NSW govt defends pricey expert spending

The NSW government has defended spending hundreds of millions of dollars on external consultants after a scathing audit criticised a dozen departments.

Amid the under-reporting and regulatory oversight, consultancy expenses have risen by more than 80 per cent since 2012/13, with $327 million spent last financial year alone.

Auditor-General Margaret Crawford on Tuesday released a review of 12 government departments, finding not one of them materially complied with procurement guidelines.

The agency charged with overseeing the process, the NSW Procurement Board, was described as “not fully effective”.

Transport NSW was found to be the biggest spender, splashing $462 million over the past five years.

In total, the government has spent $1.2 billion on six firms since 2012/13.

A NSW finance department spokesman said the government agreed with the findings and recommendations but stood by the use of external experts.

The spokesman said the experts were needed to get the best outcomes for NSW citizens and a new system would be introduced to monitor compliance.

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