Flat White

Revealed: who won from the great corona cash splash?

23 March 2021

5:00 PM

23 March 2021

5:00 PM

We’re all in this together? Pigs arse. A good crisis never goes to waste — and the big global consulting firms appear to have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic.

The good folk at InnovationAus — who do excellent work identifying the drains our taxes disappear down — report:

Multinational management consulting firms have enjoyed an extraordinarily good year in Canberra. Federal government spending on advice and services from the global outfits soared by hundreds of millions of dollars during the 2020 pandemic compared to virus-free 2019.

Spending with the global consulting houses jumped by 23 per cent in 2020, a sharp increase of more than $225 million for the calendar year, from $991 million in 2019 to more than $1.21 billion in 2020…

[V]irtually all of the consulting giants enjoyed a bumper year during the pandemic.

InnovationAus provides plenty of data — with the promise of more to come:

KPMG’s federal government revenue swelled by $43.5 million during 2020, up 21 per cent from $203.3 million in 2019 to $247.9 million.

This included a 261 per cent increase in work with the Health department and a $50.4 million increase in spending with the company by the Department of Defence, a growth rate of 35 per cent for 2020 over 2019.

KPMG’s stellar performance is by no means a stand-out.

Deloitte grew its federal government business by 36 per cent for the year, growing revenues by a staggering $57.5 million, from $156.7 million in 2019 to more than $214.2 million in the 2020 COVID year.

Deloitte’s numbers included a 106 per cent increase in revenue from the Industry department for the year from $8.1 million to $16.6 million, and a more than ten times increase in revenue derived from the Digital Transformation Agency, from $2.3 million to $29 million…

Of all the global consulting giants, only PwC’s revenues derived from government remained flat at about $189 million for both 2019 and 2020. This is understood to have been the result in part of a drop-off in work at Services Australia.

But the company enjoyed stellar revenue growth in other parts of government. Revenue from the Health department jumped by more than 110 per cent from $6.6 million to $14.2 million, while revenue from the Defence department climbed by $60.8 million to $127 million in 2020, an increase of more than 90 per cent.


You may ask why we spend these billions when we already have tens of thousands of public servants. The answer’s simple. It’s all arse-covering.

The federal government spends all this money to either correct its stuff-ups or to second guess and correct its plans and policies before they become stuff-ups.

You’ve got to bring in all these people at all this extra cost or, as Jim Hacker put it, “the whole ship would go off the rails. You see?”

Indeed.

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