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Poor risk management puts lives at risk, McPhee warns

Australia’s cash-strapped federal public service is losing the skills needed to assess policy risk, potentially putting lives and businesses in danger, the nation’s auditor general says.

As a result of budget cuts, the service has become “too short-term and too reactive in its thinking” and it lacks informed leadership, Australian National Audit Office chief Ian McPhee told a management conference in Melbourne on 1 November.

McPhee warned the federal public service had “fallen off the back of the wave”, losing momentum for much-needed reforms, particularly with regard to measuring effective performance. His remarks coincide with a period in which federal government departments and agencies are publishing their annual reports, to be tabled in parliament during the November sitting.

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