The State Government is right on track with implementing the recommendations of the McCarrey Commission, according to the Minister assisting the Minister for Public Sector Management, George Cash.
Mr Cash said the Cabinet sub-committee on public sector reform had examined more than 300 measures to lift efficiency and effectiveness and found potential for savings of up to $400 million a year across all sectors of Government spending which could generate more than 20,000 private sector jobs over a period of time.
"The aim of the committee is not to reduce services, but to provide better and more relevant services at the same or lower cost," the Minister said.
"What we are really about is value for money."
The Minister said the thrust of the McCarrey Commission was for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of government services through increased outsourcing of non-core activities and substantial reform of public sector accounting methods.
Mr Cash said at the heart of the Government's reform program was a strategy to contract out to the private sector a broad range of activities.
Examples included vehicle fleet management, computer maintenance, telecommunications, catering services, cleaning, building construction, building maintenance, inspection services and laboratories.
Results from experience in Western Australia and other States showed that contracting-out produced savings of 20 per cent on average and currently the State Government was contracting out more than $360 million worth of contracts per year to the private sector.
Existing contracts were estimated to provide savings of $90 million per year.
"As the McCarrey report emphasised, these changes have cut the growth of the public sector and have created opportunities for expansion in the private sector," Mr Cash said.
"In some instances major new companies with no previous presence in WA have now established a base here."
Mr Cash said in the financial sector, the SGIO had been privatised by way of public float and the Government was currently considering the sale of Bankwest.
The Minister said over 60 per cent of the Government vehicle fleet would be managed by the private sector over the next 12 months.
The Government was currently finalising the sale of the commercial operations of State Print. These operations included general printing and publishing services offered to publicly funded organisations.
Metropolitan public transport was being opened progressively to public tender between now and 1999. Expressions of interest had been sought for the provision of bus services in areas north of Joondalup and south of Armadale.
In the health area the Government was proceeding with the sale of Healthcare Linen which provides laundry and linen services to the public health sector.
Westrail's Midland workshop was closed in March last year with local engineering companies picking up the additional work.
The South Perth ferry would be taken over by Captain Cook Cruises.
"I have been impressed with the way Government agencies have embraced reform," Mr Cash said.
"Many organisations have made a concerted effort to improve efficiency and productivity so that relevant services are provided at the lowest possible cost.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595