federal government consultants burn up $30m

TAXPAYERS have forked out for bureaucrats to conduct online personality screening on job seekers and study their own staff's behaviour, as part of $30 million in spending on consultants since the election.

Analysis of Environment and Energy Department contracts reveals it has spent more than $30 million on a range of management, recruitment, market research and advertising contacts in eight months.

This includes hundreds of thousands of dollars on external communications consultants, despite having its own internal staff to do this.

It also included almost $6 million alone on "agile delivery and governance resources".

Highlights include $2.056 million on market research, including $24,337 for insights in to staff behaviour, as well as $1.6 million on recruitment and $1.18 million in advertising.

The expenditure rivals the Morrison Government's $50 million in initial emergency wildlife restoration funds announced during the bushfires.

Labor's environment spokeswoman Terri Butler compared the $30 million in consultants and contracts to the Coalition's election promise to spend $10 million on a fund to protect threatened species.

"Since the election, as one billion animals were about to perish in bushfires, this government wasted more taxpayer funds on marketing, polling and management consulting than it had promised to protecting Australia's national icons," she said.

Opposition environment spokeswoman Terri Butler says the government is spending more on marketing and advertising than on protecting threatened species. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Opposition environment spokeswoman Terri Butler says the government is spending more on marketing and advertising than on protecting threatened species. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the comparison was "absolute nonsense".

"It's taking one slice of a broad expenditure that hits the ground in a lot of different places and has a direct effect on habitats and species," she said.

Ms Ley said the government had a $100 million environment restoration fund, while a $500 million land restoration fund was focused on threatened species.

She said the contracts were a matter for the department.

A department spokesman said recruitment and advertising activities were part of normal business operations.


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